Payday loan companies, or cash advance lenders, are specialist lending organisations, who lend money to people who need relatively small amounts of cash very quickly and for short periods of time. The term payday loan comes from the fact that such loans are normally given on the condition that they are paid back immediately on the borrower's next payday.
These cash advance lenders specialise in helping people out when they find themselves unexpectedly short of cash, usually in unforeseen emergencies or when facing unexpected bills. The loan is literally just to tide them over until they next get paid. For this reason, the criteria for getting a payday loan are slightly different to most other longer term types of borrowing.
The most important thing the cash advance lender wants to know is that you have a job and a steady income. If you can prove that, then it usually does not matter if you have a bad credit record or even court judgements against you. Apart from this, most lenders will require you to be over 18 years of age and a citizen or resident of the country you are applying from. There are many online payday loan companies now, which have fast application processes that mean you do not need to fax through any documents or evidence.
Payday loans should not be seen as a solution to ongoing debt problems. The last thing you want is to get into a situation where you have to extend the lending term on a cash advance loan because you can't pay it back. Because payday loans are designed to be very short term, the charges and interest rates that apply if they are taken out for longer can be very heavy indeed. If you take out a payday loan and default on it, you will quickly see the charges building up and could soon find that the interest due is more than you originally borrowed. You should not take out a loan unless you are really sure you can pay it back on time.
When looking for a payday loan you should always look for recommendations and compare the charges that will be applied. In the US the charges are often dictated by the state in which you reside, so will vary depending where you live. Some states prohibit payday loans and all states that do permit them issue licenses, so always check that a payday lender is properly licensed for your state. A surprising number of companies operate illegitimately without licenses.
As payday loans or cash advances are usually only for a few days, the cost of borrowing is normally a fixed fee. It does not look like much money because the amounts being borrowed are quite small, but if you look at it as an annual Interest rate, you will see that it is huge compared to other loans or credit cards. Late payment penalties can be even worse. Payday loans are extremely useful and serve a real purpose, but only if you use them for what they were designed for - one-off emergencies, and always, always pay them back on the due date.
If you do have debt problems, then do not be tempted to take out a cash advance. It will not solve your problem and may well make it worse. The only long term solution to dealing with debt is to negotiate settlements with your creditors. The purpose of this is to agree to wipe out as much of the debt as possible, and set new repayment terms for the remainder. You can find free advice online telling you exactly how to do this.