- Payday loans provide a quick influx of cash, but should be considered options of last resort.
- You could pay interest rates equivalent to 400% APR or more with payday loans.
- Alternatives include local nonprofits, churches, family members, and personal loans.
- Learn more about Personal Finance Insider loan coverage here.
Payday loans are touted as quick and helpful ways to get cash to cover an unexpected expense. However, payday lenders can often use predatory practices to trick borrowers into accepting loan terms that seriously damage their long-term financial health.
What is a personal loan?
A payday loan is a short-term, high-cost unsecured loan with principal as part of your next paycheque. Payday loans are often for small amounts of money, usually $500 or less. Payday loans provide immediate funds, have extremely high interest rates and are generally based on your income.
Payday loans are usually repaid within two to four weeks, and you can get them from a physical payday lender or online. Lenders usually don’t do a full credit check or consider your ability to repay the loan.
Different states have different laws regarding payday loans; some states ban payday loans entirely, while others cap the interest rates lenders can charge.
You might be put in a situation where you feel like you need to take out a high-interest loan to cover an expensive medical bill or rent check, but you should try to avoid payday loans whenever possible. possible.
With exorbitant interest rates, payday loans can end up costing more than you originally borrowed and can trap you in a cycle of debt. Additionally, payday lenders often target low-income minority communities and convince them to agree to confusing loan terms.
What are the disadvantages of a personal loan?
What are the alternatives to payday loans?
Local nonprofits, churches, family members, personal loans and even some credit cards are better options for emergency relief funds than payday loans, said Graciela Aponte- Diaz, director of federal campaigns at the Center for Responsible Lending.
“What we’ve seen in states that don’t have payday loans is that there are various resources to help people in times of emergency or hardship, but they’re marketed in states that have predatory lending,” Aponte-Diaz said.
Before you find yourself in a situation where you are considering a payday loan, you might consider building an emergency fund to cover three to six months of living expenses, if possible.
You can find more personal loan alternatives to payday loans with our lists of the best small personal loans and the best personal loans for bad credit.
Consider all the alternatives you have to payday loans before deciding to get one, as they come with a lot of risk.