Alternatives to Payday LoansThere are other options. Consider the possibilities before choosing a payday loan:
- When you need credit, shop carefully. Compare offers. Look for the credit offer with the lowest APR - consider a small loan from your credit union or small loan company, an advance on pay from your employer, or a loan from family or friends. A cash advance on a credit card also may be a possibility, but it may have a higher interest rate than your other sources of funds: find out the terms before you decide. Also, a local community-based organization may make small business loans to individuals.
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- Compare the APR and the finance charge (which includes loan fees, interest and other types of credit costs) of credit offers to get the lowest cost.
- Ask your creditors for more time to pay your bills. Find out what they will charge for that service - as a late charge, an additional finance charge or a higher interest rate.
- Make a realistic budget, and figure your monthly and daily expenditures. Avoid unnecessary purchases - even small daily items. Their costs add up. Also, build some savings - even small deposits can help - to avoid borrowing for emergencies, unexpected expenses or other items. For example, by putting the amount of the fee that would be paid on a typical $300 payday loan in a savings account for six months, you would have extra dollars available. This can give you a buffer against financial emergencies.
- Find out if you have, or can get, overdraft protection on your checking account. If you are regularly using most or all of the funds in your account and if you make a mistake in your checking (or savings) account ledger or records, overdraft protection can help protect you from further credit problems. Find out the terms of overdraft protection.
- If you need help working out a debt repayment plan with creditors or developing a budget, contact your local consumer credit counseling service. There are non-profit groups in every state that offer credit guidance to consumers. These services are available at little or no cost. Also, check with your employer, credit union or housing authority for no- or low-cost credit counseling programs.
- If you decide you must use a payday loan, borrow only as much as you can afford to pay with your next paycheck and still have enough to make it to the next payday.
To Complain/For More Information
If you believe a lender has violated the Truth in Lending Act, file a complaint with the FTC.
Courtesy of the Federal Trade Commission