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93% of payday loan borrowers regret taking their loan, survey finds

Payday loans can be a debt trap for borrowers who cannot afford to make payments. Here’s how you can pay off your payday loan balance before it’s sent to debt collectors. (iStock)

Payday lenders prey on borrowers with bad credit who desperately need money, trapping them in a cycle of high-interest, hard-to-pay debt.

The vast majority (93%) of borrowers regret taking out their personal loan, according to a new survey from DebtHammer. Only 1% of respondents said their financial situation improved after taking out a payday loan, while 84% said it got worse.

Payday loans allow consumers to borrow small, short-term cash loans without a credit check. But the typical repayment term is only two weeks, leading 4 out of 5 borrowers to take out a new personal loan to pay off their current debt, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) reported.

It is possible to get out of payday loan debt without renewing your loan and incurring additional fees. Keep reading to learn how to break the cycle of payday borrowing, like consolidating debt with a personal loan. You can compare debt consolidation loan rates on Credible for free without impacting your credit score.

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3 ways to get out of a personal loan

The average cost of a payday loan equates to an annual percentage rate (APR) of almost 400% – in other words, borrowers who keep renewing their payday loans could pay 4 times the amount they originally borrowed over the course of a year.

Payday lenders may trick you into thinking that renewing your loan is the only way to pay off your debt, but that’s not the case. Here are some alternative ways to break the payday loan cycle:

  1. Debt consolidation loans
  2. Extended payment plans
  3. credit counseling

Learn about each repayment plan in the sections below.

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1. Debt consolidation loans

Personal loans are lump-sum loans that are commonly used to consolidate higher interest rate debt, such as payday loans. They come with fixed interest rates and repayment terms, which means your monthly payments will be the same while you pay down your debt.

These debt consolidation loans are usually unsecured, meaning you don’t have to provide any assets as collateral. Because they are unsecured, lenders determine your interest rate and eligibility based on your credit score and debt-to-equity ratio.

Well-qualified borrowers can benefit from a low rate on a personal loan for debt consolidation. Personal loan rates are near all-time lows, according to the Federal Reserve, with an average of 9.39% in the third quarter of 2021.

Some credit unions also offer small Alternative Payday Loans (PALs), which allow members to borrow up to $2,000 with an interest rate capped at 28%. However, these loans can be difficult to find because only a small portion of credit unions offer PALs.

You can see if you qualify for a debt consolidation loan on Credible with an indirect credit check, which won’t affect your credit score. Use a personal loan calculator to estimate your monthly payments to see if this option can help you get out of payday loan debt.

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2. Extended Payment Plans

An Extended Payment Plan (EPP) allows payday loan borrowers to pay off their debt over a longer period than the typical two-week repayment term. Many states require payday lenders to offer PPE, so you’ll need to research your state’s laws to see if you qualify.

Some payday lenders may offer EPRs whether or not they are required by law to do so. The lenders belonging to the Community Financial Services Association of America (CFSA) are required to offer EPPs to borrowers, but other financial institutions may not offer this option.

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3. Credit counseling

Non-profit credit counseling agencies offer free or low-cost services to borrowers who are struggling to manage their debt. One such service includes enrolling payday loan borrowers in a debt management plan (DMP).

As part of a DMP, a credit counselor will help you create a debt repayment budget and schedule. Credit counselors may be able to help you negotiate with payday lenders to lock in a lower interest rate or reduce the loan amount.

You can see a complete list of certified non-profit credit counselors on the justice department website. If you still have questions about payday loan debt relief, learn more about debt consolidation by contacting a knowledgeable loan officer on Credible.

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