Before someone takes out any type of loan it’s important to understand how it works. The same is true of payday loans, possibly even more so, because many payday lenders may be intentionally vague about how their loans work in order to attract financially vulnerable customers. We’ve put together some of the most common questions we’ve been asked about payday loans so our readers can learn a bit more about them, and find out if they’re the right type of credit for their situation.
What is a payday loan?
A payday loan is a small, short term loan. The loan amount is usually between $100 and $2,000 and the loan terms are usually between 16 days and one year.
Why is it called a payday loan?
It’s called a payday loan because the loan amount is designed to be paid back when the borrower next gets paid. The amount customers are lent is usually small, and customers are only lent what they will receive in their income over the next month or so.
What interest and fees are charged with payday loans?
The Australian government has placed a fee cap for payday loans. As of the 1st July 2013, payday lenders are only able to charge the following fees:
- A one-off establishment fee which is 20% of the amount loaned.
- A monthly fee which is 4% of the principal loan amount.
- Any applicable government fees or charges.
- Fees or charges if someone defaults on the loan.
- Enforcement expenses if the lender is forced to take someone to court to recover the money that they owe them.
If the fees are capped at 24%, why do people talk about interest rates that are almost 1000%?
It's important to keep in mind that lenders do not charge interest on payday loans, and are only allowed to charge fees that are expressed as a percentage of the amount that someone borrows. While these fees are capped at 24%, it's charged over a shorter space of time compared to other forms of credit. Most other interest, including interest on credit cards, personal loans and home loans, is charged annually, compared to payday loans which is charged monthly.
How does the interest on a payday loan compare to personal loans and other forms of credit?
As mentioned in the question above, most other credit accounts, including personal loans, home loans and credit cards, charge interest at an annual rate, whereas payday loans charge interest (in the form of fees) for much shorter period of time. In that sense, potential payday loan applicants should be considering the interest charged on a payday loan by multiplying it, so they can better compare.
So, if you take out a payday loan of $500 for a period of 30 days, you will be charged 24% in fees. The loan customers will pay $120 in fees, totalling $620 in principal and repayments. If someone is charged 24% for one month’s worth of repayment, they are essentially paying the equivalent of 288% p.a. (12 months x 24%). Prospective borrowers should remember to keep this in mind when they are considering how competitive payday loans are compared to other loans and forms of credit.
What are the loan terms for payday loans?
Payday lenders differ on the terms they offer, but the minimum terms they are able to offer is 16 days. Lenders usually offer terms that line up with the pay structure of their customers, for instance, if someone is paid fortnightly they might allow them to repay the loan in two fortnightly repayments, whereas if they are paid monthly they may have to pay the loan back in full when they next get paid. The lender should outline their proposed terms in a loan contract before anyone agrees to a loan.
How quickly do I receive a payday loan?
Payday loans usually have a quick turnaround time, although the actual time is different for each lender and may also depend on the borrower's bank. Upon approval, some lenders may be able to transfer successful applicants the money within 60 minutes, while some may be able to transfer the money within one business day or more.
Can people with bad credit get a payday loan?
As these loans are small and the repayments are structured around the borrower's next payday, the eligibility criteria tends to be a bit more flexible. Although, keep in mind that lenders will still differ in their lending criteria. Most payday lenders will be more concerned with someone's ability to pay back the loan rather than the applicant's credit history, and so will focus more on a person's income and their financial activity over the last three months.
Do payday lenders do credit checks?
Some payday lender will carry out credit checks, but not all will. They will usually outline this on their website.
Are payday lenders "dodgy"?
Unfortunately, there are disreputable lenders who do prey on people with poor credit or those who are experiencing financial hardship. In saying this, there are some very reputable lenders who may be able to offer some clients genuine help. If someone if experiencing genuine financial hardship, getting a payday loan could very easily trap them into a spiral of debt, and may not be a viable solution to their problems.
How can I stop payday lenders calling my employer?
Payday lenders may get in contact with a person's employer for a few different reasons, such as to confirm that person's employment and income amount. Therefore, a way to avoid this is for applicants to provide enough documentation when they apply, so that the payday lender will not need to contact their employer. Keep in mind that this is not an option for every lender. If someone wants to know whether the lender will contact their employer, they can give them a call to confirm this.
Some lenders also offer this information on their site under the FAQs. For example, Nimble requires that customers give their payroll officer permission to speak to them, while Loan Ranger needs to make a quick call to the applicants employer to check that they work there.
How do I find a reputable payday lender?
Most payday lenders operate online, so customers will be able to use their website to judge their reputability. When looking at their site its relatively easy to see how transparent they are with information regarding their fee and payment structure, and also how easy they are to contact. If a website is making these things intentionally difficult, there is a chance that they could have something to hide. Applicants can also read third-party customer reviews of their services online to see other peoples' experiences with them. All Australian lenders should be accredited by ASIC. Check for a credit licence on the ASIC Register and ensure that the lender is easily contactable.
How do I compare payday loans?
To compare payday loans, a prospective applicant first needs to decide what their needs are as a borrower, and why they are borrowing the money. They can then compare payday loans by their rates and fees, as well as their flexibility with repayments. They can also look at how quickly the lender is able to have the money to them, and whether that meets their borrowing needs.
If anybody has any other questions, they are feel free to ask them in the comments section below, or visit our forum and discuss payday loans with fellow finder.com.au users.