If you live in the South Oak section of Mineral Wells, chances are you’ve heard Jerry Taylor powering through your neighborhood.
“It’s a Harley, it’s supposed to be loud,” he said, speaking over his roaring motorcycle. He’s colorful and enjoying life. He spends a lot of time on his Harley, and when it needed a last-minute repair, he didn’t hesitate to take out a payday loan. Taylor didn’t pay attention to the exact terms he was agreeing to, and found out the hard way.
“One time I was one day late. I called them and told them ahead of time. They said no problem. I went in to make that payment, next thing I know my payments went ‘sppppt,'” he said, gesturing up with his hands. That missed payment changed his terms. Now, every month when he makes a $145 payment, less than $1 goes to pay back the loan. The other $144 are all fees and financing.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently finalized a new rule that prohibits lenders from issuing loans with fees so high that the customer can’t afford to pay them back. The rules set specific short payment schedules, and lenders must make sure you can afford them. It was designed to keep reputable payday loan companies around while weeding out ones who make loans hard for people like Taylor to pay back.
“I went to several who said we can’t give you a payday loan because you don’t make enough. I go to this one, they’re like, yeah, sure no problem. Now I know why,” Taylor said. The new rules don’t help people like Taylor who are already in current loans. It will go into effect for new loans sometime next year. In the meantime, make certain you fully understand the terms of any loan you take out now.
Barbara Martinez was driving home on Interstate 55 when another car merged too soon, swiping her 2011 Honda Civic and putting her in a financial bind. Her insurance would pay for repairs – the other driver was uninsured – but her deductible was high and she lacked savings to pay it. Millions of Americans find themselves in the same predicament, short of cash with bills to pay. Often they borrow from friends and relatives. But many also turn to payday loans that are easy to get but hard to pay back.