Payday Loan: Definition, Benefits, and Alternatives

Table of Contents hide 1 What is a payday loan? 2 How do payday loans work? 3 Low Cost Payday Loan Alternatives...

Written by Niel Patel · 9 min read >
Payday Loans Alternatives 2023

Payday Loan: Definition, Benefits, and Alternatives A payday loan is a small, short-term loan that you pay back when you get your next paycheck, usually between two and four weeks after you get the loan. Most payday loans only allow you to borrow up to $500, and they don’t check your credit.   When applying for a payday loan, you must present your most recent pay stub because payday loans are typically based on your salary. Payday loans are provided by specialized or generic lenders who offer other financial services. You can readily find them in physical stores or online.

What is a payday loan?

A payday loan is a short-term loan that can assist you in meeting your immediate cash demands until your next paycheck arrives. Small-dollar, high-cost loans frequently have annual percentage rates (APRs) in the triple digits. Payday loan payments are usually due within two weeks—or close to your next payday. Payday loans should be treated with caution. They might be tough to repay and may cost you more than anticipated if you are not cautious. Before applying for one, you should understand what you will receive and what is expected.

How do payday loans work?

You may submit an online or in-person application for a payday loan if the lender accepts customers from your state. Numerous payday loan companies don’t run credit checks. The option is likely to appeal to borrowers who need money immediately but do not have any credit history or good credit history.   Assume you send an application that is correctly filled out and a check with a future date. In that case, the lender will receive payment from your next salary. Some lenders may let you renew or roll over your plan if you can’t repay the loan by the due date. Any of these actions will result in increased costs and interest.

Low Cost Payday Loan Alternatives 2023

  1. Borrow From Friends and Family
  2. Apply for a Payday Alternative Loan
  3. Borrow From a Credit Union
  4. Form a Lending Circle
  5. Apply for a Bad Credit Loan
  6. Get Help With Bills Through Payment Plans
  7. Use a Credit Card Responsibly

What are the benefits of payday loans?

Here are the benefits of using payday loans:  

1. Appropriate for those with poor credit.

For someone with a poor credit history, borrowing money could be challenging. The majority of conventional consumer lending institutions will reject any high-risk applications.   High-risk individuals may have had financial difficulties in the past. But individuals without a credit history could also be considered to be in the high-risk group.   Payday lenders strictly monitor applicants’ ability to pay. Still, they also charge higher interest rates than other US lenders to compensate for the increased risk.   They frequently approve loan applications that other lenders turn down as a result.

2. Simple application procedure

Most of the time, the entire financing application process is done online. In some circumstances, other types of proof are needed on the application. Most customers only need to complete a brief online form with personal and financial information to qualify for credit.   Unless otherwise stated, these facts are private and will not be disclosed to anyone else. However, the lender will use them to reach a rapid decision.

3. Easy to manage

The majority of borrowers prefer to manage their loans online. One advantage of payday loans is that they might make them easier to manage.   When you apply for a payday loan, you are normally provided with a personal online account. You may view your current loan balance and any upcoming repayment dates when logged in and making an online payment.  

Online loan management makes it simple to make prepayments if you have the funds available and the lender permits it.

4. Making early payments can lower your overall cost.

Many lenders will use a variety of contemporary technology to send payment reminders through text or email. Using a Continuous Payment Authority, you can check your account’s balance and ensure enough money to cover any automated payments.   Ask your lender if you may pay off the loan early before signing a credit agreement.

5. Quick cash for unforeseen expenses.

Emergencies happen instantly. You might need more time to get approved for a conventional kind of borrowing to get approved if your car breaks down or the boiler needs to be replaced.   Many lenders can deposit the money to your account within minutes of a successful application and use online forms to save you from making a trip to a real store.   For instance, they can transfer the money to your bank in less than 90 seconds if you are accepted. Depending on the policies and processes of your bank, it can take longer.

6. Free to spend the money however you see fit.

Loans are now not restricted in any way. Everyone in the industry strongly advises using your short-term finances for absolute life necessities and emergencies.

7. It could save you money.

Overdraft fees returned checks, and other costs can quickly accumulate.   You may minimize your overall payment by obtaining financing to cover unaffordable expenses. You should only proceed if you are confident in your ability to repay the loan by its due date.

