Avoiding Payday Loans

CreditPro is a new blog written by a non-profit credit counselor, and he has some harsh words about Payday loans and why they are never a good idea:

Another common problem that I encounter on a daily basis has to do with payday loans. While these may appear to be a quick and easy way to get money for rent, bills, credit cards, etc., the first loan is simply the start of a cycle where you are continually further and further behind on your payments and in need of even more money. Before you know what has happened, you are left in a downward spiral of overwhelming debt.

In most instances, my clients only need a few hundred dollars to pay their bills, so they head over to a cash advance store and put up their future paycheck in return for a no credit check loan. However, things start to get a little sticky when you discover that this place is charging an exorbitant interest rate, sometimes as much as 25% for a two week advance. To put this into perspective, if you borrow a rather modest $200, you could end paying upwards of $50 for this “quick and painless” loan. And once you have paid off your bills and repaid the loan, you may see that you are still a little short on cash due to the unexpected interest payment, so you need to take out another loan. Well, there goes another $50 dollars, meaning you just paid $100 in interest for a one month loan of $400.

Although throwing away $100 a month will not affect the livelihood of most individuals, the people who are taking out these cash advance loans are usually making minimum wage and working hard to make ends meet. It may appear that these operations are taking advantage of the low-income earners plight, but the government has said payday loan stores are not predatory and fulfill a crucial role for some people. I wholeheartedly disagree with this considering that I have seen first hand how it can destroy a family’s life.

What are the alternatives to payday lending? CreditPro suggests: Taking and advance on a credit card, asking family for a loan (in writing), contacting the companies to whom you owe money and negotiating with them, contacting a local credit union, basically anything other than using payday loans. —MEGHANN MARCO

Avoiding Payday Loans [CreditPro]