I need[ed] some money ASAP. So I called my Mom.
“Mom, I need some money!”
And, she’s like, “No, why don’t you just go ahead and get a pay day loan?”
“You just borrow some money from them and then you pay them back once you get your money on payday.”
I said, “Oh, okay sure.” So I do it, I get my little pay day loan.
This excerpt from a community-based research project involving UC Law Professors Emily Houh and Kristin Kalsem, and Public Allies Cincinnati shows how easy borrowing money can be. The dialogue is from a “zine,” a small black and white publication that graphically depicted interviews about payday lending, a financial resource relied upon primarily by low-income communities of color.
Almost 30% of Americans don’t have banks, or, if they have them, rely heavily on alternative financial systems like payday loans, rent-to-to-own, or car title loans to make ends meet. Most do so because they don’t believe they have enough money to open a bank account. In addition, these banking alternatives are easy to use and conveniently located.
But these pluses come with significant minuses.