How do payday loans work?

Our goal at Credible Operations, Inc., NMLS Number 1681276, hereafter referred to as “Credible”, is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we promote the products of our partner lenders who pay us for our services, all opinions are our own.

Payday loans may seem like a good option if you need money between paychecks, but they come with high fees and can be difficult to repay. (Shutterstock)

Payday loans, sometimes called cash advance loans, are small loans offered by private companies. Borrowers repay these short-term loans with their next paycheck.

Payday loans are often attractive to borrowers with lower credit scores or who need emergency money quickly, as many payday lenders have low qualification standards and do not perform credit checks. . You should know that payday loans can be considered a form of predatory lending because they often have very high interest rates and lots of fees. These costs can make payday loans difficult to repay and lock you into a cycle of debt.

A bad credit personal loan is a better alternative to a payday loan. Credible, it’s easy to view your prequalified personal loan rates from various lenders, all in one place.

How do payday loans work?

When you take out a payday loan, you commit to a short repayment period, usually around two weeks. You may need to write a personal check for the amount you are borrowing plus the company’s finance charge. You will also sign an agreement allowing the lender to cash the check on a specific date. Alternatively, you can repay the loan in cash or pay an additional finance charge to carry the debt over to another week.

Some payday lenders allow you to have multiple loans and repayments at once.

In most states, payday loans are available online or at physical locations. Payday loans are illegal in the following states and districts:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • District of Colombia
  • Georgia
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina

Other states have guidelines that dictate the maximum payday loan amount and minimum repayment terms. Some states do not have payday loan policies or regulations. For more information on payday loan regulations where you live, contact your state attorney general’s office.

How much does a personal loan cost?

The cost of a payday loan varies depending on a number of factors, such as the payday loan company’s rates, fees, and state laws. Some states have a cap on the maximum amount of fees a payday loan company can charge. These fees generally range from $10 to $30 for every $100 you borrow. A fee of $15 for every $100 borrowed equates to an annual percentage rate of nearly 400%, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Payday loans cost more than personal loans, or even credit cards. The average credit card APR was 16.17% in February 2022, while a 24-month personal loan had an average APR of 9.41%, according to Federal Reserve Data.

Payday loans can be problematic for people little income because it is easy to accumulate additional debts. If you do not repay your initial amount, you will be charged interest and loan fees to renew the debt. You can easily double or triple the amount you need to repay over several months, which can be more than the original amount you borrowed.


Does paying off a payday loan create credit?

No. Payday loans won’t help you build credit because they don’t work the same way as a traditional personal loan or credit card. Most payday loan companies won’t report your payments on time to credit bureaus, so those payments won’t increase your score.

Also, many payday loan companies won’t perform a credit check when you apply, so they won’t have access to report your score. However, if you don’t make your payments or make a late payment, they can send your bill to collections, which will hurt your credit score.

Alternatives to payday loans

Payday loans are expensive and don’t help you build credit. You should therefore only consider them as a last resort. If you need money to cover unexpected expenses, here are some better options to consider.

Personal loans

Personal loans are a convenient option for borrowers with excellent credit and borrowers with bad credit also. Although you may pay a higher interest rate if your score is less than stellar, the cost won’t be as high as what you’ll pay with a payday loan. You can usually get significantly lower rates than a payday loan.

Personal loans can provide emergency funds or help you consolidate high-interest debt into one monthly payment. You can apply for personal loans from your computer or phone, and most lenders will deposit funds directly into your bank account within days. If your score is weak, you may be able to add a co-signer who has good credit or apply for a secured loan.

With Credible, you can quickly and easily compare personal loan rates from multiple lenders, and it won’t affect your credit.

Ask your bank or credit union for a small loan

Some banks and credit unions offer small loans to current customers, even if their credit isn’t perfect. The upside is that you’re sticking with a company you already know (and hopefully trust). Working with your current bank or credit union also means funds could be deposited into your account much faster than with another lender.

Credit unions and banks may have lower (or no) fees and offer perks like lower interest rates if you sign up for automatic payments. A downside is that some banks and credit unions require you to have good to excellent credit to qualify for a loan.


Borrow from family or friends

Borrowing money from family or friends can be tricky. When you owe someone you love money, it can put a strain on your relationship. You should only borrow money from someone if you can pay it back quickly.

On the plus side, your family and friends won’t check your credit, so your score won’t be affected. But they also won’t report the payments, so you won’t get any benefit from paying off the debt except to maintain a happy relationship.

If you are borrowing from a family member or friend, consider drafting your own contract with repayment terms. Creating a professional agreement can help both parties feel more comfortable.

Comments are closed.