Payday Loans: Easy Cash or Bad Bargain? Let Members 1st Help
Even if you've never needed one, you probably have heard of payday loans. They are ultra-short-term, high-interest loans that can seem like the only source of immediate funds for cash-strapped Americans. Members 1st knows these loans aren't worth the risk, and our loan officers are ready and available to discuss your other options.
Unbelievably, around 12 million Americans use payday loans each year (according to the Chamber of Commerce). When bills, car payments and other nagging expenses pile up and the checking account is running low, it can be tempting to look for ways to find quick cash. You can sell personal items or ask family members for a loan, but whatever you do, don't go to a payday lender. It's a trap that will hold you captive far too long and cost you much more than you borrow.
Payday loans are popular, because they are extremely easy to get - no required credit check or collateral. A typical loan is for 14 days, and you're expected to pay it back in full when you receive your next paycheck. However, payday lenders charge a fee of 15% to 20% for every $100 borrowed. For a two-week loan, that works out to an annual interest rate well over 350%.
Most payday borrowers can't pay the loan in full when it's due, so they roll it over into another loan, with a new finance charge added to it. For example, say you borrowed $300 with a 15% finance charge for a two-week period. On your next payday, you would have to pay $345 ($300 x .15) to the payday lender. If you can't pay it when it's due and roll it over, you get hit with another finance charge, this time on $345. Now you owe $396.75. Often, this pattern just repeats over and over. In just six weeks, you will owe $456.26 on a $300 loan.
So, what are your alternatives? Start by asking your family and friends for help. Some may be able to lend you money until you get back on your feet financially. Make it clear to them that you will pay it, perhaps by drawing up terms stating a clear plan for you to pay back the loan. If they don't have money to lend, they may be able to help by driving you to work or even letting you move in with them temporarily.
If you are in good standing with Members 1st Credit Union and have good credit, you may qualify for an unsecured personal loan. Good news: You don't need collateral for this kind of loan, and you can qualify for $500 to $20,000, depending on your credit score and debt/income ratios. Even better news: You will get a much better interest rate than a payday lender and avoid the exuberant fees. And, even if you don't have an excellent credit score, we encourage you to talk with one of our loan officers. We may be able to find a workable solution for you.
If you are hit with a financial emergency, there are better options than a payday loan. Members 1st is committed to helping our members throughout their lives, through the good times and the bad. If you need a loan, talk with us to discuss how we can help you get through a rough patch without putting your financial security at risk.
Members 1st is YOUR credit union. Whether you are trying to navigate unexpected financial turns, planning for your financial future or simply opening a new savings or checking account, we are here to help you with all your financial needs. Call or stop by one of our offices today, or click around our website, to find out how Members 1st can support you!
Toll-free: (877) 487-5628
Mattis office: (314) 487-5628
Festus office: (636) 931-7144