Payday loans may be coming to a bank near you.
They're marketed under a different name, but a handful of major banks already let customers borrow against their paychecks for a fee. And there are signs the option may soon become more widely available.
Banks say their loans are intended for emergencies and they are quick to distance themselves from the payday lending industry. But consumer advocates say these direct deposit loans — as banks prefer to call them — bear the same predatory trademarks as the payday loans commonly found in low-income neighborhoods.
Specifically: Fees that amount to triple-digit interest rates, short repayment periods and the potential to ensnare customers in a cycle of debt.
With a traditional payday loan, for example, a customer might pay $16 to borrow $100. If the loan is due in two weeks, that translates into an annual interest rate of 417 percent.
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