According to the Pew Charitable Trusts' Safe Small-Dollar Loans Research Project, which was done in 2012, the average payday loan in the United States is for $375 at an annual interest rate of 391 percent. This means that if a payday loan was not paid at all for a year, then the amount owed would nearly quadruple.
For example, if you took out an average loan of $375 at the average interest rate of 391 percent and you did not make any payments for one year, you would owe $1,466. After two years, you would owe $5,733.
In five years, you would owe $342,700. The average new mortgage in the United States in 2012 was $235,000.
In six years, you would owe almost $1.4 million. Remember, this started out as just a $375 debt.
In 10 years, you would owe over $313 million. If you took up a collection of $1 from every citizen in the United States, you would have just enough to cover your debt.
In 18 years, you would owe $17.1 trillion. The Unite States national debt in March 2013 was $16.7 trillion, so you would owe more than the whole United States.
Now, these are extreme cases. Rarely does it take someone more than a year to pay off a payday loan. These loans are designed to be short-term solutions, so the annual percentage rates aren't a truly fair comparison.
In fact, borrowers aren't really not paying the loan, but they are taking out a new loan every two weeks to a month to pay off the previous loan, but it amounts to the same thing.
Hopefully, these extreme numbers will serve as motivation to pay off any short-term loan debt before it gets out of hand. You don't want to be forced to go into bankruptcy or worse because your loan debt got out of hand.
These numbers also should serve as a warning to anyone considering taking out a payday loan. Is the loan truly necessary? Have you explored all your options?
If you have taken out a payday loan, make sure you are doing all you can to pay it off on time. This means exploring how you can bring in extra income or cut back on your expenses so you can save up enough money to pay it off.
For extra income, you might consider going to a temp agency to work some temporary jobs in your spare time. You might even want to get a part-time permanent job so that you can start to pay down your debt or start saving up for emergencies once you have paid off the payday advance so you can avoid another one in the future.
If you can't take on another job, then look at what you spend your money on and look for things you pay for but don't use, such as cell phone minutes or a gym membership. If that's not enough, look for things that aren't really necessary that you can eliminate or go to a cheaper package, such as satellite or cable television.
You'll be glad you made the necessary sacrifices when you have your payday loan paid off.