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What Are Payday Loans?

Payday loans are notorious for creating more trouble than they are worth. Mounting repayment fees put borrowers further in consumer debt than when they started. So, what are payday loans? Let’s understand what they really are and how you can possibly avoid one when you are in search of debt relief. Our debt counselors also want you to know you have other options.

What are payday loans? A not-so-great way of getting cash.

What are payday loans? A dangerous way of getting cash.

What Are Payday Loans? How Do Payday Loans Work?

When you get a payday loan, you use your paycheck as security against the amount you borrow. The strength of your credit is irrelevant because the lender has the authority to take its payment from your bank account when you get your next paycheck. That’s how payday lenders minimize their risk. However, this seems like a dangerous option if you are cautious about managing debt.

How can they do this? When you’re approved for a payday loan, you give the lender a postdated check that it can deposit on your next payday. If you take an online loan, you authorize the company to take the funds from your bank account once you’re paid by your employer.

Payday loans are unsecured loans that usually come with a hefty APR. Typically, people are feeling desperate to take out payday loans. They may only need a few hundred dollars to get by until the next paycheck.

Alternatives to Payday Loans

You probably don’t like the sound of a payday loan, but may need a quick infusion of cash to get by. So here are a few alternatives to payday loans when you are in need of cash.

  1. Talk to your employer about a payday advance. This can be a much safer and cheaper option than going to a payday lending company. Go through HR and see what they can do for you.
  2. Create another income source by starting an Etsy account or selling your goods locally.
  3. Sell some of your valuables online through eBay. Or, score some sweet deals at thrift shops or yard sales and sell those items to make a profit.
  4. Take out a small personal loan. More debt may not seem like a good idea, but it may be the best option for your situation.
  5. Reach out to friends or family. Draw up a contract and repayment schedule to put everyone at ease.

Think through all your lending options and ways to make money before resorting to something like an unsecured payday loan. Consider outside help to get yourself on a more stable financial ground.

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today. 


Dilini is a Marketing Communications & Programs Associate at ACCC. To anyone, managing finances can be a real challenge! Any tips and tricks to help get through this are great! Dilini will share her experiences, tips, and tricks along the way through the Talking Cents blog. Stay tuned!

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