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Payday Lending in America

Pew’s Payday Lending in America series sheds light on the experience of borrowers. The research also details fundamental problems with payday loans, and suggests how policymakers can help solve these problems.

Payday Loan Fast Facts

Payday loans typically offer about two weeks of credit, due in full on the borrower’s next payday, at annual interest rates of around 400 percent. While borrowers find fast cash to pay rent and other bills, they are often left indebted for months, struggling to repay a loan that was marketed as a short-term solution. Download a summary of Pew’s Payday Lending in America findings


"Who Borrows, Where They Borrow, and Why"(2012) answers fundamental questions about payday loan borrowers and the marketplace.

"How Borrowers Choose and Repay Payday Loans" (2013) demonstrates that payday loans are unaffordable for most, and answers questions about the borrower experience.

"Payday Lending in America:  Policy Solutions" (2013) discusses the safeguards that are necessary to create successful small-dollar loan markets, and presents an analysis of a recent Colorado law change showing these safeguards can be applied while maintaining access to credit. 

Pew’s Policy Recommendations to Fix Payday Loan Problems

Conventional payday loans require about one-third of an average borrower’s paycheck, but most borrowers can afford to put no more than 5 percent of their paycheck toward a loan and still be able to cover basic expenses. Policymakers should act now to fix the problems with payday lending in the 35 states where it currently exists. Pew recommends five policies that will minimize harm to consumers and make small-dollar loans more affordable. Read the Policy Solutions report  or download a summary of Pew’s recommendations.

Selected Infographics and Interactives


October 30, 2013

Payday Lending in America: Policy Solutions

The third payday loans report discusses an alternative small-dollar loan product: one repaid in affordable installments over time.   More
April 10, 2014

How State Rate Limits Affect Payday Loan Prices

Storefront payday loans are available in 36 states. Pew’s research indicates that a state’s limit on interest rates is the key factor driving loan pricing.


Payday Loan Resources