Listed below are stories about real victims of payday lenders. Their stories are both compelling and sad, but more than anything, illustrate the debt trap caused by payday lenders.
Hi, I’m Arthur and I live in Sacramento, California. I just want to share my story here. As of now, I am currently trapped in multiple payday loans. I have been taking out payday loans before credit cards. I have been using the cash advances from my major credit cards to try and pay off my payday loans, but the cash advances were not large enough to consolidate all my payday loans. I have been using store cards like Target and Wal-mart to get by when I was trapped in the payday loan cycle.
I have been trying to get a personal loan to consolidate my payday loans, so I can pay down my credit cards and save. But I have been denied an unsecured personal loan from several banks and my credit union due to my credit score being too low, even though I am currently employed at two jobs and have never missed a payment with my credit card debt. However, if I were a college student with little or no credit history, then I know these same banks and credit unions are willing to take the risk.
I currently don't own a home or car to put up as collateral for a loan or line-of-credit; and I am also having trouble finding a co-signer with good credit. I have an excellent (possibly one negative payment due to a returned payment) with my credit cards, but are maxed out. I currently have two jobs. One job is an amusement ride park company that I have been working for over 7 years now, while the other job is a major grocery chain I have been working for 8 months now. The amusement ride park is closed for 1 to 2 months a year in early winter.
Before the job at the major grocery chain, Safeway, my payday loans snowballed into larger debt when I took out one payday loan to pay off the other in order to prevent my credit from being damaged, ruin my relationship with my family/and co-workers, or costing me my job during the period of temporary layoff at the amusement ride park. But the hourly job I have at the major grocery chain is steady.
If I ever get out from under the payday loan debt trap, then I would start saving a portion of my weekly or monthly for a rainy day fund, and be able to pay down my credit card debt faster. As of now, most of my credit cards are cut up but one, I am eating out less and getting food from my family and the homeless shelters. The main reason is that I eat out often, which is why I am over my head.
(Editor’s note – We referred Arthur to the Center for Responsible Lending in Sacramento, California for credit counseling.)
Hi, my name is Bob and I live in Center Ridge, Arkansas. I can vividly remember this true to life nightmare. There had been a death in the family and I was having trouble just paying the utilities. I saw a payday lending office and decided why not? I figured that if I could “catch up” the bills, then I could afford to pay off the payday loan about $10 dollars a month until it was paid.
I went in and needed to provide documents from my bank and my source of income. They required that you have no insufficient funds on your statement. So I got my first payday loan. As I signed the lengthy form, the clerk reminded me that I had to pay the full amount in 2 weeks. It was 3 more weeks to payday, and naively I agreed to this because I thought I could be resourceful with my money and make up the difference.
This was not the case. I pawned most of my belongings to make the difference and when I fell short, I had sought another payday lending company just to pay the first one off. So now I was in debt to two payday lending companies. I had a little money left after paying the bills, so I thought that things would settle down. Payday came around and now I was faced with two more large debts plus my regular monthly expenses.
Thus I became enslaved by these merciless businesses. This continued for many years until I was spending most of the month dealing with over 12 payday lending companies. One would go to pay the other. Some of the debts were big amounts, others were less. I traveled from Knoxville to Russellville to Morrilton to Conway to Batesville to Clinton to Hot Springs to Heber Springs to Searcy every month for years, along with the same group of customers I would see at these stores who were caught in this same debt cycle as I was every month. I finally asked my sister to loan me $3,200.00 to pay these people off.
Now I have my dignity back, but this nightmare continues for many others. The moral of this story is to WARN YOUNG AND OLD ALIKE…do not patronize these businesses, you will be physically, mentally, spiritually challenged and defeated by these businesses.
BEWARE…remember the story about Adam and Eve and the snake (check cashers)…
My name is Brandi and I live in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. My family was going through a transition and fell into a financial bind. My husband and I decided to get a payday loan in the amount of $300.
We didn’t want to carry out the payments of $68.00 they set for us because we would’ve repaid a little over $800 for a $300 loan, so my husband made bi-weekly payments in the amount $100 directly [in store] to the company. A balance of $180 was paid in full on the 6th week of payments.
The company started saying that we still owed money to them (another $300) as if they hadn’t received any payment(s) from us even though receipts of such had been provided. They started making attempts to draft the money out of our account until an attorney became involved.
