You don't always have enough money in the bank to make it to the next payday. Unexpected expenses exceed your savings, and you need some way to supplement your short-term cash flow. Figuring out the best payday loans (or best alternatives to a payday loan) to fit your needs requires understanding these loans and knowing what to look for in a lender.
There are no national standards for payday lending – each state regulates the industry individually. In some states, such as Wisconsin, there are no restrictions. In states like that, Cash Central charges up to $27 per $100 borrowed, which is on the higher end but not uncommon among the lenders we reviewed. States like California and Washington have restrictions on the maximum amount a lender can charge. The lowest amount we saw Cash Central charge is $15 per $100 borrowed.
The Truth in Lending Act requires all lenders, including online payday loan lenders, to disclose the cost of the loan in writing before you sign any agreement to take the loan. They must give you this information in terms of the finance charge and APR (annual percentage rate). Even after reading this information, you might not understand just how expensive payday loans truly are.
Notice to Texas and Ohio Customers: In Texas and Ohio, RISE is a Credit Services Organization/Credit Access Business operating in accordance with each state’s applicable Credit Services Organization Act. In Ohio, RISE Credit Service of Ohio, LLC d/b/a RISE is licensed by the Department of Commerce, Division of Financial Institutions Certificate No. CS.900086.000. In Texas, RISE Credit Service of Texas, LLC d/b/a RISE is licensed by the Office of the Consumer Credit Commissioner, License No. 16507-62536. RISE is not the lender or a fiduciary of the lender.
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Often, you see APRs listed for payday loans as high as 600%. Because you pay the loan back in two weeks to a month, the APR serves mostly as a gauge of how expensive the loan is. Payday loans charge a finance fee, which ranges from $10 to $30 for each $100 you borrow. We chose to include this fee rather than APRs to give you a better idea of how much you’ll end up paying if you decide to get a payday loan.
Adam West is the Managing Editor for BadCredit.org, where he regularly coordinates with financial experts and industry movers and shakers to report the latest information, news, and advice on topics related to helping subprime borrowers achieve greater financial literacy and improved credit scores. Adam has more than a dozen years of editing, writing, and graphic design experience for award-winning print and online publications, and specializes in the areas of credit scores, subprime financial products and services, and financial education.
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