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What Is Payday Loans Or Cash Advance Loans ?

Sep 13, 2008
A payday loan (also called a paycheck advance or payday advance) is a small, short-term loan that is intended to cover a borrower's expenses until his or her next payday. Typical loans are between $100 and $500 and are due in two weeks, with interest rates of up to 400% APR. On a two-week loan, fees average $15 for each $100 lent. The loans are also sometimes referred to as cash advances, though that term can also refer to cash provided against a prearranged line of credit such as a credit card.

Legislation regarding payday loans varies widely between different countries and, within the USA, between different states. Some jurisdictions impose strict usury limits, limiting the APR that any lender, including payday lenders, can charge; some outlaw payday lending entirely; and some have very few restrictions on payday lenders.

Statistics compiled by the Center for Responsible Lending show that the majority of the industry's profit comes from repeat borrowers who are unable to repay loans on the due date and instead repeatedly renew their loans, paying fees each time. The payday lending industry disputes these contentions.

Borrowers visit a payday lending store and secure a small cash loan, usually in the range of $100 to $500, with payment due in full at the borrower's next paycheck (usually a two week term). Finance charges on payday loans are typically in the range of 15 to 30 percent of the amount for the two-week period, which translates to rates ranging from 390 percent to 780 percent when expressed as an annual percentage rate The borrower writes a postdated check to the lender in the full amount of the loan plus fees. On the maturity date, the borrower is expected to return to the store to repay the loan in person. If the borrower doesn't repay the loan in person, the lender may process the check traditionally or through electronic withdrawal from the borrower's checking account.

If the account is short on funds to cover the check, the borrower may now face a bounced check fee from their bank in addition to the costs of the loan, and the loan may incur additional fees and/or an increased interest rate as a result of the failure to pay. For customers who cannot pay back the loan when due, members of the national trade association are required to offer an extended payment plan at no additional cost. In states like Washington, extended payment plans are required by state law.

Online payday loans are marketed through e-mail, online search, paid ads, and referrals. Typically, a consumer fills out an online application form or faxes a completed application that requests personal information, bank account numbers, Social Security number and employer information. Borrowers fax copies of a check, a recent bank statement, and signed paperwork. The loan is direct-deposited into the consumer's checking account and loan payment or the finance charge is electronically withdrawn on the borrower's next payday.
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