Brainy Loans

Exploring payday loans and safer alternatives

Brainy Loans

What is a payday loan?

Payday loans are short-term loans that are typically due on the next payday. They are designed to be repaid within a few weeks, usually on the borrower’s next payday. The most common use for these types of loans is to cover unexpected expenses such as bills.

These loans range from a few hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars. In most cases, lenders will base the amount a borrower can receive on a percentage of their income and credit history. To get approved for the loan, borrowers will be required to provide proof of income.

Payday loans usually have high fees and interest rates compared to traditional loans, stretching up to 400% APR (Annual Percentage Rate). This makes payday loans risky for consumers, causing them to end up in a cycle of debt where they keep taking out payday loans to pay off existing ones.

This can lead to financial hardship, stress, and in some cases, bankruptcy. On the other hand, most traditional loans are usually regulated and typically will not exceed more than 36%. Before applying for a payday loan, borrowers should weigh their options and consider other alternatives before taking out the loan.

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Why are payday loans so popular?

Payday loans are popular because they provide an easy way for borrowers to get approved for a loan. Usually, borrowers are able to get approved without providing a lot of paperwork or even a high credit score.

Typically, borrowers looking into payday loans are in a tough situation with unexpected expenses and need money to cover their costs. Payday lenders advertise their loans as a fast solution to financial challenges, making them appealing to borrowers in tough situations.

A simple approval process makes them more appealing to people in need because traditional banks or lenders have a stricter qualification process. On the other hand, payday loans usually require proof of income and identification, making it easy for borrowers to get approved.

Although payday loans may seem like a fast solution to financial problems, it is important to remember that this type of loan can be a risky form of borrowing and will have high fees associated with it. This can lead borrowers to be stuck in a cycle of debt and make their situation more difficult.

Before applying for any loan, be sure to consider all other alternatives that might be cheaper in the long run, and always try to use payday loans as a last resort.

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Better options instead of payday loans

If you end up in a need of money there are a few options you should consider before settling for a payday loan. Switching loan options can help you not only save money on your loan but not to fall into a debt circle trapping your finances. Here are the top options to consider before getting a payday loan:

Borrowing: This might not be the most ideal situation, but borrowing from a friend or family member can really help you out. This would be considered the most ideal way to deal with debt because most family members would love to help you get out of your situation. Typically borrowing from close ones will come without any interest meaning this will be the cheapest loan you can receive. 

Asking community: There are many Emergency financial assistance programs that were designed to help anyone who is facing financial hardship. The programs will be offered by community organizations and nonprofits. These programs are able to offer assistance for groceries, rent, utility, cash grants, and much other support to help individuals with their hardships. 

Negotiating: Many people don’t know this but a lot of companies are willing to help out individuals. If your facing financial hardship and are not able to cover some of your expenses you can reach out to the companies to which you own money too. By reaching out to the companies you’re able to negotiate a better price for your services to help you pay or you’re able to ask for some extra time to help you cover your bills. 

 401k Loans: Even though you might not know this but many individuals have some kind of a retirement plan helping them save for their future. If you are one of many individuals with a 401k you are able to take out a loan against it which will usually come with lower interest rates and more flexible terms. 

Cash Advance: Having a credit card can help you access the cash advance feature, which you are able to use to withdraw some cash at an atm. Usually, cash advance options will have fees associated with the process but in most cases, they will be a cheaper option than getting a payday loan. 

Payday Alternative loans (PAL): This loan type is not as common but there are credit unions that will have PAL loans available to their borrowers. PAL loans are usually designed as a better option to payday loans typically offered at longer terms and better rates than payday loans. This could be a great option for receiving the cash you might need at a cheaper cost. 

Personal Loans: Personal Loans are designed to be used for anything from car purchases and all the way to pay for vacations. These types of loans are designed to be used to pay for unexpected expenses and often come with much more affordable rates. You are able to get a personal loan for amounts up to $50,000 from many lenders giving you enough funds to cover unexpected events. Usually, personal loans will be a better option than payday loans, but in most cases, there is a more stricter approval process.

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Payday Loan Fees VS Other options

Payday loans are super expensive and should be your last option when it comes to getting a loan. These types of loans can be up to 400% APR and come with many random fees making it one of the most expensive loan options. Here is a visual representation of how payday loans compare to other loans:

Loan Type





PayDay Loan

Up to 400% APR


2-4 Weeks

Bank account & Proof of income

Cash Advance

Up to 25% APR



Credit card account. 

Personal Loans

3%-36% APR


1-7 Years

Credit check, proof of income, higher credit score. 

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