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Payday Loans Target Military Personnel

It's tough being a soldier, especially in a time of war. Being a member of the military during wartime means long time away from your home and your family. For those that aren't overseas, there is the constant concern that combat may soon be in your future. Being a soldier is a difficult and stressful job and most Americans have tremendous respect for those to choose to enlist. Unfortunately, that respect seems to be lost on the payday loan industry, which seems to do a disproportionate amount of its business with military personnel. If you live in a city with a military base, you won't have to look too far to find a payday loan store, which tend to cluster near military installations.

Payday loans, also known as cash advance loans, are short term, small value loans that typically range from $100-500. In exchange for borrowing the sum for a period of two weeks, borrowers pay a fee that ranges from $10-30 per $100 borrowed by writing a postdated check. At the end of the two-week period, the lender can cash the check or the borrower can settle in cash. Unfortunately, many borrowers cannot repay the loan in two weeks' time. In that case, it becomes necessary to "roll over" the loan for another two weeks by paying the fee again.

For some borrowers who live paycheck to paycheck, this can turn into a vicious cycle that turns a loan of hundreds into a debt of thousands. The industry targets military personnel because they have steady paychecks and are more likely to repay than civilians in the same income group. As a rule, enlisted personnel are not well paid, so the likelihood that they will need such loans is better than average. Furthermore, many of our soldiers are relatively young people who may not fully grasp the ramifications of borrowing money at interest rates that exceed 400% per year. Military officials are concerned about the problem, which negatively affects military preparedness. Soldiers that are preoccupied with their financial woes are less likely to be prepared to face their primary duties, which is to protect us in time of war. While some states, such as Arizona, are trying to curtail the prevalence of payday loan stores near military bases, the general pro-business stance of the current administration suggests that a nationwide attack on this problem is not forthcoming. While the proliferation of yellow ribbons on cars suggests that most Americans support their troops, it would appear that the quick cash industry does not.


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