I wouldn’t recommend pay day lending to anyone because it is indeed a trap. The interest rates are outrageous. Even for those of us who got the loan, repaid the money as scheduled… it’s still a trap because the company will only swear they never received funds in an attempt to continue draining your families finances for as long as they want!
I would recommend trying any other method of loans aside from payday lending because it can become a never ending process of trickery and deceit.
My name is Charles and I live in Jonesboro, Arkansas. I would like to have my money back, if possible, that I spent with the payday lender Cash Today in Jonesboro.
"My name is Chris and I live in Arkansas. One evening my ex-wife called me and advised that a
My name is Cindy, I live in Memphis, Tennessee and I would like to share my story with the high hope that it will give insight, advice and alleviate the crippling fears that victims of the Internet Based Payday Loan trap face day and night.
I am 34 and a single mom who lives in north Arkansas and is well educated. These loans don’t only pray on the uneducated like some seem to think!
My story starts with a lot of medical bills and flat tires and a water heater that went out. It became hard for me to balance everything and I thought that a payday loan would get me by until.... RIGHT!!!
It just stirred up more problems and made me very nervous. Once I got one loan it was not long before I needed another loan to try to cover on the first loan, then a third.
Then I found the website for Arkansans Against Abusive Payday (AAAPL). They helped me get in touch with the state and so far two of the loans are no more, they were marked “Paid in Full.” Contacting AAAPL is worth the time and is free. They will give you really good advice! Listen to them!!!
My name is Eric and I live in Conway, Arkansas. Our family had a financial emergency. We were in need of money fast, so my wife got a payday loan over the internet for $300.
After we received it, 2 weeks later the first payment was withdrawn automatically from our checking account. Within two and a half months the loan was repaid plus interest, but the payday loan company continued to withdraw money from our checking account.
They wouldn’t stop taking payments on their end even after I asked them to stop. So I had to do a stop payment at my bank. However even after I did the stop payment, they withdrew money from my checking account by making the amount they were withdrawing 2 cents less than the stop payment amount which was a red flag there.
So on a $300 loan; we have over paid nearly $250 in interest. What a rip-off!
My name is Glenda. I live in North Little Rock, and I am a victim of payday lending. Abusive payday lenders trapped me in a cycle of debt and harassed me when I was unable to pay. If this happened to me, this could happen to you, your family member or someone you know. So, I would like to share my story.
My husband had to retire on disability from his job because of an injury. His salary was cut by more than half. We still had the same bills so I borrowed $500 from a payday lender to help make ends meet. Instead of solving my problem, it was the beginning of a nightmare. I only received $462.00 because $83.16 was for interest on the loan to be paid back in two weeks. When I was unable to pay this back on time, I had to go to another payday lender to get a loan to pay the first payday lender back and this in turn starts the cycle of debt.
When it became impossible to make timely payments, harassment and scare tactics began. Payday lenders call you at your job, call and send letters to your home, or call your boss and put your job at risk. The payday lender issued a credit card to me without my knowledge or consent. The only way I found this out was my husband and I refinanced our home and discovered the past due credit card account on my credit report.
Some payday lenders use very abusive collection methods. Borrowers usually give the payday lender a check as security for the loan. Payday lenders can then threaten to turn your check over for collection. They attempted to cash mine three or four times causing $30 bank overdraft charges each time on top of the $25.00 the payday lender charged me for an insufficient check.
My experience with payday lenders had me feeling afraid and humiliated. I personally cannot have my name on our checking account or bank cards because of being afraid they will continue trying to run these checks through. My husband has to handle all the bills and business.
The 1999 Check Cashiers Act protects some payday lenders who charge “fees” which amount to more interest than the Arkansas Constitution allows (17%). I would like lawmakers to protect vulnerable consumers like me by enforcing the state Constitution’s limit of 17 percent.
Hello, my name is Glenn. I live in Colorado and saw the information on your web site about Alternatives to Payday Loans and your section to help victims. The information was very helpful, I just wish I had seen it before I got into this trap called ‘payday lending.’
I'm in debt to 12 payday loan establishments. One is over the internet and 11 are stores here in Colorado. I paid the rollover fees until I was no longer able to do so. I closed my bank account so that each check would not bounce. I am now being accused of writing checks on a closed account.
I'm on Social Security disability, and have no way of even making payment plans. I'm extremely terrified because I know that I won't survive in prison. My only option is to be homeless while I pay one loan at a time in full for the next 12 months. I'm not a criminal, and never intended to defraud these establishments.
I got myself into this mess, and have no idea what to do. Thank you so much for listening.
