Four actions that can break the payday loan cycle
1. Attack high-interest debt first
If your debt is spread across multiple accounts, write down what you owe and focus on the ones with the highest interest. Your payday loans will probably be at the top of the list. Now that you know which debt is costing you the most, you can put more money into paying it off first.
2. Ask about an Extended Payment Plan
Many payday loan lenders belong to the Community Financial Services Association of America (CFSA), and allow borrowers to enter into an Extended Payment Plan (EPP). Under this plan, you get more time to repay your loan without being subject to additional fees or interest.
So find out if your lender is a member of the CFSA, and if you need it, apply for the Extended Plan by contacting them.
3. Seek credit counseling
If a Repayment Plan is not available to you, you may want to seek help from a credit counseling agency such as BALANCE. A professional counselor can offer suggestions and strategies on how to best attack your payday loans and other debt. But be careful of scams. Never pay high fees to an agency that makes too-good-to-be-true offers.
4. Explore other payback options
Finally, you can try paying off your debt by applying for another low-interest loan. Of course, this is a last resort since, while you’re eliminating one loan, you’re adding another.
But trading loans isn’t always a bad solution. Certain credit unions offer payday alternative loans (or PALs), which are less expensive and give you a longer repayment period. You can also ask your family or friends for help, or perhaps turn to your church or religious community.
If you find yourself taking out one payday loan after another, it’s time to break the cycle. Otherwise you may be stuck paying them off for a very long time.
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