Payday Lending in Seattle
Seattle is the largest city in the Evergreen State, and one of the most beautiful places in America. Water surrounds the city, the Space Needle overlooks it, and Mount Rainier looms in the distance. Tech companies are also drawing new workers into the city, and the Emerald City is growing as a result. Recent data from the U.S. Census shows that the population of Seattle grew by 21,000 between 2016 and 2017.
Unfortunately, not everyone in the city can work a high-paying job in tech. Seattle is plagued with a poverty rate of 13.0%, which is just slightly higher than the Washington state rate of 12.7%.
Payday and Title Loans in Seattle
People who fall victim to predatory lenders in Seattle are at risk of becoming trapped in debt that can feel as insurmountable as the peak of Mount Rainier.
Predatory lending is when a lender charges high fees and interest for a loan that has a term too short for the borrower to pay back in a reasonable amount of time. This can lead cash-strapped borrowers into a seemingly endless cycle of debt. Payday loans are one type of predatory lending. Fortunately, there are better options available for individuals who need quick cash, and borrowers should explore these options before taking out a payday loan in Seattle.
So, what’s the status of payday loans in Washington? Washington is not the worst state for payday loans in the U.S., and there are some state laws that protect borrowers. Borrowers can only take out one loan at a time and no more than eight loans in a year. The law also allows 45 days for repayment of the loan. However, lenders still charge a $15 fee for every $100 borrowed up to $500. If a borrower pays back a $100 loan in 2 weeks, then they effectively pay an interest rate of 390%!
Payday loans are dangerous because it can be difficult for many borrowers to pay back their loans within the time frame that they’re given. When taking out a payday loan, borrowers write the lender a check for the loan amount plus fees, and date the check in the future. That is the date the loan must be repaid, assuming the borrower has enough funds in their account to cover the check. If they don’t have enough money, then another fee is added. As a result, many borrowers end up in a long-term debt commitment when they can’t cover their expenses.
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Local Resources to Help Seattle Residents Avoid Predatory Lenders
Many people in Seattle will need financial assistance at some point in their lives. They may be short on rent, have their credit card declined at the gas station, or need to help a friend or family member recover from a medical emergency. These everyday struggles can add up to high costs, and there is no shame in needing financial help. But predatory loans are not the only option available in an emergency. With help from the resources noted below, it may not be necessary to borrow money at all.
Total per Household
Apparel & Services
Food Consumed at Home
Life and Other Insurance
Pensions and Social Security
Food Assistance Resources in Seattle
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known as Basic Food in Washington, provides meal assistance for families in need. You can easily check if you’re eligible online, and also apply here. There are also many food pantries around the city where you can pick up food to cook at home.
- Address: 5972 Fourth Avenue South; Seattle, WA 98108
- Phone: 206-767-9975
Healthcare Resources in Seattle
Low-income individuals who are currently uninsured may qualify for Medicaid, which is called Apple Health in Washington. Visit Apple Health to find out more, or connect with a local specialist who will help verify your eligibility. Even if you’re not eligible for Apple Health, you can get help with prescription coverage. All residents can take advantage of the Washington Prescription Drug Program (WPDP) Discount Card. Also, even if you do not qualify for Apple Care, your children might. Find out more from Washington Apple Health for Kids.
If you are uninsured or still struggling to cover your healthcare costs, you can also visit one of these free health clinics:
- Address: 12726 33rd Ave NE; Seattle, WA 98125
- Multiple locations
- Phone: 206-860-6656
Rent Assistance in Seattle
If you need help paying rent, the Seattle Housing Levy can help. They fund local nonprofit organizations that help low-income renters. You can find more information on their website, including a list of organizations that can assist you.
If you own your house and need money to stay out of foreclosure, the Seattle Office of Housing has many resources available, including a list of housing counselors who can help you explore options and negotiate with your lender. If you do not own your home but dream of doing so one day, remember that the Office of Housing can help low-income buyers with their down payment.
The following resources may also be helpful:
- Address: 1900 Rainier Ave. S; Seattle, WA 98144
- Phone: 206-902-4271
- Multiple locations
- Less than $20,000:12.0%
- $20,000 to $34,999:10.3%
- $35,000 to $49,999:10.3%
- $50,000 to $74,999:15.3%
- $75,000 or more:49.4%
Median Housing Value
% of Housing Units with a Mortgage
Median Monthly Cost (w/ mortgage)
Median Monthly Cost (w/o mortgage)
- “Seattle just one of 5 big metros last year that had more people move here than leave, census data show” Seattle Times. Accessed May 20, 2018 https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/data/seattle-just-one-of-5-big-metros-last-year-that-had-more-people-move-here-than-leave-census-data-show/
- “Payday Loan Consumer Information” Consumer Federation of America: Washington. Accessed May 20, 2018 http://www.paydayloaninfo.org/state-information/55
- “American FactFinder” US Census Bureau. Accessed May 17, 2018 https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=bkmk
- “Poverty Data” Talk Poverty. Accessed May 17, 2018 https://talkpoverty.org/poverty
- “Census Business Builder: Regional Analyst Edition – 2.3” S. Census Bureau. Accessed June 8, 2018 https://cbb.census.gov/rae/#
- “Experian’s 2016 State of Credit Report” Experian. Accessed June 8, 2018 LiveCreditSmart.com
- “Debt in America: An Interactive Map” Urban Institute. Accessed June 8, 2018 https://apps.urban.org/features/debt-interactive-map/
- “2012-2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Housing: Selected Housing Characteristics” U.S. Census Bureau. Accessed June 8, 2018 https://factfinder.census.gov
- “2012-2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Housing: Financial Characteristics“ U.S. Census Bureau. Accessed June 8, 2018 https://factfinder.census.gov