CFSA Poll of Payday Loan Customers

There’s a new poll by Harris Interactive taken on behalf of the Community Financial Services Association of America (CFSA), a payday lenders trade association.  Some interesting results:

  • 84% of those surveyed said it was easy to repay the loan (52% said “very easy”)
  • 95% said the understood “well” or “very well” how long it would take to pay off the loan and 94% said that they paid off the loan in the amount of time that they expected to do so
  • 95% “agreed” or “strongly agreed” with the statement, “It should be your choice whether or not to use payday lending, not the government’s choice.”

One interesting finding in this poll, which differs from the findings of other research on payday loans, is that when asked the reason for taking a payday loan the most common answer (49%) was to deal with an unexpected emergency, such as a car repair or medical emergency.  44% said that it was to meet expenses, 28% said it was to avoid paying a late fee on a bill, and 23% said it was to avoid bouncing a check. Remarkably, 19% said it was to help out a friend or relative who needed money.

While the survey was solicited by the payday lending industry and some of the details of the study differ from the findings of other research on payday loan usage, the findings are generally consistent with the findings of other studies as to why consumers use payday lending and their awareness of the product’s cost.