Loan Sharks: “You’re Going to Need a Better Loan”

Sharks are stealthy, dangerous and so much fun to observe (from the safety of your couch). But what about the other dangerous predators that share their name?

Updated: May 3, 2018

DUUUNN DUN, DUUUNN DUN! Shark week might only come once a year, but there’s one kind of shark that’s always skulking around, waiting to feast on your finances: the dreaded loan shark.

Here’s something we all can (probably) agree on: real, water-based sharks are fascinating. They’re stealthy, dangerous, and so much fun to watch from the comfort of your couch as they turn the vast ocean food chain into their own personal buffet.

But while sharks might be dangerous if you’re a dolphin or particularly dense bloom of plankton, the truth about sharks is that they’re much less vicious than the predators who share their name.

While normal sharks feast on schools of fish, loan sharks spend their time terrorizing humanity, patrolling underbanked neighborhoods and the depths of the internet (we’re looking at you, shady online payday loan companies!) for fresh meat.

Want to avoid being devoured by a predatory payday or title lender? Throw on your scuba gear and join OppLoans as we hit the high seas and hunt us some loan sharks!


What do sharks and payday lenders have in common? A lengthy sordid past, for one.

Sharks as a species have been around for a long time, about 400 millions years, to be exact. In fact, these terrifying beasts of the open sea actually predate dinosaurs. Okay, so loan sharks don’t date back that far. But ever since loans have been a thing (and those suckers are mentioned in The Bible, so it’s been a while), there have been loan sharks out here taking advantage of borrowers.

Let’s take a step back for a moment. What is a loan shark, exactly? The media commonly refers to modern-day loan sharks as “predatory lenders,” and these are companies that charge unreasonably high interest rates to borrowers who may be unable to repay their loans.

Like a great white shark stalking an injured killer whale, predatory loan sharks look for prey that’s down on its luck, targeting primarily underprivileged communities filled with individuals who have no other options for fast cash.

When faced with a financial emergency, people with bad credit, low incomes, and no way to access traditional lines of financing like bank loans or credit cards, often turn to predatory lenders offering no credit check loans.

But many payday and title loan sharks don’t even verify borrower income before doling out the loan, and when all is said and done, a cash-strapped borrower can be trapped in a seemingly endless cycle of debt, when those sky-high interest rates come back to bite them.

Some examples of loan sharks? Storefront and online payday lenders, who charge upwards of 400 percent APR (annual percentage rate), and give borrowers crazy-short terms (sometimes as little as 14 days) to repay their loans.

Which is more dangerous? A loan shark, or a regular shark?

Ask a shark that question, and he’ll tell you his species gets a bad rap. We’re inclined to agree.

In 2012, the average payday loan borrower took out eight loans (for about $375 each) and paid $520 in interest and fees alone. Consider that for a moment. Paying that much for a small loan from a bank is unheard of, and even though credit card interest can be a dangerous thing to play with, you won’t see credit card borrower paying more than 400 percent APR!

Why are borrowers who are already struggling financially being hunted by these predators?

Because they pay.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 80 percent of payday loan borrowers take out another loan within a month of paying off their previous loan. Meanwhile, just 3 percent of the known 500 species of shark are known to have attacked humans.

Do you want to know what the average number of people killed by sharks every year is? (Drumroll, please.) It’s ONE. By contrast, in 2010, 12 million Americans took out a payday loan last year.

You tell us what’s more dangerous: taking a refreshing ocean swim, or drowning in debt? We’ll take our chances in the salt water, thank you very much!

Don’t be a loan shark’s next victim.

Here’s the rub: just because you THINK you have to do business with a loan shark, doesn’t mean you actually do. Sure, your credit might be shot, and you might not have the cash you need to make your next rent, utility or car payment. But don’t let those smooth-talking sharks convince you they’re your only hope.

A better option? Get a safe and responsible personal installment loan from OppLoans.

Instead of being forced to take out a small cash loan with sky-high interest rates they’ll need to pay back within two weeks, our customers receive loans between $1,000 and $10,000, which have up to 36 months to repay.

OppLoans provides fast cash—even to people with bad or no credit—with interest rates that are up to 125 percent lower than payday lenders.

In addition to our lower rates and more flexible terms, we report payments to the credit bureaus which can improve your credit score as you pay off your loan over time.

Want to learn more about predatory lenders? Check out these related pages and articles from OppLoans:

What are your best tips for steering clear of loan shark waters? We want to hear from you! You can email us or you can find us on Facebook and Twitter.

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