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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Installment loans differ from payday loans by having longer terms and regular payments. With a payday loan, the entire amount comes due at the end of a set period, usually two weeks to a month. Installment loans have high rates – not as high as payday loans but higher than a personal loan or a credit card. Also, like payday loans, there’s no credit check or collateral required to apply.
Payday loans can be paid back from money borrowed from a different source, such as a credit union or family member. Alternatives to payday loans don’t erase the debt, but they may have more agreeable terms and interest rates. A variety of different loans are available for numerous financial scenarios. One could be useful in helping you escape the payday loan trap if your credit qualifies you.

A minority of mainstream banks and TxtLoan companies lending short-term credit over mobile phone text messaging offer virtual credit advances for customers whose paychecks or other funds are deposited electronically into their accounts. The terms are similar to those of a payday loan; a customer receives a predetermined cash credit available for immediate withdrawal. The amount is deducted, along with a fee, usually about 10 percent of the amount borrowed, when the next direct deposit is posted to the customer's account. After the programs attracted regulatory attention,[89][90] Wells Fargo called its fee "voluntary" and offered to waive it for any reason. It later scaled back the program in several states. Wells Fargo currently offers its version of a payday loan, called "Direct Deposit Advance," which charges 120% APR. Similarly, the BBC reported in 2010 that controversial TxtLoan charges 10% for 7-days advance which is available for approved customers instantly over a text message.[91]
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.[93] 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.[94][95]

A payday loan (also called a payday advance, salary loan, payroll loan, small dollar loan, short term, or cash advance loan) is a small, short-term unsecured loan, "regardless of whether repayment of loans is linked to a borrower's payday."[1][2][3] 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. Payday advance loans rely on the consumer having previous payroll and employment records. Legislation regarding payday loans varies widely between different countries, and in federal systems, between different states or provinces.
Customer Notice: There are a wide variety of loan products available in the marketplace, so your choice of lending products should match your financial needs. Small-dollar loans used over a long period of time can be expensive. To view a list of the states we service online, please visit our Rates and Terms page. For our privacy policy, please visit our privacy policy page. Notice to CA customers: Check Into Cash is licensed by the Department of Business Oversight pursuant to the California Deferred Deposit Transaction Law. Notice to OH customers: In Ohio, Check Into Cash operates as a registered credit services organization (CSO). The actual lender is an unaffiliated third party. CS.900185.000. In Ohio, Loan By Phone operates as a registered Credit Services Organization (CSO). The actual lender is an unaffiliated third party. CS 900138.000. Ohio in-store license. Notice to UT customers: For questions or complaints please call the Utah Department of Financial Institutions at 801-538-8830 (UT customers only). Notice to LA customers: If you cannot make payment when due, you can ask to enter into an extended payment plan once in a twelve-month period, but the request must be made before payment is due. Should your lender (Check Into Cash) refuse to enter into an extended payment plan upon your request before the due date, contact the Office of Financial Institutions at 1-888-525-9414 (LA customers only). TX customers: In Texas, Check Into Cash operates as a Licensed Credit Access Business (CAB). The actual Lender is an unaffiliated third party. Notice: An advance of money obtained through a Small Loan or Auto Loan is not intended to meet long-term financial needs. A Small Loan or Auto Title Loan should only be used to meet immediate short-term cash needs. Refinancing the loan rather than paying the debt in full when due will require the payment of additional charges. Check Into Cash engages in the money transmission business as an authorized delegate of Western Union Financial Services, Inc. under Chapter 151 of the Texas Finance Code.VA customers: CREDITCORP OF VIRGINIA IS LICENSED BY THE STATE CORPORATION COMMISSION. VA LICENSE # VTL-10.
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Payday loans should be used for short-term financial needs only and not as a long-term financial solution. Any advance of money obtained through a payday loan is not intended to meet long-term financial needs. A payday loan should only be used to meet immediate short-term cash needs. Refinancing a payday loan rather than paying the debt in full when due will require the payment of additional charges. Customers with credit difficulties should seek credit counseling before entering into any payday loan transaction.

If you are unable to repay your loan on time for any reason, please contact your lender as soon as possible. Late payment fees are set by your lender in accordance with the regulations in your state, and lenders also determine their own policies in regard to how they handle late payments. There are several courses of action that your lender may take, so you should check your loan agreement for specific information that pertains to your lender.
Though regulated at the state and federal level, there are still payday lenders that attempt to skirt the rules. Some are online-only lenders based in other countries. Other lenders work around state laws by operating out of Native American reservations. Be wary of brokers that offer to connect you with lending partners – this can result in a lot of calls and emails about offers.
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In many cases, borrowers write a post-dated check (check with a future date) to the lender; if the borrowers don't have enough money in their account by the check's date, their check will bounce. In Texas, payday lenders are prohibited from suing a borrower for theft if the check is post-dated. One payday lender in the state instead gets their customers to write checks dated for the day the loan is given. Customers borrow money because they don't have any, so the lender accepts the check knowing that it would bounce on the check's date. If the borrower fails to pay on the due date, the lender sues the borrower for writing a hot check.[33]
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