When using payday loan services, an applicant must have an active bank account. For those millions of people who do not use banks to hold their money, it would be tough for them to acquire a fast payday loan. A storefront service will expect a signed check to hold for payment on the due date. An online service uses bank transfers and debits to process their loans. How would anyone without a bank account get fast cash? The post office believes they have an answer to serve customers who use short-term loans or have no bank account.
The USPS will offer ‘Postal Loans’ to help people save money on fees. This doesn’t mean that there are no fees attached, but the postal service does believe that it would be better than what people pay into payday lender companies and cash check services. It’s one more option for those who need a money boost.
As it stands, people who do not have a bank account but do work for a living need to cash their checks somewhere. Cash checking services are done with a fee and some places even offer a savings type account to hold money instead of carrying it around with you. It’s a safe way to protect your earnings, but none of it is free. The USPS would like to offer a prepaid card to consumers who have their paycheck directly deposited onto that card. A postal loan would be limited to half the amount deposited onto that card. What about the fees? How will the USPS get paid for their service? Payday loan lenders make their fees known upfront. The service has been around long enough that most people at least have a basic understanding of how it all works.
Every person who takes out a postal loan would have to pay 5% until that loan is paid off. It sounds very reasonable and the idea of the loan would help many people save lots of money on finance charges. The trouble lies with the inability to make good on the loan. Payday lenders fight that fight every day. There is no direct access to a person’s paycheck, only the ability to collect by debiting their account. If the money is not in a bank account, a direct lender will have to continue to try, add more fees and work something out with the borrower that both parties can agree upon. The USPS will have access to a person’s full paycheck. If the loan is not paid as contracted, the USPS can automatically withhold the payment from the direct deposited paycheck and place whatever is remaining of their paycheck onto the card. Borrowers will pay no matter what without a chance to work something out.
Banks and credit unions offer similar services as well. Their rates are lower than typical direct lenders and people tend to trust the institutions more. The idea of alternative options is wonderful. Let the people decide. It is interesting to point out that three major banks have already decided to pull out of their payday loan offers. The hassles accompanied by them from regulatory problems to customer complaints and payment problems are more than they bargained for. It seems that people still run into trouble and with first access to paychecks with the ability to collect, borrowers continue to have trouble. Consumers lose control over their paycheck. When a borrower uses a payday loan service, they keep the control with a higher finance charge.
Money management is ultimately up to each borrower. They will need to use a service which will work best for them. The postal loan, once it becomes active, will help those customers without a bank account. The actual postal loan is yet to be determined as far as how borrowers will review the services.