Payday Loans in Illinois: Subprime Report

At a Glance
Illinois, USA
  • Nickname: The Prairie State
  • Population: 12.74 million
  • Capital: Springfield
  • Website:

Illinois is the sixth most populous state in the country, home to Chicago, the third-largest city, and the capital of many industries. But it also has one of the bleakest financial outlooks of any American state. Illinois’ persistent financial problems are compounded by population loss, a weak jobs outlook, and sluggish growth.

How does this dark reality impact Illinoisans and their families?

  • Illinois has a poverty rate of 13% and an unemployment rate of 5.9% (according to 2017 figures).
  • 7% of Illinois households are unbanked.
  • 6% of the state population lives in “extreme poverty.”
  • 40% of Illinois children live in low-income families.
  • Illinoisans of color are two to three times more likely be impoverished.

Where you find poverty, you will find predatory actors seeking to take advantage of those that are desperate. Who targets on these financially depressed communities?  Predatory lenders. Namely, payday and title lenders.

Average Credit Card Debt and Median Household Income in Illinois vs. the U.S.
Average Credit Card Debt (Q1 2019)
Median Household Income (2018)

Payday Loans in Illinois

As we’ve explored elsewhere, payday and title lenders are brick-and-mortar, or online, financial service providers who offer a predatory product designed to trap borrowers in cycles of debt that are difficult to break, drain money from local communities, and can even result in the loss of major assets—like borrowers’ cars.

A payday loan is a small dollar (typically less than $1,000) loan that is offered at an extremely high interest rate (400% APR is typical) with a short term payback period (typically 2 weeks). This toxic combination of high interest rates and short terms means that these loans are extremely difficult to repay, often leading to a cycle of loan renewals (or “rollovers”) that extend the life of the loan at the cost of additional fees and interest.

Most of Chicago’s payday lenders are located within a mile of areas where the per capita income is less than the city average of $28,500. And that’s just in the city. Payday lenders in Illinois know where to open shop to better target those who need cash the most. The typical payday loan borrower in Illinois has a monthly income of less than $2,600, which makes paying back the loan even harder.

The Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation reports that during March 2011 through December 2017, 670,091 payday loan consumers took out 2,675,522 payday loans (which comes out to about four loans per consumer at a total amount of $1.80 billion). The average loan in the state was $365.30, and most borrowers saw an average pay-back term of about 5 months. Payday loan borrowers are typically dealing with three of these types of loans every year (compared to the average of ten payday loans across the U.S.). According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), four of every five loans are re-borrowed within the month. The Center for Responsible Lending has calculated that this results in Illinoisans paying over half a billion dollars per year in fees.

Payday Loan Statistics for Borrowers in Illinois vs. the U.S.
Average Loan Amount

Title Loans in Illinois

Title loans in Illinois are another potentially destructive option for folks living in Illinois who are struggling to make ends meet.

This is how they work: To take out a title loan (typically offered through storefront lending operations), borrowers must provide the lender with security interest in the form of their vehicle (by giving the lender the title to their vehicle), and the loan amount is based on the vehicle’s value. Typically, the loan amount is due to back to the lender after 30 days, but some title loans have longer terms. Like payday loans, the annual percentage rates (APRs) for title loans are usually in the triple digits. If the borrower is not able to pay the loan back, the lender can then repossess and sell the vehicle to satisfy the amount owed.

According to the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation, during the period between April 2009 through December 2017, 413,116 Illinoisans took out 751,558 title loans (totaling about $778 million). The average title loan amount during that period was $1,035.70 per consumer (plus total fees of $2,758.94), with an average of two loans per consumer and an average term of about 516 days. During that period, the average monthly income of title loan borrowers was $2,184, or only about $26,219 per year.

As is the case with payday loans, title loan borrowers often find themselves in never-ending cycles of debt. Sadly, nationwide, about one-third of title loans result in default, and one-in-five end up in the repossession of the borrower’s vehicle.

Consumer Protection in Illinois

Payday and title loans are a blight on Illinois. They attack the financially vulnerable and rob local economies of capital—particularly communities of color.

How to Report a Lender in Illinois

Harassment and a lack of truthful information can be misleading and is against Illinois Law. If you need to file a complaint against a payday or title lender in Illinois, visit the  Illinois Division of Financial Institution and Professional Regulation website’s complaint form. Once you fill out the form, submit it online or print and send it to the IDFPR at the address listed below.

The Illinois Division of Financial Institutions and Professional Regulation (IDFPR)

  • Address: 320 West Washington, 3rd Floor, Springfield, IL 62786
  • Phone: (888) 473-4858
  • Website:

If you are struggling with financial issues or a serious financial setback, reach out to the  Department of Financial & Professional Regulation Division of Financial Institutions: Consumer Credit Section. By reaching out, you can find ways to improve your finances and take strides towards getting out of debt. You can contact the Department of Financial & Professional Regulation Division of Financial Institutions at:

The Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation Division of Financial Institutions

  • Address: 100 W. Randolph, Suite 9-100 Chicago, IL 60601
  • Phone Number: (888) 298-8089
  • Website:



Guides to Payday and Title Lending in Illinois Cities

You know payday and title loans in Illinois are a problem. But what about at the city level?

Check out these payday and title loan guides for the following cities in Illinois…

Chicago | Peoria | Rockford | Springfield