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The payday loan trap: don't get caught

Short-term, high-interest payday loans can trap you in a cycle of debt. NerdWallet is here to help.

  • Stop and think

    Payday loans can ruin your family's finances. Interest rates can top 1,000%, and nearly half of borrowers default inside two years.

  • Explore other options

    Search the alternatives below, borrow from friends or family, ask your boss for an advance, or even use a pawn shop — anything but a payday loan.

Interested in speaking to certified credit counselor in your area right now?

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Organization/programServiceUsesAmount

211 Sacramento

211 Sacramento
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Assistance
Service
No Restrictions
Uses
Varies
Amount
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LIHEAP

LIHEAP
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Assistance
Service
Utilities
Uses
Varies
Amount
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2-1-1 San Bernardino

2-1-1 San Bernardino
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Assistance
Service
No Restrictions
Uses
Varies
Amount
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Emergency Assistance

Emergency Assistance
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Assistance
Service
Emergency
Uses
Varies
Amount
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Utility Assistance

Utility Assistance
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Assistance
Service
Utilities
Uses
Varies
Amount
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Money Matters

Money Matters
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Assistance
Service
General Financial Health
Uses
Varies
Amount
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Rental Assistance

Rental Assistance
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Assistance
Service
Rent
Uses
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Amount
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CEAP

CEAP
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Assistance
Service
Utilities
Uses
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Amount
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Loans presented on this page have a minimum loan length of at least 1 year and a maximum APR of not more than 36.00%.

Who are these organizations - and why should you trust them?

NerdWallet has vetted the organizations listed in this database to ensure that they provide consumer-first services, either through low-interest loans or financial assistance.

These local community centers and nonprofits serve people who need help with rent, transportation, paying utilities or other emergencies. They're part of your community and have track records of helping people just like you. Many offer advice and education to help you make the right financial decisions even after the immediate crisis has passed.

Not only do these organizations offer an alternative to payday loans when an urgent need arises, they also help avert a cycle of debt that can trap you for years. That empowers you to make the right financial decisions for you and your family far into the future.

Why is NerdWallet interested in payday loans?

NerdWallet's mission is to provide consumers clarity for all of life's financial decisions - from immediate worries about paying for necessities to long-term decisions that lead you toward a life without financial stress.

Toxic loans made by payday lenders complicate that path. Every year, payday loans trap millions of consumers in a cycle of debt.

Our goal is to support organizations that provide better alternatives and promoting financial literacy.

To learn more, please reach out to agordon@nerdwallet.com

We want to hear from you and encourage a lively discussion among our users. Please help us keep our site clean and safe by following our posting guidelines, and avoid disclosing personal or sensitive information such as bank account or phone numbers. Any comments posted under NerdWallet's official account are not reviewed or endorsed by representatives of financial institutions affiliated with the reviewed products, unless explicitly stated otherwise.