Regarding payday and cash advance lending, the U.S. Government leaves the responsibility of consumer rights protection up to each individual state. 30% of states do have strict laws to cap short term loan interest rates at 36%. However, three states - Utah, Nevada, and Idaho - subject their citizens to loan sharks who demand more than 600% for loans with average principal amounts of $500 or less. For many borrowers it is still possible to get a cash advance online with reasonable interest rates and terms. Online lenders make it possible to complete the entire transaction from the privacy of home. In areas with capped interest rates, data shows competition among loan providers does encourage lower rates.
An easy way to know if a borrower can afford a loan is to find it's final cost. Add up the monthly payments until it's paid off. If the total is more than 5% of an individual's monthly budget, then the loan is not affordable. Laws don't always protect borrowers in the financial world - always read the fine print and do the math!