Payday loan vs personal loan: what’s the difference?

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If you need money to cover an emergency, you can borrow it in several ways.

One is a payday loan. This type of loan is easy to apply for but can be very risky. Payday loans charge high interest rates and often have hidden fees. This makes it very easy to get stuck in a debt trap where it becomes very difficult to repay your loan, even if you only borrowed a small amount initially.

Another option is a personal loan. These loans are a little more complicated to apply for but have much lower interest rates than payday loans. For this reason, personal loans are often used to consolidate debt and are a much safer way to access credit.

Here’s what you need to know about the differences between these loans and how you can decide which is right for you.

Key points to remember

  • If you need money to cover an emergency, you can borrow it in several ways. One is a payday loan. This type of loan is easy to apply for but can be very risky. Another option is a personal loan. These loans are a little more complicated to apply for but have much lower interest rates than payday loans.
  • Using a simple online personal loan calculator can help you determine the type of payment amount and interest rate that best suits your budget.
  • Payday loans are almost always more expensive than personal loans when it comes to borrowing money, and are also riskier. If you qualify for a personal loan, choosing this option will allow you to borrow more money, give you more time to pay it back, and charge you less interest.

Payday Loans vs. Personal Loans: An Overview

Payday loans and personal loans have some similarities. With both loans, you borrow money that must be repaid, with interest, at a later date. Both loans can be used to cover emergencies and to meet the cost of unexpected bills or other financial obligations.

These loans can differ considerably. Payday loans are typically used to borrow small amounts of money until your next paycheck and are very easy to arrange. You won’t need any collateral for these loans, and they can be very expensive. For this reason, they are often considered predatory loans because they carry extremely high interest rates, do not take into account the borrower’s ability to repay, and have hidden provisions that charge borrowers additional fees.

Personal loans are a much broader category. This loan is usually offered by a bank, credit union or online personal lender, and you will normally need to provide them with proof that you will eventually be able to repay the loan. Personal loans are normally for much larger amounts of money than payday loans, but you’ll have a lot more time to pay that money back. Interest rates and fees for a personal loan are much lower than for a payday loan, so the overall cost of borrowing is likely to be much lower.

Warning

Payday loans can charge high interest rates – up to 400% – and incur hidden fees.

How payday loans work

It is normally very easy to get a payday loan. You can walk into a payday lender’s office and walk away with a loan. You won’t have to give anything to the lender to secure the loan, like you would at a pawn shop. Instead, the lender will normally ask your permission to electronically withdraw money from your bank, credit union or prepaid card account. Sometimes the lender may ask you to write a
check the repayment amount, which the lender will collect when the loan matures.

Payday loans can be expensive. Payday lenders charge very high interest rates: up to 780% in annual percentage rate (APR), with the average loan amounting to almost 400%. Most states have usury laws that limit interest charges between 5% and 30%. However, payday lenders fall under exemptions that allow their high interest rate. Sixteen states – Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia, and the District of Columbia – outright ban extremely expensive payday loans. Seven states – Maine, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Virginia and Washington – have imposed certain measures, such as time limits, fee limits or the number of loans per borrower, which offer some protection to consumers. .

Payday lenders claim that their high interest rates are misleading because if you pay off your payday loan on time, you won’t have to pay high interest rates. In some cases, this may be true, but 80% of payday loans are renewed multiple times, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), indicating that the majority of these loans are not repaid on time.

Debt consolidation

You can use a personal loan to consolidate your debts. If your credit rating is good, you can often take out a personal loan at a lower interest rate than you would pay with your credit cards.

How Personal Loans Work

To obtain a personal loan, you must contact a lender. Again, this could be a bank, credit union, or online personal lender. Generally, you must first complete an application. The lender reviews it and decides whether to approve or deny it. If approved, you will receive the terms of the loan, which you can accept or decline. If you accept them, the next step is to finalize your loan documents.

When this is done, the lender will fund the loan, which means paying you the proceeds. Depending on the lender, these can arrive by direct deposit to your bank account or by check. Once the loan is funded, you can use the money as you see fit.

Personal loans can be secured or unsecured. A secured personal loan is a loan that requires some form of collateral as a condition of borrowing. For example, you can get a personal loan with cash, like a savings account or certificate of deposit (CD), or with a physical asset, like your car or boat. If you are unable to repay the loan, the lender may retain your collateral to pay off the debt.

Personal loans can also be found online. Many lenders offer personal loans through their websites. You can apply electronically, get a decision in minutes, and in some cases get funding in as little as 24-48 hours after loan approval. Using a simple online personal loan calculator can help you determine the type of payment amount and interest rate that best suits your budget.

Lenders may have different requirements regarding credit score, income, and debt ratio that are acceptable to be approved for a personal loan. This can help you narrow down the loans that best match your credit and financial profile.

Main differences

There are several key differences between payday loans and personal loans when it comes to meeting emergency expenses:

  • Cost. Payday loans generally have much higher interest rates than personal loans and may incur hidden fees.
  • Accessibility. Payday loans may be easier to obtain, especially for people with limited credit histories and other financial difficulties. With some payday lenders, you can even get a loan without a bank account as long as you have a prepaid card account.
  • Impact on your credit score. Most payday lenders do not report to credit bureaus. This means that only personal loans appear on your credit report. If you take out a personal loan and make payments on time, your credit score will increase, which will help you qualify for better loans and interest rates in the future.

In almost all situations, a payday loan will be more expensive than a personal loan. If you need emergency money, the best thing to do is apply for a personal loan if you can qualify. Then, if you don’t qualify, you can consider other options. Even then, it may be best to spend money on your credit card, ask your employer for overtime, or borrow money from family and friends.

Is the personal loan a better alternative to the personal loan?

In general, a personal loan will be cheaper than a personal loan. Lower-cost personal loans give the borrower more time to repay a loan than a payday loan, and most credit unions offer personal loans with APRs comparable to credit cards, which still charge lower rates than payday loans.

Are payday loans hard or easy to repay?

Payday loans are sometimes harder to repay than a traditional loan because the lender hasn’t checked your repayment capacity before lending you money. Payday lenders typically don’t assess your debt-to-equity ratio or consider your other debts before granting you a loan.

Do payday loans help your credit?

Probably not. Payday loans aren’t typically reported to the three major national credit reporting companies, so they’re unlikely to impact your credit scores. Unless you repay the loan on time and are referred to a debt collection agency: it will actually hurt your credit score.

The bottom line

Payday loans are almost always more expensive than personal loans when it comes to borrowing money, and are also riskier. If you are able to qualify for a personal loan, choosing this option will allow you to borrow more money, give you more time to pay it back, and charge you a lower interest rate. If you need emergency money, you must first apply for a personal loan.

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