8. Effects in the immediate future

Some methods of raising money could result in debt that lasts longer than a year.   Payday loans also have other advantages, such that they are designed to be repaid in weeks or days rather than years.

9. Available constantly.

Even when banks are closed, there are ways to obtain short-term loans. You can borrow money at any hour of the day or night by submitting an online application.   Making payments or checking your balance on your loan is another way you can take care of it whenever it suits you, day or night, seven days a week.  

10. Governed by the borrower

When you apply for a loan, you must disclose the amount you wish to borrow and your repayment strategy to the lender.  

Suppose your loan is for more than one month. In that case, you will receive clear information regarding the total amount you must repay, any monthly installments, and the due date.   The loan’s term or your desired borrowing limit can then be adjusted to fit your needs.   It is preferable to limit your borrowing to the precise quantity you require. Low borrowing may force you to pay extra elsewhere, making you financially difficult. You’ll probably pay interest on funds you don’t need if you take out too much debt.   Most lenders will allow you to repay your loan early without incurring additional fees if you borrow more money than you need.

What are the alternatives to payday loans?

 Listed below are the alternatives to payday loans.

1. Apply for a Payday alternative loan (PALs)

Borrowers primarily obtain PALs from credit unions. When compared to paying loans, friends have competing interests. They are set up as installment loans with terms ranging from one to six months for repayment. In contrast to payday loans, which require balloon payments, they give borrowers more time to repay the debt. Before requesting a PAL, credit unions require borrowers to be members for at least one month. Some credit unions demand that applicants have a history of consistent savings before applying.

2. Apply for a personal loan with “Bad Credit.”

You can be eligible for a “bad credit” personal loan rather than a payday loan. These loans are available from several providers for sums between $500 and $10,000. However, APRs are frequently fairly high, and you might also have to pay an origination fee or additional fees.   Unlike home and auto loans, these loans don’t need you to pledge any property as collateral. Usually, a credit check is required.  

3. Ask Family or Friends for a Loan

A loan from relatives and friends could be a wonderful method to avoid a high-interest payday loan if you are in a tight financial situation. You could even be able to get a loan with $0 interest.   No matter your interest rate, be sure to document your loan arrangement in writing. Your loan amount, the interest rate or collateral used, the payout time, payment amounts, and due dates should all be specified in this contract. This kind of loan default won’t harm your credit, but it could lead to legal action, the loss of a friendship, or strained family ties.

4. Inquire about a payment plan with your creditor

Borrowing extra money is not best if you’re short on cash. You might ask your creditors if they’ll put you on a payment plan instead of going down that path.   You consent to make fewer monthly payments over a predetermined length of time under this type of arrangement. A payment plan may result in you paying more interest overall. It may help you get out of your current financial bind without putting you in further debt.  

5. Consult a Credit Counselor

Consider contacting a nonprofit credit counseling center if you are drowning in debt.   A qualified credit counselor can assist you in creating a household budget, lowering your debt interest rates, and improving your financial status. Nonprofit credit counseling organizations may charge little to nothing for their services, depending on the ones you use.

6. Start a Side Business

Do you have free time right now? If so, you can find a second job to help pay for that time. Here are a few side gigs:  

  • Become a virtual instructor.
  • Used clothing retailers online.
  • Online apparel stores for worn or discarded items.
  • Work as a freelancer part-time on projects like web design, writing, or graphic design.
  • Drive for an Uber or Lyft-like ride-hailing service.
  • Sell your handmade crafts, such as quilts and jewelry.

7. Take into account a low-interest credit card

You can obtain a low-interest credit card or at least one with an annual percentage rate significantly lower than the APR for a payday loan. However, your credit may currently be a little shaky. Experian CreditMatchTM can help you determine your eligibility for low-interest credit cards. A balance transfer card can provide breathing room if you struggle to pay off credit card debt. To be eligible for a credit card with a low-interest rate, you’ll normally need excellent credit or better.  

8. Examine Lending Networks

You can get free loans from other members of a lending circle to pay off high-interest debt, take care of unexpected needs, purchase a car, and other things. A lending circle has six to twelve participants. A few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars are borrowed. One of the most well-known lending circles is Mission Asset Fund.  

