Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Pros and Cons of Payday Loans

These days payday loans have become extremely popular and in fact, it would seem that everywhere you turn there is an offer for a payday loans to get you the extra money you need until the next payday. Are payday loans really a good idea; however? Sure, they can help you out when you are in a tight spot financially but there are several serious factors that need to be considered before you actually take out such a loan.

First, let’s take a look at how payday loans work. Usually the lender will agree to lend you a specified amount of money for a certain period of time. For example, let’s say you needed $200 to cover some unexpected expenses. You would borrow the $200 and write out a postdated check for two weeks hence to cover the amount of the loan plus the finance fee, which would be around $60 for this size loan. So, in two weeks the lender expects to be able to cash that check for $260 to recoup the loan extended to you.

Before taking out the loan, it is extremely important to ask yourself whether you will really be able to afford to pay back the loan when it comes due. Most payday loans are made on a two week to four week basis. In the event that you can’t pay back the loan at the end of that timeframe most payday loan companies will be quite happy to extend the loan; however, if you do that you will be charged more interest.

This brings up an interesting point because it can be difficult to determine how much interest you’re paying on a payday loan when it involves numerous extensions. The truth of the matter; however, is that depending on the number of extensions you take on the loan you may actually be paying 300% interest, at a minimum. No, that’s not a typo. How can they do that? Because there are no regulations regarding the amount of interest charged on payday loans when they are extended in this fashion. As you can well imagine, with this type of interest rate, you may never be able to pay back the loan. Depending on how long you continue to extend the loan, you may actually end up paying far more than that. Based on our earlier example, if you extended the loan three months after the original due date you would owe almost $500; more than double the amount you originally borrowed.

There can also be other problems associated with taking out a payday loan, as well. For example, if you happen to unfortunately be working with a company that is less than scrupulous you may find yourself owing bounced check fees as well. This can be a real danger if the lender deposits your post-dated check prior to the agreed upon date or if you don’t have enough funds in your account to cover the check on the date you agreed upon.

When all factors are taken into consideration, payday loans can be a dangerous risk and should only be considered if you truly have no other alternatives, such as taking out a small loan from your bank or credit union, borrowing from family or friends or simply making arrangements with your debtor to wait until you receive your next paycheck.


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