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.
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
Filing for personal bankruptcy may be an option if your debt is completely out of control, but keep in mind that it comes with some serious consequences. While bankruptcy may help you escape payday loans and other debts owed, it also means a huge blemish on your credit reports for up to 10 years in some cases. That can result in you being denied future credit, mortgages and other financial opportunities. It can even make things like auto insurance more expensive. That’s why it’s best to exhaust all other possible options before making this choice.
Note that accounts closed in good standing stay on your credit report for 10 more years, so it doesn’t affect your credit age in the near term. After 10 years, the closed account will only lower your average age if you close old accounts and keep newer ones around. If you close newer accounts and keep the old ones open, this may actually help improve your credit score.