Is a payday loan variable or fixed rate

By Izzy M
Modified on July 9, 2024
are payday loans variable or fixed

Payday loans are a common type of short-term loan for individuals with poor credit in need of some quick emergency funding. They have notoriously high-interest rates, which make them costly. 

The name stems from the idea that they are a loan you take out when you need to cover bills before your next payday. However, the short-term nature of these loans paired with the high-interest rates can make them incredibly difficult to pay off before your next payday, resulting in extensive fees. 

The last thing you want to do is inadvertently find yourself in a never-ending debt trap. Understanding the mechanics of payday loans can be exceedingly helpful in determining if they are the right move for you. 

We will explain the basics about whether a payday loan is variable or fixed rate and what other solutions might be available to you when you are in a financial pinch. 

Are Payday Loans Variable or Fixed Rate?

So, are payday loans fixed or variable rate? They are intended to be repaid in one lump sum payment when you get your next paycheck. Because of this, payday loans usually have a fixed rate. Many payday lenders generally don’t even talk about interest charges in terms of a rate but rather as a flat fee since they are intended to be paid off in one payment. 

What Are Payday Loans?

A payday loan is a short-term loan that is aptly named as they are meant to be repaid in one lump sum payment at your next payday. They are incredibly high-interest personal loans that are only meant to hold you over on expenses until you get paid next. 

Easy payday loans are still popular despite the high-interest rates because they provide funding very quickly and have lower qualification requirements. Lenders generally direct deposit the loan amount into the borrower’s bank account after approval since it is meant to act as a cash advance on your paycheck. 

Borrowers often turn to these loans when they don’t have a credit rating or credit history good enough to qualify for another kind of personal loan. Rather than relying heavily on a credit check, many payday lenders use proof of income like pay stubs to determine approval and the loan amount. 

Payday loans tend to be options that you want to avoid unless they are necessary because of the extremely high-interest rates. 

The Difference Between Fixed and Variable Interest

The difference between a fixed or variable interest rate is whether the rate of interest on your loan changes or stays the same as it progresses.

Fixed Interest Rates

Fixed-rate loans have a static interest rate that does not change over the life of the loan. The benefit of these loans is that you can easily calculate how much you are required to pay in interest at the start. 

You are less likely to see your monthly payments change significantly from month to month with fixed-rate loans, making them easier to budget. Common types of fixed-rate loans include auto loans and traditional mortgages. 

Variable Interest Rates

Variable-rate loans have an interest rate that changes as the index rate changes. An indexed rate is an interest rate connected to a specific benchmark that will move up and down based on current market conditions. 

These types of loans can become more costly or less costly month to month through the life of the loan, depending on market conditions. The longer the terms of variable rate loans, the more risk you take of a higher interest rate.

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Fast Facts About Payday Loans

Suppose you are considering a payday loan to cover your utility bills or some other kind of expense. In that case, we have a few further facts about payday loans for you to review before deciding how you would like to proceed. 

Are Payday Loans Secured or Unsecured? 

A majority of payday loans are unsecured. Unsecured debt does not require borrowers to provide the lender with any kind of collateral to secure the loan. The average interest rate for Unsecured debt is higher because of the increased risk without collateral, especially when it comes to subprime. 

To ensure borrowers repay the  loan debt, payday lenders may ask for authorization to electronically withdraw money from the borrower’s bank account or credit union account at the time the loan is due. As another option, a lender might ask you to write a post-dated check to be cashed during the repayment period.

You Can Get a Payday Loan Without a Bank Account

Payday lenders do not always require that you have a bank account to qualify for a payday loan. However, it is important to note that the lenders that don’t require borrowers to have a bank account most often charge significantly higher interest rates.

This type of payday loan, while more convenient for some people, might be too difficult to repay on time and might not be worth what it will cost you. It’s best to avoid them unless you are sure you can afford the loan rates and finance charges. 

Payday Loans Are Heavily Regulated

The average payday loan has an annual percentage rate (APR) of nearly 400%, with some loans fixed at a 780% APR. Many payday lenders have been rightfully accused of predatory lending practices because of these high rates with unreasonable repayment schedules.

Payday loans are regulated state by state, with 16 states outlawing them all together to protect borrowers. A majority of states have interest rate caps, but payday lending often falls under certain exceptions which allow lenders to charge higher loan rates. 

The loan amount on a payday loan is usually anywhere between $100 and $1,000. Lenders are also required by federal law to disclose any finance charges and if they have an origination fee. 

Payday Loan Alternatives

Even when circumstances seem as dire as they can be, there might still be options that you hadn’t previously considered. 

Turn to a Friend or Family Member

We all have people in our lives who would be willing to help us out during a tough time, even if we aren’t aware of it. It is often not advisable to mix money and family or money and friendship, but there are always exceptions. Consider asking someone close to you, a family member or close friend, to borrow money temporarily. You might be surprised at their willingness to help. 

Asking to borrow money from someone in your life might be difficult, but it could save you a significant amount of money on interest and prevent your credit rating from being impacted by a loan you can’t afford.

Credit Card Cash Advance

Even though a credit card cash advance can have a costly interest rate as well, it might be a better option for quick cash, depending on your credit card company. A cash advance on a credit card works somewhat similarly to an online payday loan in that you may still need to repay the amount borrowed in one lump sum. But they might pose less of a risk to you since you already have a financial history with the company.

Cut Expenses

Are there perhaps some online subscriptions or streaming services you’ve completely forgotten you were paying monthly? Check your bank account statement just in case. Cutting unnecessary expenses could suddenly make those bills you thought you needed a payday loan for affordable. 

Bring in Supplemental Income

Of course, getting a side hustle won’t bring you the money you need to cover some immediate bills as quickly as a payday loan, but there are faster ways to bring in some extra income. You could sell some lightly used clothes that you don’t wear anymore online. 

Some online marketplaces make it incredibly easy to make a quick buck. You can do the same with the furniture just sitting and gathering dust in storage. You’d be surprised how quickly you can scrounge a couple of hundred dollars from unused valuables.

Personal Installment Loans

Personal loans from credit unions or local banks could get you funding with more generous repayment terms. An installment loan allows you to repay the balance in multiple payments rather than one. 

If you are concerned that a bad credit report will make it difficult for you to get an installment loan, do some shopping around first, as there are usually exceptions. There are personal loans for people with bad credit that can be found online, which might offer a deal far less costly than payday loans.

Always do your research so that you can feel confident that you are making the best move for your overall financial well-being. 

Installment Loans vs. Payday Loans: Know Before You Owe | Riser Credit
Are Payday Loans Fixed or Variable? (What You Need to Know) | Debt Hammer
How Payday Loans Work: Interest Rates, Fees and Costs |
How Personal Loans Differ From Payday Loans | MyBankTracker

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