What is a Payday Loan and How does it work?

A payday loan also called a “cash advance” or “check advance” loan, is a type of unsecured personal loan based on how much you earn in your paycheck. These loans charge borrowers with high interest and have short-term repayment demands.

Due to their extremely high-interest rates, payday loans can keep you in a cycle of debt. Payday loan lenders usually don’t consider the borrower’s ability to repay and often charge added fees through hidden provisions. Read on to learn why payday loans are not typically an ideal option and to see some better loan alternatives.

How Payday Loans Work

Amount Borrowed

There is a limit on how much you can borrow in most cases. The amount can range from $300 to $1,000, with $500 typically being the most common amount.

High Interest

Payday lenders charge all borrowers the same interest rate. It can be as high as 780% annual percentage rate (APR), with an average payday loan running as high as nearly 400% APR.

Short-Term Repayment

Payday loans must be paid back once you get your next paycheck. The loan term usually goes from two weeks to a month.

No Installments

A regular personal loan allows you to pay back the money borrowed in installments. With payday loans however, you will most likely have to pay back the interest and principal all at once. This amount is usually more than what your budget can handle.

Automatic Repayment

When taking out a payday loan, you sign a check or document that permits the lender to take money out of your bank account. If you fail to repay the loan as scheduled, the lender will either cash the check or withdraw the money from your account.

Alternatives to Payday Loans

If you need to borrow money, consider the following alternatives instead of taking out a payday loan.

Create a Budget

Evaluate all your expenses, including rent, utilities, and food, and create a budget. Know how much money is coming in and how much you can afford to spend on your expenses. Then, find ways to cut down on unnecessary expenses to be more in line with your income.

Get Credit Counseling

If you need help dealing with your debt, you may need to get credit counseling. There are non-profit agencies that can offer credit advice at little to no cost. They can also help you set up a debt management plan (DMP).

Better Loan Options

Getting a personal unsecured installment loan from your local credit union is probably a better option over a payday loan. With lower interest rates and fees, they are most especially beneficial for borrowers on a tight budget. When you make on time payments, it will even help build your credit and help you qualify for lower loan rates in the future! Learn more about our Fast Cash Payday Alternative Loan here.*

*Loans of $200 to $1,000 available for terms of one to six months. An application fee of up to $20 will be charged; other fees and charges may apply. At least one month of First Financial Federal Credit Union membership is required to obtain a Payday Alternative Loan, and is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account/loan. Not all applicants qualify, subject to credit approval. Rates vary based on creditworthiness, but will not exceed 28%. Terms and conditions of this offer may be subject to change at any time.

References:

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/payday-loans.asp

https://www.debt.org/credit/payday-lenders/

https://www.moneycrashers.com/how-do-payday-loans-work-dangers-payday-loan-alternatives/

https://www.investopedia.com/credit-unions-vs-banks-4590218

Financial Quick Fixes Can Come at a High Cost

Prohibited in 18 states, payday loan companies still manage to offer more than 20,000 locations across the United States, making them more common than McDonald’s restaurants. Banking on consumer desperation, these programs market their services to financially vulnerable customers. When potential borrowers encounter an unexpected money crunch, the appeal of getting instant cash with minimal qualifications seems too good to pass up. If the borrower is employed and receiving regular paychecks, that’s usually all it takes to get a loan. However, these loans traditionally charge rates of 300% annual interest (APR) or higher, saddling the already-struggling borrower with an even heavier financial burden.

Even though a payday loan is designed to be paid off when the customer receives their next paycheck, the outrageous interest charges often make it incredibly difficult to pay off the full amount. Since the average payday loan payment consumes 25-50% of a borrower’s income, the threat of default is extremely high. To avoid defaulting on the loan, many customers elect to pay only the interest charges and roll over the loan for another pay period. According to recent CFPB research, almost 4 out of 5 payday loan customers re-borrow within a month. What started as a temporary fix becomes an ongoing cycle of debt.

High-interest consumer loans: overspending over time

While payday lending companies are traditionally limited to loans of $1,000 or less, there is no shortage of consumer lending companies willing to offer similarly unfavorable terms on higher loan amounts. Like payday lenders, these lenders commonly target individuals with less-than-perfect credit or little to no collateral. But rather than charging outrageous interest rates for short periods, they make their money by charging slightly-less-outrageous rates (59% instead of 300%) over longer periods of time, often 2-3 years.

Consider this example: borrowing $2,100 at an interest rate of 59.39% for 36 months would result in a total payment of $4,644, more than double the original amount borrowed. You don’t need a financial advisor to explain why that’s a bad deal. Fortunately, these lenders aren’t the only game in town.

Credit unions offer a convenient, cost-effective alternative

Because they’re structured as not-for-profit, member-owned financial collectives, credit unions (like First Financial!) are able to reinvest their earnings into programs that benefit their members—instead of paying dividends to shareholders like traditional banks. This distinction allows credit unions to approve personal loans with lower interest rates and higher flexibility than programs offered by payday lenders or banks.

For more details about First Financial’s Fast Cash Loans*, and how we can help you find smart solutions for your financial needs, stop by one of our local branches or call us at 732-312-1500, Option 4.

*Loans of $200 to $1,000 available for terms of one to six months. An application fee of up to $20 will be charged; other fees and charges may apply. At least one month of First Financial Federal Credit Union membership is required to obtain a Payday Alternative Loan, and is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account/loan. Not all applicants qualify, subject to credit approval. Rates vary based on creditworthiness, but will not exceed 28%.