(Editor’s note – we referred Glenn to the Colorado Attorney General’s office.)
My name is Hattie, and I am a victim and survivor of abusive payday lending practices. I am a resident of Little Rock, but I am from Arkadelphia. For many years, I was an employee of UAMS.
The situation was a downright nightmare. I was both stressed and depressed as I tried desperately to find a way out of the situation. I could not allow the payday lender to send that check that I had given to the lender to my bank, because I did not have sufficient funds to cover it.
My name is Hazel and I am presently a resident of North Little Rock. At the time I got involved with Payday Lenders, I lived in Jacksonville. I am telling my story to help educate other citizens as to the debt trap you can find yourself in after getting a payday loan. I also want to help others better understand just what happens with these lenders. Hopefully others won’t fall prey to their lending practices.
I had been temporarily laid off my part-time job which was to pay the expenses for two major events I needed to attend. One was a family reunion of an entire new family I did not know and that I had and had never met. The other was my 40th year high school class reunion of which I had earned the title of “Queen.”
I needed approximately $500.00 to attend both events (registration fees, transportation, lodging, etc.). I had been told I would be going back to work the first of the month so I thought once I went back to work, I could repay the loan. I was eligible to borrow $300.00 from First American Cash Advance in Jacksonville. The check was written for $300.00, but I actually received less. I think it was about $260.00 that I actually received.
When I didn’t get back to work as scheduled, I was unable to repay to loan on time. They began harassing me by phone with very intimidating threats about putting me in jail. They began terrorizing me by visits to my home and my neighbor; calls were made to my 84-year old mother and my brother. I’d never had anyone to try to collect a debt in that manner before.
My social security was direct deposited and they would go to my bank as soon as it opened, which was long before the close of business deadline for me to pay my loan. They should have allowed me to present my check for payment. Because they took money from my checking account at the bank that caused my rent and living expenses to run short.
This caused me to have to run and get another payday loan from another store for payment causing my rent and living expenses to run short. Which, in turn, caused me to have to run and get another loan someplace else in order to pay my living expenses? I didn’t get back to work when I expected so I was in this vicious cycle of trying to pay them and then remake the loan in order to keep my expenses paid.
I was stressed beyond my limit. I could not reason with them so that’s when I contact Mr. Todd Turner, a consumer protection attorney for advice and assistance. I discontinued my direct deposit, and changed my phone number. They would then re-deposit the check over and over again causing astronomical bank fees. They later began sending out credit card applications urging me to accept the card so they could charge the check amount to the credit card.
I was terrified. I began spending the night with friends whenever I got a call from them because I didn’t know what they were going to do. It was very humiliating and degrading. I hope my children and grandchild never get mixed up with these people.
I pray that our lawmakers will change the Check Cashers Act that allows payday lenders to charge more interest for loans than the Constitution allows (17%) and keep these predators from preying on the citizens of Arkansas with their unfair practices.
My name is Katie and I live in Monticello, Arkansas. I am currently in the process of breaking free from the payday loan cycle. I have been using payday lenders for approximately 10 years. When it first started, it was to take care of an immediate emergency, but over time, these loans became like another paycheck that I had to have to pay my bills, but because of the fees I then had nothing left over.
My name is Keacha and I live in North Little Rock, Arkansas. I would like to share my story of being a victim of payday lending and the aftermath. It started with a cut in my husband’s pay and an increase in bills. I got a payday loan for about $200, but with fees included I found it difficult to pay back the full amount on my next payday. So the payday lender explained to me that if I just paid the fee, it’ll roll over to my next payday. This went on for a while until I needed more money to make up for the fees I had been paying to the payday lender.
My name is Larry, I live in Arkansas and I am disabled and on Social Security. I had a heart bypass on 7 arteries. I was so in debt medically I needed money for medicines. I had no family to go to so I went to the internet to get a quick cash loan for $500.
They approved it in an hour even though my credit was awful and I was on Social Security. They transferred the money into my bank account and I paid for a while but I could not afford to after a while because the interest was over 300% of the loan. I stopped the direct deposit to my bank and had to change to another bank.
Now 3 years later someone has bought the loan from the lender and is calling me threatening to prosecute me for fraud if I don't pay them over $3000. This is not helping my heart condition.
