Payday loans are a convenient and fast way to get access to small amounts of cash. Yes, the interest rates are higher than any other form of credit, sometimes being ten times as much as a credit card rate or even more. Still, because you’re borrowing for such a short period of time, it’s an acceptable fee.
There are times, however, when taking out a payday loan is just a bad idea. If you’re thinking about taking a payday loan and any of these conditions applies to you, think twice:
You won’t be able to pay it back right away. The point of a payday loan is that it’s a short-term loan. If you can’t pay it back on your next payday, you have a problem. You need to be able to pay it back right away in order to keep the fees from getting out of control. Otherwise, you wind up in the trap of having to take out a payday loan over and over again, racking up all sorts of fees in the process. Within just a few weeks, chances are pretty good you’re going to have paid in fees as much as the loan was to begin with.
You really can wait for the money. In some cases, people just get impatient. They want to buy something, and they want to buy it today. So, they take out a payday loan. This is also a bad idea. If you can afford it, and if you don’t need it to get through until payday, you don’t need it today. You’re better off waiting a week or two until you can afford it.
You have access to other forms of credit. Whether it’s a credit card or a personal loan or your savings account, you should exhaust other resources before turning to a payday loan.
You want to buy something on sale. The math just doesn’t work here. You’re almost always going to wind up paying more in fees than what you would have saved if you bought the sale item. Skip it for now. It’ll go on sale again.
You need to buy food or other essentials. If you’re in that dire of a situation, there are plenty of organizations that will help. From your state agencies to charitable groups, there are plenty of folks willing to lend you a hand without charging you huge amounts of interest.