Payday loans have sometimes gotten a bad rap in the media and from other sources. Far from being predatory sharks that prey upon the poor and misfortunate, they can actually provide a valuable service for those struggling to make ends meet. That being said, using them irresponsibly can lead to financial disaster. When used in a responsible fashion, small payday loans can be an invaluable lifeline to those in need. Here are five things to consider when applying for a small payday loan.
1. Are you using it for a genuine need or just something you want?
There is no doubt that payday loans can come with some hefty fees, so it’s important to use them responsibly. If you have a real and legitimate emergency, then taking out a small payday loan can actually help keep you financially stable. The ability to apply for small payday loans online makes them quick, easy and convenient to get – which is important when you have a legitimate emergency – but it also makes them easier to abuse as well.
2. Will it save you money?
Again, it’s always important to remember that there are fees associated with payday loans and, in some cases, even high-interest rates. If you pay your bills late, you can rack up a significant amount of late fees, so sometimes taking out a payday loan can cost you less than paying a bunch of late fees. If you have a genuine emergency that will cost you more to wait until payday to address than the fees attached to the payday loan, then taking out a short-term loan might be right for you. Otherwise, if it will cost less to wait until payday than the loan will cost you, it may be better to just wait until payday rather than taking out a loan. In general, payday loans should be considered a solution to only the most major emergencies.
3. Do you understand all of the terms and conditions?
Before you take out a payday loan, it is important to ensure you understand all of the terms and conditions associated with paying it back. Make sure you understand just how much you will have to pay back versus what you are borrowing and that there are no additional fees or penalties for paying the loan off early. Lenders are required to clearly lay out all of the terms and conditions, so be sure you read them carefully before accepting any money.
4. Are you sure you are getting the best terms?
The specific terms and conditions for small payday loans online will vary from lender to lender. There are a number of online marketplaces where you can apply for a loan once and have your information shopped around to a number of lenders. It is always best to consider a few different options before making a decision. In some cases, the terms and conditions offered to you will be based upon your individual credit score and information, while in other cases you may simply be offered a loan by a lender that offers the same terms and conditions to all applicants if they are approved. In most cases, the terms and conditions offered based on your specific information will be better than the “blanket” conditions offered by other lenders. Make sure you not only understand all of the terms and conditions but that you are also getting the best rates and lowest fees possible.
5. Are you sure you can pay the loan back?
When you use payday loans responsibly, they can provide a much-needed influx of cash in an emergency. If you can’t reasonably pay them back, however, they can actually make an already dire situation even worse. Payday loans can be very useful and important tools, but it cannot be stressed enough that they are not a quick fix for already poor financial habits. If you are already deeply in debt and barely making ends meet as it is, payday loans may not be the best solution to your financial problems. If you will eventually need to take out another loan to pay the first one back, it is not advisable to take one out in the first place.