“I’m looking at getting one of those fast cash loans because I need a loan ASAP to cover my daily cost. Payday is a few days from now and I’m afraid my family is going to get short in food supplies and the rent is up soon. Are these loans even legal?”
-Mollie, 38, NV
On a bright note, as the economy improves we hope to see less financial situations as yours. In the meantime, payday or other short-term loans can help bridge your daily financial gaps provided you’re aware of their pitfalls.
Just like you, I had gone through panicking and thinking I need a loan ASAP and simply plunged into one without understanding the terms. To save you the trouble and costly mistakes that I paid for, here are some tips that may be helpful once you’ve calmed a bit after screaming in your head, “I need a loan now!”
1. What’s available out there?
The proliferation of payday lenders including in countries like the UK and Canada only complicates the issue of payday loans. While there are fair lenders, expect to come across loan sharks that will take advantage of your need for cash. Payday loans can also go by other names: short-term loans, personal loans and same-day loans are just a few. Usually, they are fast to process—some even transfer the money on the same day—they don’t’ require a credit check; the loan amount is calculated based on how much you earn; and the payment window is short, often from bi-monthly to three months only.
2. Check the credibility of lender
When I need a loan ASAP I use the Internet to check which lenders have the right offer and terms for my situation. Moreover, when I come across a prospect, I will Google it even more to see if it will turn up with negative news or comments and testimonials about the lender. Vice-versa, any good posts about a lender is sure to get my attention. Who says only lenders can do a background check?
3. Pay close attention to payment terms
I make sure to sort through a slew of lenders and read their terms even before a thought “I need a loan ASAP” appears in my head. With more time and at a relaxed pace, I can see clearly which terms are okay and which can trap me in more debt.
Also, make sure to pay back the loan as soon as you can. Payday and short-term loans charge a high interest rate; the longer you extend the terms or roll the loan over to the next month, the more cash you lose in effect.
Likewise, some lenders will offer loans for amounts higher than what you need. Don’t fall for it, just borrow what you need. Because payday loans have a high interest rate, the higher your loan the more you’re being charged, too. The Federal Trade Commission shows how much you’re really losing with payday loans if you’re not careful.
4. Watch out for hidden fees
Read the terms closely before you sign up for any loan. Much of the fees are hidden in the fine print. Be wary of special deals. Some lenders will offer to withhold the interest on the first tranche, but they will charge a high service fee to augment this deal. Some may offer lower rates but will charge processing fees (or any name that they can think of) for every payment. Use your better judgment. For me, I compare the terms and keep a reference file in case one day I need a loan ASAP.
Pay closer attention to penalties. When I need a loan this is one of the first terms that I check. It is so easy to fall into a default these days. Anticipate that you will, too, considering that you’re applying for a loan because you’re short on cash.
Likewise, knowing the penalties—they are stiff and will cost much more than usual—will keep you on your toes. Here’s a trick that I use when I need a loan ASAP: I post the penalties on my desk to remind me to pay back on time. It may be an extreme measure, but any little trick that will help you pay on time is worth trying.
Payday loans are legal, but it doesn’t mean they’re free from unethical lenders. Do your research and compare the terms before you sign up for any loan.
Payday loans in the United Kingdom are a rapidly growing industry, with four times as many people using such loans in 2009 compared to 2006—in 2009 1.2 million people took out 4.1 million loans, with total lending amounting to £1.2 billion. The average loan size is around £300, and two-thirds of borrowers have annual incomes below £25,000...
LMCU (originally known as SCECU - Southwark Council Employees Credit Union) is a community-based financial cooperative that exists for the benefit of working and non working people of Southwark and Lambeth boroughs. They offer savings accounts, current accounts, loans and insurance to members of the community who find themselves financially...
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