Payday loans are like medicine. Used right, they can save your life--your financial life, at least. Take them when you don't need them, take too many, or take them just to hide the real problem, and they only make things worse.
I figure you've got enough sense to know what situation you're in and to decide what's best for you, when it comes to payday loans, or anything else for that matter.
It's sad, but lots of people don't give you that much credit for common sense. Politicians think they should decide what you can do, even though they probably never had to choose between borrowing money or having a broken-down car. So they've removed payday loans from some states. Credit counselors make it sound so easy to get out of debt, as if it's your fault you can't. Payday loan people--well, they're in the business of giving payday loans. Of course they'll recommend them every time.
So where does this blog fit in?
I won't tell you what to do, because you're in charge of that. I can talk about some of the ins and outs of getting payday loans online, or getting loans when you have bad credit, or dealing with debt and debt collectors. The good news is, my boss only goes online for porn and email anyway, I can say whatever I want about payday loans and he won't know. Hah. So there.
How payday loans work
You probably already know how payday loans work. A lot of states have them; some don't. They're called payday loans or quick cash loans or paycheck advances, because if the company's in a store in your neighborhood, you walk in, give them a post-dated check that's dated for your next payday, and they give you money, right there. When your payday comes, they can deposit your check to get their money back. It costs you around $20 for each $100 you borrow, sometimes more, sometimes less. No credit check, no hassle.
Or you can get payday loans online. Just search for payday loans or whatever. Sometimes you have to fax your information, but if that's a headache, search for "no fax" and you can do it all online. Instead of a post-dated check, you tell them they can take the money out of your bank account after you receive your next paycheck, and they add the loan money into your bank account right now. It's all electronic, like billpay or direct deposit.
The good thing about payday loans is they're quick and there's no credit check. (See this article for more about that.) All you need is regular income and a bank account, and you can get money the same day at a storefront, or no more than 24 hours later online.
So what's not to like?
Well, payday loans are expensive. You can borrow money cheaper with a credit card, for example. But not everybody has a credit card.
However, if you're looking at overdraft fees or late fees or you're missing work because your car's broken down or you're freezing because your furnace quit working, and nobody else will loan you money, payday loans don't seem as expensive after all, to get out of one-time trouble.
Still, there are good payday loan places and bad places. Some people are embarrassed to need a payday loan, but hell, the loan place is glad to see you. You're a customer to them, and they ought to treat you like one. But always remember that taking out a payday loan is like buying a used car or life insurance--the person on the other side of the counter (or the person who designed the website) is a salesman who's trying to sell.
So don't fall for the sales talk. If you need $200 and he says "we can offer you $500," say, "No thanks, I only need $200." If you walk in to pay off the loan and she says, "Why don't you just pay the minimum and let us roll it over another month, so you can keep your money?" say, "No, I want to pay it all off."
On this blog, I'll be adding an article or two a week--no guarantee what days--and I hope you find some of it helpful. The archives over on the right will grow, and you can find all the topics there.
If you're in the military...
Here's something you might find useful. You can get an incredibly cheap military payday loan through the ARK program. It's just like any other payday loan, but it's subsidized, so it only costs $6 for up to $500. That's it. Just six bucks. No other interest, no other fees. After you take out one, you have to talk to a credit counselor, but you can take out as many as five of them. That's an amazing deal, but a cheap military payday loan seems like the least the country can do to make up for sometimes-crappy military pay.
6:25 p.m. January 1
Hey, I'm the first to comment. Welcome to the blogosphere.
11:55 p.m.January 1
I hope U tell it like it is, and not be just another payday loan shill.
9:14 a.m. January 1
Already you've left out the warning that should be given: payday loans trap people in a cycle of debt. You make the analogy to medicine, but you left out the danger of addiction.
1:02 p.m. January 2
@ghw--Thanks. @dogger & Hollister--Hey, I'll do my best. If you don't agree, let me know.
9:12 p.m.January 2
You're in Canada?
10:55 p.m. January 2
Huh? I'm in the US. Oh, you went to Whois, you sneaky son of a gun. No, my website anonymizer is in Canada, but I'm in the USA. Not telling you where, though. Okay, a hint: east of the Mississippi. If I say any more, you could track me down and make me pay that ticket I got when I was in Atlanta, which I totally did NOT deserve, by the way. Speaking of which, I need to mail that in before they do come after me.
10:59 p.m. January 2
What's the catch on the military payday loan?
1:11 a.m. January 3
There really isn't any that I know of, other than the credit counseling. I first heard about it on the bus from a private at Fort Bragg, and after she mentioned it, I looked it up, and it's real.
2:30 a.m. January 3
Payday loans are NOT harmless. If you're trapped in a cycle of debt, we can remove bad marks from your credit report and help you start fresh. We are a non-profit credit counseling service run on donations only. Successful resolutions guaranteed. Call us at 1-888-like I'm really going to leave your number in there.
7:49 a.m. January 3
Spammers already. Gotta love 'em. It reminds me, though, a good topic in the future would be credit repair scams, how they hurt people, how you can immediately tell that spammer is lying, and how I've seen people really rebuild bad credit for a fraction of the cost. Geez, there's so much to say.
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