A Tutorial on the Economics of Payday Lending: Loan Sharking or Risky Lending
20 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2017 Last revised: 12 Apr 2017
Date Written: April 4, 2017
The typical payday loan is for less than $500, has a maturity of two weeks, is secured by the borrower’s post-dated check or debit authorization, and carries a compound annual rate of interest that can easily exceed 10,000 percent. If you imagined the terms of illegal loan sharking you may not envision rates this high, and these loans are legal in 35 states!
The objective of this brief tutorial is to describe the little understood world of payday lending. Specifically, we explain the nature of payday lending, reveal the true cost of payday loans from the borrowers perspective and contrast this with the expected return the lender anticipates given the very high default rates on this type of loan, provide context regarding the significance of payday loans as a source of financing for individuals, and describe the public policy issues surrounding their use.
Keywords: Payday Loans, Non-Bank Consumer Finance
JEL Classification: D14, G23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation