Payday Loans Statistics | The bank rate

Here’s a breakdown of payday loan demographics by parental status. Parents are more likely to take out payday loans than non-parents.

Parental status Percentage having used a personal loan
non-relative 5%
relative 8%

payday loans in america

The rates and terms of payday loans can vary widely by state. Some states don’t even allow payday lenders because these lenders can sometimes be debt traps. In states where payday loans are permitted, one of three levels of regulation may apply.

Permissive states allow high loan fees and APRs and generally have the fewest restrictions. Hybrid states tend to have more restrictions, either by having rate caps, restrictions on loans per borrower, or giving borrowers more payment periods to repay the loan. Restrictive states don’t allow payday loans or have a 36% APR rate cap, making it virtually impossible for payday lenders to set up shop in these states.

Payday loans are most common in urban areas and the Midwest, with 7% of urban residents and 7% of Midwest residents using them.

Why do people use payday loans?

Payday loans are intended for urgent or unexpected expenses, and it is generally advisable to avoid using them for anything else if possible. If someone is living paycheck to paycheck and falling behind on their bills, a payday loan to cover groceries or rent might seem like a great idea. Unfortunately, the fees incurred by these loans are usually higher than the loan itself, pushing borrowers further into the cycle of debt.

However, the majority of payday loan borrowers, 69%, use these loans for regular expenses.

Payday loans are commonly used to pay:

  • Utilities
  • Car payment
  • Payment by credit card
  • Rent/mortgage
  • Food

Alternatives to payday loans

If you’re in dire financial straits and want to borrow money quickly, payday loans aren’t your only option. Payday loans tend to start a borrowing cycle, and borrowers are likely to get in over their heads with extremely high fees. There are several alternatives to taking out a payday loan, including loans for lenders with bad credit, credit card cash advances, and personal installment loans.

These options have lower fees and longer repayment terms. Credit card cash advances have high APRs similar to payday loans, but they allow the borrower a longer period to repay the loan.

While personal loan interest rates will be higher for less qualified borrowers, personal loan rates are capped at around 36%, significantly lower than payday loan rates. Additionally, personal lenders tend to charge lower fees than payday lenders.

If you decide to take out a personal loan, be sure to do your research on today’s best personal loan rates and bad credit loans.

The bottom line

Payday loans can be extremely useful for those who find themselves struggling with unexpected expenses or falling behind in their day-to-day expenses. Payday lenders lend money to people who may not qualify elsewhere. However, taking out a payday loan usually leads to taking out more, leaving borrowers in a cycle of debt. Younger, lower-income borrowers are more likely to take out these loans, and people of color also tend to take out payday loans at higher rates.

If you are considering a payday loan, make sure you know the payday loan rules in your state and that you are getting the lowest APR you can find in your area. Also, beware of payday scams, as the lack of regulation in some states can cause lenders to take advantage of borrowers. However, if you can qualify, taking out a personal loan or credit card cash advance is a safer and less expensive option.

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