Washington, DC – 07/18/2012

Americans spend $7.4 billion per year on payday loans, including an average of $520 in interest per borrower for eight $375 loans or extensions. The Pew Charitable Trusts establishes a new understanding of borrowers and their needs in Payday Lending in America: Who Borrows, Where They Borrow, and Why.

“Payday loans are marketed as two-week credit products for temporary needs. In truth, average consumers are in debt for five months and are using the funds for ongoing, ordinary expenses – not for unexpected emergencies,” said Nick Bourke, project director for Pew’s Safe Small-Dollar Loan Research Project.The report’s findings challenge much of the conventional wisdom on short-term loans, such as the assumption that people have no other options. In fact, a majority of borrowers report having several alternatives they would use if payday loans are not available.The research also explores the impact of regulation. “We now know that, despite concerns to the contrary, payday loan regulations have not driven people to borrow online. In states that restrict storefront lending, 95 percent of would-be borrowers have elected not to use payday loans at all. Just five percent went online or elsewhere,” Bourke said.Read the Full Press ReleaseRead the Executive Summary and Key Findings or the Full Study

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View all the resources in the Pew Center on the States Payday Lending in America collection.