Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Checklist before Taking out An Internet Payday Loan

DFI is urging consumers who take out payday loans from companies seen on TV or online to be vigilant, read the small print and make sure any company they work with is licensed to do business in the state of Washington.

Consumers should be aware that lenders associated with these types of organizations may or may not be licensed in Washington State or adhering to our state’s laws.

Because of this, the protections in our state’s laws - including limitations on fees that may be charged and laws relating to unlicensed lenders not being able to use our courts - may not be available to consumers using these services should they have trouble with the lender down the line.

If you do use an internet lender for a small loan, do you research about the lender. See the checklist below for more information.

Checklist before taking out a loan
  • Verify the licensePayday lenders must be licensed in Washington. Verify the license of a payday lender in Washington State by calling 1-877-RING-DFI (746-4334) or verifying a license online at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfi/licenselu/dfi/licenseLU/.
  • Read the fine printRead any and all documents/terms of agreement you are asked to sign/agree to.
  • Never sign or agree to anything you don’t understand
  • Consider alternative solutionsIf you are in need of cash, ask about delaying or making payment arrangements on your non-interest bills like telephone and utility bills. Talk to a friend or family member about borrowing money. Ask your employer for an advance on your paycheck.
  • Comparison shop
    Shop for the lowest fees and penalties. For example, some credit unions offer payday loans with lower fees.
  • Borrow only what you can afford to pay back
  • Know when your payment is dueMost online companies will be deducting your payment directly from your bank account.
  • Talk to a credit counselorCredit counseling rganizations offer help with budgeting, credit repair, debt repayment, and more. Contact your local consumer credit counseling service or asset building coalition.

    Find Your Local Consumer Credit Counseling Service at http://www.nfcc.org/FirstStep/locator.cfm

    Locate Your Local Asset Building Coalition at http://www.washingtonabc.org/node/29  
If You Have a Complaint against a Payday Lender
If you have a complaint against a payday lender operating in Washington, file a complaint with DFI online at http://dfi.wa.gov/cs/complaint.htm .