Outrageous Interest Rates

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It’s the end of the semester here, which means lots and lots of grading to do (I know, I know—if I didn’t assign it, I wouldn’t have to grade it, right?). So I’m grading papers last night, and I have MTV Hits on for background noise (they’re showing Yo! MTV Raps reruns from 10-15 years ago—how cool is that?), and a commercial comes on as I happen to take a break from eyestrain reading. It’s for a place called Cash Call, which offers fast loans (as in 1 day) over the phone or online, perfect for those times when life throws you a curve. Right?

Here’s the catch: If you take out, say, a $2600 loan from Cash Call (the example they give in the commercial’s fine print), you’ll pay—are you sitting down?—99.25% interest for 42 months! You end up repaying nearly $9100, or 3.5x the original loan! How about a $10,000 loan, with payments spread out over 10 years? Sure, if you’re willing to pay 59.46%, or almost $60,000. (“Exceptionally qualified applicants” may qualify for a 29.26% loan. Woo-hoo!)

I believe it would actually be more financially responsible to buy a $15,000 car at 12% for 6 years ($293/month) and sell the car for $10,000 than to take one of these loans. There are plenty of loan calculators available online. All I can say is… do the math.

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3 Responses to “Outrageous Interest Rates”

  1. Ξ Says:

    I thought you must be kidding when I first read this so I googled them and whoa Nelly they really say that it’s 99.25% annual interest. I’m pleased to see that these loans aren’t offered to people in New York State, presumably (hopefully) because they’d be illegal.

  2. mbork Says:

    Wow, a great post!
    I was just curious: do they state the interest or do they just give the installment? When I was writing my master’s thesis in banking several years ago, I was doing a similar calculation with a similar company, which stated only installments and not the interest (so that I had to do some computations; economists call this an “IRR”). The result was almost 50% p.a., which I found shocking at that time (it was around 2000 in Poland).
    And I really love the comparison with the car business:). Hope you have nothing against that I will use it when I teach students financial maths;).

  3. Batman Says:

    They really do state the interest rates on their site (I avoided linking to them on purpose) – just Google “cash call”. They give rates based on “example” loans, along with the monthly payments. And by all means feel free to share this with your students!

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