Payday loans have become an increasingly common financial tool for many individuals in recent years. These short-term loans are designed to help people bridge the gap between paychecks, but they have high interest rates and fees. Despite the drawbacks, millions of Americans turn to payday loans each year when they need quick cash. The following blog post answers the question of why people use payday loans. It gives a quick overview of how payday loans work.


  • Payday loans are short-term loans designed to provide quick access to cash.
  • They are easily accessible with minimal paperwork and an approval process.
  • Payday loans offer convenience and speed, especially for unexpected expenses or emergencies.
  • Individuals with poor credit or no credit history turn to payday loans as limited access to traditional credit.
  • Payday loans have significant pitfalls, including high interest rates and fees, leading to a cycle of debt.
  • The high interest rates charged by payday lenders are one of the main reasons many people end up in a cycle of debt.
  • Factors that make payday loans expensive include fees, rollovers, and other charges.
  • Borrowers must carefully evaluate their repayment amount and APR before getting a payday loan.

Reasons Why People Use Payday Loans

Quick Access To Funds

Payday loans are a type of short-term loan that is designed to provide individuals with quick access to cash. Lenders usually offer them to people who need cash urgently and cannot afford to wait until their next payday. The main reason why people get payday loans is because they provide a fast and convenient way to get money when they need it the most.

One advantage of payday loans is that they are easily accessible. Unlike traditional loans, they require a lot of paperwork and a lengthy application process. Payday loans are relatively easy to obtain. Lenders only require proof of income, a bank account, and identification. After reviewing their application, they quickly approve the loan and provide the cash to the borrower.


People turn to payday loans because of the convenience and speed with which they obtain the funds. Unlike traditional loans, which require extensive documentation and a lengthy application process, payday loans are available within a few hours or even minutes of applying. The quick application process is especially appealing for individuals who need cash quickly to cover unexpected expenses or emergencies.

The convenience of payday loans comes from their accessibility. Many payday loan lenders operate online, making it easy for borrowers to apply for a loan from the comfort of their own homes. Payday loans are available to individuals with poor credit or no credit history, which means that individuals who cannot qualify for traditional loans still have access to the funds they need.

Limited Access To Traditional Credit

Many individuals with poor credit or no credit history find it difficult to access traditional forms of credit, such as loans from banks or credit unions. It is due to a history of late payments, loan defaults, or high debt levels. People without a good credit score struggle to access the funds they need to cover unexpected expenses or a temporary reduction in income

Payday loans appear to be an attractive option for people with poor credit or no credit history. They are available without a credit check and are designed to be accessible to individuals who cannot qualify for traditional forms of credit. But payday loans are associated with high-interest rates and fees, and borrowers find themselves trapped in a cycle of debt if they cannot repay the loan on time.

Payday Loan Pitfalls

Payday loans offer benefits such as quick access to cash and less strict credit requirements, but they have significant pitfalls that lead to serious financial problems. One common issue is the cycle of debt that borrowers get trapped in.

People who get a payday loan have a short time to repay the loan with interest and fees. It is challenging, especially if they are already struggling to make ends meet. Borrowers who cannot repay the loan in full are tempted to roll it over or get another loan to cover the first one. It leads to a dangerous cycle of debt where the borrower is constantly getting new loans to cover the old ones, racking up more interest and fees in the process.

The cycle of debt is difficult to break, and it quickly spirals out of control. Borrowers in this situation end up owing more than they ever hope to repay, and their credit score and financial future are seriously damaged.

Payday Loan Interest Rates

Another significant pitfall of payday loans is lenders’ high-interest rates. The rates are much higher than traditional loans or credit cards, making it much more expensive for borrowers to repay their loans. A two-week payday loan with a $15 per $100 fee equates to an annual percentage rate (APR) of almost 400 percent, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The interest rates on payday loans vary widely depending on the lender and the borrower’s state. Still, they get as high as several hundred percent annually in certain cases. The high interest rates charged by payday lenders are one of the main reasons many people end up in a cycle of debt. It is difficult to repay a loan with such high interest if the borrower struggles to make ends meet. They usually borrow more money to cover the extra fees or charges.

