In a perfect world, you could rely on a credit card to cover emergency expenses. But, as you might have already guessed, most Americans don’t have that kind of available credit on hand to use either. In fact, according to a Harvard University study, nearly 40 percent of households making less than $40,000 a year have no credit cards at all.2 And one in ten Americans have no credit score whatsoever!3
6. Beware of scams. It can be difficult to spot a scam among legitimate online lenders. Scammers may not offer you a loan, but instead take the highly private personal and credit information you provided and sell it for misuse. A company may be a scam if it requires upfront fees, ignores your payment history, initiates contact or contacts you nonstop, asks you to pay with a prepaid card or isn’t registered in your state.
As an alternative to traditional payday loans, LendUp also has several different types of loans. A traditional payday loan means you must repay the full value of the loan with your next paycheck. That could leave you in a financial tight spot. LendUp offers up to 30 days for repayment. The added flexibility makes it much easier for you to repay these alternative loans without failing to meet other financial obligations.
A 2012 report produced by the Cato Institute found that the cost of the loans is overstated, and that payday lenders offer a product traditional lenders simply refuse to offer. However, the report is based on 40 survey responses collected at a payday storefront location. The report's author, Victor Stango, was on the board of the Consumer Credit Research Foundation (CCRF) until 2015, an organization funded by payday lenders, and received $18,000 in payments from CCRF in 2013.
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If you find yourself in a situation where you're considering a payday loan, explore alternatives first. If you have emergency expenses, consider using a credit card or finding a cosigner for a personal loan. These have lower interest rates and don’t put you in as much of a bind as payday loans. The balloon payment when the term of your payday loan expires can leave you short when your next paycheck arrives, which can force you into taking out another to pay for your expenses. In cases like this, making minimum payments on a credit card, while not ideal, is a better option than being caught in a payday loan debt trap.
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The best online payday lenders make it convenient to apply from your phone or computer. Applying online saves you the trouble of finding a location and any embarrassment you might feel about requesting a payday loan in person. One drawback of online payday loans is you don’t get your money immediately – you usually have to wait one or two business days for the money to deposit in your account. So if you apply on the weekend, you won’t get the money until the following Monday. If you need immediate cash, you’re better off going to a lender with a physical location.
Twelve million Americans use payday loans every year, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. Generally anyone with a checking account and steady income can obtain a payday loan. However, it is most common for borrowers who don’t have access to credit cards or savings accounts to use this type of loan. “Payday loans for bad credit” are attractive to people with no credit or credit problems.
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Many countries offer basic banking services through their postal systems. The United States Post Office Department offered such as service in the past. Called the United States Postal Savings System it was discontinued in 1967. In January 2014 the Office of the Inspector General of the United States Postal Service issued a white paper suggesting that the USPS could offer banking services, to include small dollar loans for under 30% APR. Support and criticism quickly followed; opponents of postal banking argued that as payday lenders would be forced out of business due to competition, the plan is nothing more than a scheme to support postal employees.
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