In times of struggle and financial hardship, you are looking for options to help keep you afloat. Perhaps you’re falling behind, or you are trying to juggle other debts you owe. Maybe your employer cut back on overtime opportunities, which provided you with much of the extra income you needed to cover certain expenses. Regardless of the situation, you’re looking for financial help, and fast. Taking out a payday loan may be the option you’re considering, but we encourage looking into other alternatives first before resorting to this.
Although payday loans may appear helpful on the surface, they can easily capture you into a debt that is difficult to escape. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the fee amount for taking out one of these loans can range anywhere from $10-$30 for every $100 borrowed. This depends on state laws and regulations. Whatever fees are allowed can equate to astronomical interest rates. For example, if you took out a loan that charged a fee of $15 for every $100 borrowed, that comes out to an almost 400% APR. Although some states are more heavily regulated, proceed with caution and consider these alternatives below:
- If you need assistance with utilities, contact your utility companies. Look into low-income energy assistance in your area. (LIHEAP)
- If you’re falling behind on a car note or other type of loan, contact your lender. See what options they can offer in-house to help you get back on your feet.
- Contact local organizations and non-profits to see what further assistance is available, such as food provision, rent assistance, and other potential assistance in your area. Your local United Way is a wonderful resource that can direct you to other local resources. You can reach them by dialing 2-1-1.
- If you are needing a loan, reach out to your bank or credit union. See what options they have. Banks and credit unions are much more regulated compared to payday lenders.
- Some credit unions offer what is called a Payday Loan Alternative (PAL). You must be a member with the credit union, but the PAL can offer flexible repayment terms and interest rates below 30% for those who have little to no credit.
As a non-profit credit counseling agency, we are also here to assist where we can. If you are ever interested in discussing your unique financial situation with a credit counselor, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to help you reach your financial goals.