A payday loan is a short-term loan in which a lender provides funds to a borrower in exchange for a post-dated check, which includes the loan principal, interest rate, and fee. The lender agrees to hold the check until the future date on which the check is dated. Many payday lenders unscrupulously encourage customers to refinance one payday loan with another.
Thus, it is more than obvious that payday loans are rarely if ever, the best way to solve a financial problem. Payday loans are marketed as a means for consumers to pay debts until payday. These loans have the high potential to trap consumers in harmful debt cycles and causing financial hardship for them and their families.
In Florida, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation’s Division of Consumer Finance regulates payday lenders. Florida residents may verify a license or file a complaint on the OFR website.
For example, a seven-day payday loan of $500 with a fee of 10% would cost fifty dollars and the verification fee for the seven-day period. Applying an annual rate, the 10% fee is equivalent to an interest rate in excess of 500%.
Here are some things to consider before obtaining a payday loan:
- If possible, borrow any needed money from a friend or family member.
- Delay payment or make payment arrangements on non-interest bills such as utility bills.
- Try to get a wage advance.
- Make sure to verify the license of the payday lender, especially if it does business online. To receive the protection of Florida law, it is wise to consider doing business with a Florida payday lender. Dealing with any internet, out-of-state, unlicensed company will make it difficult to resolve any problems that may arise.
- Be wary of other similar short-term loans such as installment loans, open-ended lines of credit and auto title loans.
- Shop for the lowest fees and penalties.
- Borrow only what is affordable and may be easily repaid.
- Budget your income and plan for future emergencies and unforeseen expenses.