Loan AmountFeeTotal RepaymentAPR

The table displays the total repayment amount and APR for various loan amounts with a $15 per $100 fee for a two-week payday loan. For example, a $100 loan incurs a $15 fee, resulting in a $115 total repayment amount with an APR of 391%, calculated by multiplying the fee by the number of loan rollovers in a year. The APR remains constant at 391% for all loan amounts, as the $15 fee is fixed. It emphasizes the high cost of payday loans, urging borrowers to evaluate their repayment amount and APR carefully.

Factors That Make Payday Loans Expensive

Interest rates are not the only thing that makes certain payday loans expensive. Other factors affect the total cost of the loan. Listed below are the factors that make payday loans expensive.

  • Fees – Payday lenders charge various fees, such as application, processing, and late fees. The fees add up quickly and significantly increase the overall cost of the loan.
  • Short repayment term – Payday loans have two weeks, not enough time for borrowers to repay and cover their other expenses. It leads to loan rollovers and extensions with extra fees and interest charges.
  • High default rates – Payday lenders have high default rates, meaning many borrowers cannot repay their loans on time. Lenders charge higher interest rates and fees to borrowers who can repay their loans to compensate for the losses.
  • Unregulated lending practices – Payday lending is not regulated in many states and countries, which allows lenders to charge exorbitant fees and interest rates without much oversight.

How To Avoid Expensive Payday Loans?

There are ways to avoid getting an expensive payday loan. Listed below are three steps individuals must take to avoid falling into a cycle of debt and high-interest rates.

  1. Create a budget and track expenses to understand their financial situation. Doing so helps borrowers to identify areas where they can cut back on costs or find ways to increase their income.
  2. Explore alternative borrowing options such as credit unions or personal loans from banks. Payday loan alternative options usually offer lower interest rates and more flexible repayment terms than payday loans. But they have stricter requirements and a lengthier process.
  3. Reach out to family and friends for financial assistance. It is a difficult decision to borrow money from friends and family. Doing so helps avoid high-cost loans, saves individuals money, and prevents financial stress in the long run.


Payday loans have become popular financial tools for many individuals who need quick access to cash. However, they have high interest rates and fees, which makes them an expensive option. Many people turn to payday loans because of the convenience and accessibility that they offer, especially for people with poor credit or no credit history. The high interest rates and fees associated with payday loans lead to a cycle of debt, which is difficult to break. Borrowers must carefully evaluate their repayment amount and APR before getting a payday loan.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common reasons people turn to payday loans?

Common reasons for payday loans include unexpected expenses, medical bills, car repairs, home repairs, emergency costs, covering gaps in income, lack of access to traditional credit, and predatory lending practices.

How do payday loans compare to traditional bank loans in terms of usage?

Payday loans see far more applicants due to fewer eligibility requirements but can have higher fees and interest rates than traditional bank loans. They provide quicker access to cash.

Are there specific demographics more likely to use payday loans, and if so, why?

Younger, lower income individuals are more likely to use payday loans due to income volatility, lack of credit history, and lack of savings to cover emergencies.

What financial situations or emergencies often lead people to seek payday loans?

Job loss, medical bills, car repairs, home repairs, utility bills, unexpected expenses, covering gaps between paychecks, and predatory lending practices often drive payday loan usage.

Are there alternatives to payday loans that people should consider for their financial needs?

Better alternatives include borrowing from family/friends, credit cards, traditional loans, employer advances, payment plans, credit counseling, or paycheck advance apps.

Jason Rathman

Jason Rathman


Jason writes about all financial topics such as loans, debt solutions, and bankruptcy. He is an expert when it comes to subjects like APR, loan fine print, debt collection laws within the United States. With his in-depth knowledge of all things financial, he is a great asset to Greendayonline.