Update May 2009: New restrictions on payday loans have driven many locations out of business, while others scramble to find ways to skirt the laws. Notnetheless, for many people who need that one-time bridge loan, these businesses still serve as a last resort.
Somehow I've managed to become WalletPop's poster child for payday loans. I wrote about my experiences with them a few months ago, and then quickly wound up being asked to write a little series about payday loans (the series is at the bottom of the page of just aforementioned post). And now that we're doing a "raising cash in a hurry" series, what does my editor suggest I write about? You guessed it.
It is true, though, that earlier this year I went to a payday loan store. Not once. Not twice. But three times. And in those cases, I was able to get cash in a hurry -- faster than most of these other ideas we have, I'll bet. But that doesn't make it the best of the ideas.
I'd call it one of those last-last-last resort methods, but I have to give the payday lending industry its due, it is quick. Once I made my decision, it took me about 14 hours and 20 minutes to get my money.