The popularity of online payday loan options is great for those looking for an immediate solution to a financial crisis. However, as with most online ventures, there is an element of risk involved if you don't fully research the company you are doing business with as well as the details of your transaction before you hand over your personal information and sign on the dotted line.
Approaching Payday Loans with Caution Most of the payday loan companies you find online are legitimate businesses with a similar sales platform: if you need cash fast, all you have to do is provide proof of employment, access to a valid checking account, and a promise to repay within two weeks and the money is yours. Different companies offer different repayment requirements, so it's important to make sure you know exactly what is required of you before you agree to the transaction.
Most of the time, you should be offered a flat fee for your payday advance loan (typically around $15 per $100 taken out). Repayment should be set within 14 to 18 days, and if you pay off the loan in that time frame, there should never be an additional charge or fee. You should also not have to follow up once your loan is repaid. In essence, once your end of the bargain is completed, that should be all that is required of you unless you choose to get another loan or roll over the existing one.
Payday Loan Rip-OffsUnfortunately, there are some Internet scams out there that take advantage of consumers in a tight bind. Things to avoid when choosing a payday lender include:
- Lenders who send out email-based loan offers. You should always approach the lender, not the other way around.
- Upfront fee requirements. Payday loans work by including any fees into the total payment required at the end of your loan term. Fees required in advance are not a typical aspect of payday lending.
- Companies that don't invite you to contact them by phone or email. You should be able to talk to someone about your concerns or questions when they arise. A company that is avoiding you is never a good sign.
- The entire cost of the payday loan isn't disclosed. According the Federal Truth in Lending Act, you must receive the dollar amount of your finance charge and the APR on your loan in writing. If you don't get this from your lender, they are not being upfront about their practices.
Using Safe, Legitimate Payday LoansAlthough many legitimate payday loan vendors have a bad reputation due to people who are unable to repay their loans in a timely fashion, most of what you find online operates in conjunction with national laws regarding payday lending regulations.
To get the most out of your payday loan, always take the necessary precautions to ensure that the company is legitimate and pay off your loan within the original time frame.