Chapter 9. Loans You Don't Want to Get—or Give

High-rate loans were once the province of loan sharks, who worked on a fairly simple business plan: Pay us back, or we'll break your kneecaps.

Today, however, high-rate loans are big business. Four out of the 10 largest banks, for example, have payday lending arms, while the largest provider of refund anticipation loans is H&R Block. Title lenders and rent-to-own outfits can be found in most communities or quickly located on the Internet.

All are capitalizing on people's desire for quick cash, regardless of the cost. Most target low-income working people who may feel they have limited options and who often don't fully understand what they're paying for these loans. Instead of a short-term solution, ...

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