Read our guide to find out more about the pros and cons of payday loans, and if it's the right choice for you.
Payday loans have become an increasingly popular option to cover unexpected costs, make urgent payments and tide borrowers over in the short term. While they are convenient, taking out a short-term loan might not always be an ideal solution, depending on your personal circumstances.
What is a payday loan?
Payday loans are a form of short-term loan designed to be repaid in under a month – or when the borrower is next paid. They can help deal with bills and other sudden expenses that may crop up if wages don’t stretch to an urgent payout. The money is paid directly into the borrower’s bank account to be spent as needed and is then repaid in the following weeks, rather than months or years, with interest.
What are the advantages of a payday loan?
There are advantages to payday loans, in terms of the quick and convenient access they offer. Payday loans are fast – within minutes of applying online, the money lands in your bank account. This is beneficial to those who find themselves in a tight situation and need to make an urgent payment.
There is also a wide variety of loan products available to borrowers. New FCA regulations offer better protection to consumers. Those regulations require that the cost of payday loans is capped by law - limiting the amount of fees and interest which can be charged.
What are the disadvantages of a payday loan?
The obvious drawback of any payday loan is that they can be incredibly expensive to pay off. Borrowers may end up paying more back than they would on other types of loan.
Another risk of short-term borrowing is the way it may impact your finances from one month to the next. Some loans offer a period of up to three months’ repayment, but others may require repayment in full the next time you receive your wages. These time constraints can be difficult on borrowers, as planning other monthly expenses around loan repayments could prove tricky.
Another reason why this type of loan could be considered a bad choice for some is CPA (Continuous Payment Authority). Many short-term lenders ask customers for CPA before approving a loan. This means that the lender has access to take payments from your bank account – whether the money is there or not.
This can lead to additional bank charges that the borrower had not planned for, and may worsen their situation.
Should I get a payday loan?
Whether you should apply for a payday loan very much depends on your financial situation. If you are a few days from your next wage and get hit with an unexpected bill – one that you know won’t affect you at a high rate when repaying - it may be a reasonable solution.
However, although they’re becoming an increasingly popular choice for people dealing with unplanned bills, they can end up more expensive in the long run, meaning they might not always be the best choice. Before you take out any type of loan you need to be sure you can afford to make the repayment in full when it’s due.
There are different loan options available for those with bad credit that tend to offer longer repayment periods, without the high charges of admin fees. You might be better off using a credit card or an authorised overdraft where possible.
Those who are struggling with their finances can seek free help and advice from organisations such as Step Change. This organisation offers its services to assist you through your financial situation, providing advice on how to take control of your debts and how to create a personal budget.
If you do decide to apply for a payday loan, it’s important to consider the following:
- Make sure you only borrow an amount that you need. While the maximum sum the lender can offer may seem appealing, if you don’t need it then it’s not worth it in the long run.
- Take time to shop around and work out if it’s right for you. All lenders will offer different cost charges and product features on their repayment plan, and one will be more beneficial for your circumstances than another.
- Pick your lender carefully. While most adhere to the regulations set by the FCA, some have unfortunately not yet followed suit. You’ll be able to find out if a lender is FCA-regulated by taking a quick scan of their website.
Find out more about the choice of lenders to choose from, and discover our inside knowledge on all things loans.