(Editor’s note – We referred Larry to the Arkansas Attorney General’s office for free assistance
Hello, my name is Leiah and I live in Little Rock, AR. I needed money and I needed it fast, I was desperate. It was the holidays and I had more bills than money, it was at this time, I recalled emails that were often sent to me, usually entitled, “Do You Need Money.” I did a search online and found so many companies that would give money overnight it was alarming – so I took out my first small $250.00 Internet payday loan.
After that I had people calling me (they do still to this day) practically begging me to take the loan and where I did not qualify, they would “work around” that issue so that I could get the money, even if it meant them telling lies. Before I realized, I had went from obtaining one small $250.00 dollar loan to have five and six loans at one time, two of my $300.00 loans cost me $90.00 every two weeks. I was now in financial crisis.
I was embarrassed, and I felt as if I was drowning. It was so depressing to receive my paycheck and it only place my account back in the negative; thus leading to me get another loan just to make it to the next pay period. I was lost; until I ran across this website, which saved me – www.StopPaydayPredators.org
I received immediate help; I was put into contact with state officials who were on my side, who were actively trying to help Arkansans. I realized that I was a victim and there was help, I no longer had to be helpless; and furthermore, I realized that I was not alone.
After filing my complaints with the Attorney General’s office and closing my bank accounts, I received immediate relief. I feel empowered, because I now know my rights. I cannot thank AAAPL enough for saving me from payday lending! If you have a loan with a payday lender, no matter how big or small, you are not alone, the days of you paying 5x your debt are now over, we are protected. Do not take being a VICTIM any longer, reclaim your life and your finances and contact AAAPL (Arkansans Against Abusive Payday Lending) - I did and it was the BEST email I ever sent!
My name is Mary and I live in Lamar, Arkansas. My family fell into a financial bind and I decided to get a payday loan in the amount of $300. I ended up paying a total of $500.
(Editor’s note – We referred Mary to the Arkansas Attorney General’s office for free assistance)
My name is Tim and we live in Little Rock. We were running behind with a few bills and my parents who are on a fixed income needed some financial help. I really didn't know where or who to turn to for help so I applied and received a $300 payday loan over the internet. My intention was to pay it off on my next payday but instead only the fee of $90 was drafted from my account. By the middle of September I had paid them back $450 in fees alone.
Our finances were getting very tight as we had accumulated numerous medical bills. So I contacted the lender to see if an arrangement could be made to either reduce the amount I owed or even declare the loan paid in full since I had already paid them back more than I had borrowed. But they refused to work out any kind of an arrangement with me. I had enough by then and I was not going to allow them to have access to my checking account. So I closed my bank account and opened a new one. This was very hard to do because we have had that account for almost 20 years, but it was the only thing I could do to prevent them from taking more of our money.
Shortly after I closed my account, I filed a complaint with the Arkansas Attorney General's Office. They were very helpful and encouraging. They attempted to contact this lender and as of today the lender has not responded to the AG's inquiry. I also did some research on this "lender" and found out that they are a part of a much bigger operation. I believe that they are headquartered in the Bahamas. They did have a mailing address somewhere in Utah but after tracking that down and speaking with a banking official in Utah, I learned that it was just a mail box for receiving mail and that they were not licensed in the state of Utah, let alone the state of Arkansas.
Now after a few months have passed, I've started receiving e-mails from them offering me a one-time settlement of 70% of the balance they say I owe of $495 and that they are there to "help" me. But for a one time offer, I seem to receive that e-mail about two to three times a week. It's almost comical. But now I'm starting to receive phone calls at work. I do have caller ID so I don't answer any number I don't recognize, so I just let it roll over to my voice mail. That was okay for the first time, but now they are calling our receptionist to get through to me.
On two occasions I notified them that I was not to be contacted by either e-mail or phone at my place of business and each time they have ignored my warning. I told them in my last e-mail that they would not receive another payment from me. Then just this morning I received another e-mail from them at work (after I told them not to contact me). This time they were offering me a payoff of two payments of $170 due on 12-1 and 12-15 and the only payment method is Visa or MasterCard debit/credit card. These people must think I'm stupid to give them that information let alone pay them a total of $340 on a $300 loan of which I have already paid them $450!
According to the Attorney General's office, the loan is illegal and in violation of Arkansas law. They also told me that it is highly unlikely that they will attempt any kind of legal action against me. These "businesses" are sharks that prey on people in their times of need and need to be shut down. I never should have tried to get a payday loan especially one over the internet in the first place. I encourage everyone who reads this to never under ANY circumstance take out a loan from any Payday lender, especially one over the internet.