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The Racial Wealth Gap and Payday Loans

Part of Our Black History Month Money Minute Series

Author: Jean Cyprien, Coordinator, Student Money Management Center

While the discriminatory practices of redlining forced many Blacks to live in communities with low equity growth, payday loans targeted these communities, which only further widened the Racial Wealth Gap.

Payday Loans Defined and Its Effects

A payday loan is a short-term unsecured loan, often characterized by high interest rates. The basic loan process involves a lender providing a short-term unsecured loan to be repaid at the borrower's next payday. Typically, some verification of employment or income is involved (via pay stubs and bank statements).

Borrowers typically will visit a payday lending store and secure a small cash loan, with payment due in full at the borrower's next paycheck. The borrower writes a postdated check to the lender for the full amount of the loan plus fees. On the maturity date, the borrower is expected to return to the store to repay the loan in person. If the borrower does not repay the loan in person, the lender may redeem the check.

In an article entitled, Fraud and Abuse Online: Harmful Practices in Internet Payday Lending, “one issue which was never raised during a Federal Trade Commission Workshop in any of the discussions - the fact that payday loans do not hurt equally. More than all other races or ethnicities, payday loans disproportionately impact African Americans. Black people make up roughly 13% of the total American population, yet they constitute 23% of all storefront payday loans.”

The likelihood that a family will use a payday loan increases if they are unbanked or underbanked, or lack access to a traditional deposit bank account. In an American context the families who will use a payday loan are disproportionately either of Black or Hispanic descent, recent immigrants, and/or under-educated. These individuals are least able to secure normal, lower-interest-rate forms of credit. Since payday lending operations charge higher interest-rates than traditional banks, they have the effect of depleting the assets of low-income and Black communities.

One way to empower yourself and others in your community against the use of a Payday Loan is connecting with The Student Money Management Center (SMMC) to learn the principles of effective money management.  For example, establishing an Emergency Savings Fund can help protect you from things such as unexpected bills or job loss.  In other words, an Emergency Savings Fund helps protect your financial well-being.

Payday Loans look like heroes to those who are low on hope and feeling desperate. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB),”Payday Lenders will usually charge a fee for every $100 they loan. Oftentimes, this fee is anywhere from $10–30. For example if you took out a $200 loan with a fee of $30, that fee is equal to an annual interest rate of 391.07%. But if you can’t pay it back, the lender might slap you with late fees, repayment plans, or offer you a rollover (plus another fee).”

Watch: The Racial Wealth Gap and Payday Loans


Frame 1 - Jean Cyprien here.

Frame 2 - Let's talk about payday loans.

Frame 3 - Payday loans.

Frame 4 - They're generally illegal in Georgia, and they can hurt, but they do not hurt equally.

Frame 5 - They tend to target communities, which are already vulnerable.

Frame 6 - These communities tend to be communities of color, further widening the racial wealth gap.

Frame 7 - Ah, payday loan is a loan of short duration with extremely high interest rates.

Frame 8 - Unlike other loans, which are paid back over time, payday loans are paid back all at once.

Frame 9 - So let's say you decide to take out a payday long until you get paid, because you're having trouble paying your rent.

Frame 10 - What if when you get paid, you're unable to repay the loan?

Frame 11 - The amount you now oh, is the original amount, plus late fees.

Frame 12 - Along with high interest rate charges.

Frame 13 - Don't allow the payday loan lender to turn your money emergency into a bigger emergency.

Frame 14 - A bigger money problem resulting in more debt.

Frame 15 - You can stop living paycheck to paycheck by beginning an emergency savings plan.

Frame 16 - An emergency savings plan is a fun used to cover or offset the expenses of an unforeseen situation.

Frame 17 - The Student Money Management center can help.

Frame 18 - We're here for you.

Frame 19 - You're a one appointment away from building wealth. Make an appointment today at smmc at ung dot edu. We can't wait to see you.

How the SMMC Can Help

Christine Luken, author and personal finance blogger, found this out the hard way. “Before I had an emergency fund, if I had an unexpected car repair or a vet bill, I had two problems,” she says. “The original emergency and a money problem.” Unlike payday loans, your Emergency Savings Fund is your get out of debt card, your, I lost my job answer, your car broke down get the picture.

Let the SMMC walk alongside you to assist with starting your Emergency Savings Fund. Did you know by just putting aside $20 a week, you can save more than $1,000 in just one year? We can help you by first determining your monthly income and expenses. Set a goal of how much you want to save; studies suggest beginning with $1,000. We can help you develop a plan based upon your goal and ways to stick to your plan.

By taking control of your money today, you can equip yourself and the next generation from living paycheck to paycheck. Don’t let payday loans catch you in the middle of a financial crisis, because your savings is designed to do that

We are here for YOU – Make an appointment today by emailing us at

Get Help with Your Money

UNG's SMMC is here to help you with all things money management. Schedule a personal consultation today to get started on your path toward finacial success!

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