Top 3 Signs of Predatory Loans

Graphic illustrating the top 3 signs of predatory lending

👀 What to look for

Choosing the right loan is a big deal. It can have a significant impact on your money situation. Whether it’s a personal loan, an auto loan, or a mortgage, you want to make sure you’re dealing with a fair lender and not someone trying to take advantage of you. There are three essential signs to watch out for when considering a loan:

  • The lender is not upfront about the Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
  • The offer seems too good to be true (Hint: it probably is)
  • The repayment time is super short- like just a few weeks

🤔 WTH is Predatory Lending?

Predatory lending is any lending practice that uses deceptive or unethical means to convince you to accept a loan under unfair terms or a loan you don’t need.

Predatory lenders are not interested in helping you. They just want to make as much money as possible, even if it means making your life harder.

They often target people who have trouble getting loans from traditional lenders because of bad credit (or no credit) and other money problems. It’s important to know how to spot these shady offers so you can protect your finances.

🚩 No APR Disclosed:

If the lender does not disclose the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) upfront, this is a huge red flag. The APR is a big deal because it tells you the true cost of borrowing money. It’s not just the interest rate but also includes any extra fees or charges. If they hide this information, it’s a clear sign that they might be up to no good. Predatory lenders want to keep things hidden so they can trap you in a cycle of debt.

To avoid falling into a trap, always ask for and look at the APR before taking a loan. Honest lenders, like Greater Nevada Credit Union (GNCU), will make sure you know everything, including the APR.

🚩 Seems Too Good to Be True

Not all that glitters is gold. Watch out for offers that use these shiny tactics:

  • Unrealistically Low Interest Rates: If a lender is advertising an interest rate that’s way lower than what everyone else is offering, be cautious. Predatory lenders may promise super-low rates, then hit you with a bunch of hidden fees and costs.
  • Guaranteed Approval: Be careful if a lender guarantees you’ll be approved for a loan, no matter your credit history or money situation. Good lenders check to make sure you can safely pay back the loan.
  • No Credit Check Required: Some lenders won’t check your credit, but this usually leads to higher interest rates and fees. Predatory lenders may target people with bad credit, and these loans can become expensive.
  • Rushing You: Predatory lenders might try to push you into taking a loan right away and not give you time to look at the terms. Reputable lenders, like GNCU, will encourage you to take your time and consider all the terms before signing.

🚩 Short Repayment Terms

Some short-term loans must be paid back within just a few weeks. These very short repayment times can make it hard to pay off the loan without getting into more debt. If you can’t pay off the whole loan plus the interest quickly, you might end up stuck renewing the loan and paying high fees. Choose loans with reasonable repayment times and make sure the lender checks if you can really pay it back. Otherwise, these short-term loans can lead to long-term debt.

🔍 Follow the Clues

Spotting these red flags is essential when you’re looking for a loan. GNCU and other fair lenders want to help you make healthy money decisions. By watching for these signs of predatory lending, you can make smart choices and avoid falling into a lender’s trap. Your financial future is too important- take control of your money and make sure you’re making the right decisions when it comes to borrowing.