More and more cash advance lenders are charging flat fees instead of interest rates. This has been in response to increased state regulation. By charging a flat fee, lenders can avoid some of the caps put in place by some states.
Comparing Interest Rates
Interest rates for payday loans are typically higher than other forms of credit since they are small amounts and have a higher risk level. Most online lenders will still use interest rates to determine your loan charge. You may also have to pay a service fee, although most cash advance companies will waive this for first time borrowers.
The other interest rate to look at is the APR (annual percentage rate). All lenders, whether they charge by an interest rate or flat fee must disclose this through their website and loan agreement. The point of an APR is to give you a way to make comparisons. However, if you are like the majority of borrowers, you will pay back you loan in 21 or less days and not pay such a high interest charge.
Looking At Fees
Because some states have placed more limits on cash advance companies, lenders are charging fees rather than interest rates. By doing this, they avoid "usury" laws.
You can still use the APR to make comparisons with these types of companies. You can also divide the fee into the loan amount to get a percent. For instance if the was $18 for a $100 loan, the fee would be 18 or 18%.
What You Should Know
When you are comparing cash advance companies, you want to be comparing like numbers. That is why APRs can be so helpful. You also want to look at the payment plans and make sure they are equal. Besides loan costs, also look at other fees for extending the loan or for late payments. Also, be sure you can change the payment plan if you cant make immediate payment on your payday.
If you think you cant repay your loan by payday, you may want to take a look at other forms of credit. A personal loan or credit card may offer better long term rates.