9. Get Employer Payroll Advances

  Payday loans are all about cash advances based on your paycheck. Payday lenders demand high-interest rates in exchange for their services, making it challenging for borrowers to break the cycle of cash flow problems.   Previously employed individuals can avoid payday loans by speaking directly with their employers. It never hurts to ask, so if you have temporary financial problems and think your employer could be understanding, let your manager know. If you need money quickly, put your pride aside and use your employer’s good name to get a cash advance. The worst they can do is say no. Employers have little to worry about because they likely won’t consider such a plan until you’ve worked there for some time. As long as the proper documentation is started, the transaction does not significantly add to the payroll process for firms.

How can payday loans affect your credit?

There is no impact on your credit score or record when you apply for a payday loan because many lenders do not perform credit checks. Even if you borrow money from GreenDayOnline and pay it back in whole and on time, there is no impact on your credit score. You may be responsible for the remaining balance and any financing costs if you don’t repay your loan in full. Suppose you need to catch up on your payments. In that case, the lender may hire a collection agency and mark your credit report as “defaulted.”

Is a payday loan risky?

Yes. Payday loans are risky due to extremely high-interest rates and costs. Many people struggle to pay them off, trapped in a never-ending cycle of debt.

How do I find a licensed payday lender in my state?

Not all states allow payday loans, but payday lenders must have a license in those that do. If the loan is made by a lender who is not registered, it is not valid. The payday loan lender has no legal right to collect from or force the borrower to repay the loan.   Each state has its rules about payday loans, like whether you can get them in a store or online. In places where payday loans are legal, your state’s bank regulator or attorney general can tell you how to get a license.

Do you need a bank account to get a payday loan?

Yes. Borrowing money does not require a bank account. On the other hand, lenders who do not need one usually charge exorbitant interest rates. This category includes a wide range of payday lenders. A prepaid card account may suffice in some circumstances, although payday lenders may require a bank account.   These loans are typically avoided because they are costly and difficult to repay. If you cannot return the loan on time, the costs may accumulate and trap you in a never-ending cycle of debt. As a result, you should only apply for a payday loan if you are certain you will be able to repay it.

Is a payday loan secured or unsecured?

Payday loans are largely unsecured. Unlike pawn shops, you won’t need to offer collateral to get a loan.   The lender will typically ask for your permission before taking money out of your bank account, credit union account, or prepaid card account. The potential exists that the lender will ask you to send a check for the debt. When the debt is paid off, the lender will cash the check. Federal law prohibits payday loans from relying on the borrower’s consent for “preauthorized” (repeated) electronic funds transfers. It is because preauthorized transfers are a common type of payment.

Are payday loans fixed or variable?

A payday loan is a loan with a fixed rate of interest. A loan with a fixed interest rate ensures the rate won’t change throughout the loan. You’ll continue to pay the interest rate you agreed to throughout your loan. It is a significant advantage for those who wish to budget the money and know exactly how much to pay. Your payment will remain constant with a fixed-rate loan regardless of market conditions.   However, suppose you have a loan with a variable interest rate. In that case, your payment may change depending on how the national market does. People anticipating a decline in interest rates are more inclined to choose variable-rate loans. A variable rate loan typically has an interest rate less expensive than a fixed rate loan. Customers are thereby taking a chance. People who choose variable-rate loans should be aware of this potential. Borrowing costs may climb dramatically if interest rates rise.

How much can I borrow with a payday loan?

The amount you can borrow varies depending on your state’s legislation and financial situation. Most states that allow payday loans have a maximum of $300 to $1,000. Check the payday lending laws in your state, though it’s not a given that you’ll be approved for the maximum amount allowed by statute. Your salary may be considered by a payday lender when calculating the amount you can borrow. Other payday lenders might not care if you can pay back the loan or if you have other financial obligations. You might overspend as a result of this.

Why is it so high on payday loans?

Payday loans are sometimes associated with hefty APRs. You would pay the APR if you took out the loan for a full year. On the other hand, a normal payday loan is intended to be just that – a loan until your next pay period. Typically, your loan principal (the amount of money borrowed) plus finance charges are due on your next payday.  

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