Missouri man paid $ 50,000 in interest after taking out $ 2,500 in payday loans

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Elliott Clark borrowed money to support his family, but struggled to pay it back.

A retired and disabled Marine, Clark still struggles to talk about the more than 5 years he said he struggled to pay $ 50,000 in interest, which started with $ 2,500 of these loans, sometimes referred to as “Cash advances” or “loans by check”.

“It was hard for me to talk about it without breaking down in tears,” Clark told ABC News. “If you are a man, you take care of your family. If I had had another choice, I would have taken it. I would not have been in this situation then.”

Clark’s road to payday loans began in 2003 when his wife slipped on ice and broke her ankle, requiring surgery to restructure it. His wife, a retail worker, was unable to work for several months, Clark said, and was not entitled to her employer’s benefits. With two daughters to help support his studies, Clark could not pay his wife’s medical bills, which he said were $ 26,000. He turned to his family and friends, but they didn’t have the money to lend him.

Clark said he ultimately took five $ 500 loans from local lenders and was paying interest every two weeks. Every two weeks, $ 475 in interest was due ($ 95 from each loan) and he often took out new loans to cover the old ones.

Eventually, through a range of jobs such as working in pest control and as a correctional officer, he was able to pay off the debt.

“I did it consistently for five and a half years. It took its toll,” he said. “We ended up losing our house. We lost our car. We finally moved in 2010 and now we are paying rent.”

Some payday lenders would charge up to 700%, depending on the Kansas City Star.

A national organization for payday lenders, the Community Financial Services Association of America, opposes an interest rate cap on payday loans.

She argues that price fixing “almost always reduces consumers’ access to any product”. In states that have instituted a 36% rate cap on payday and other short-term loans, lenders have been “forced to close hundreds of stores, costing thousands of employees their jobs. and left fewer credit options for consumers, ”Cantu said.

“In the absence of regulated and licensed lenders, many consumers are turning to unregulated and unlicensed lenders who operate online,” she said. “If you eliminate payday loans, you still have to answer the question, ‘Where will consumers go with their short-term credit needs? These needs don’t just go away. “

Clark advocates for an interest rate cap for online and in-store payday lenders.

“The payday loan is a debt trap,” Clark told ABC News. “It’s a spiral cycle that brings you to nothing, like I’ve lost everything.”