Consumer Alert: Unlicensed Payday Lenders

  
     
August 14, 2014

The Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) advises consumers to be on guard for unlicensed payday lenders when seeking a payday loan. Deferred Presentment Providers, also known as payday loan lenders, provide small, short-term loans for a fee by holding a check from the person seeking the loan. The lender holds the check for a specific period of time before depositing it.

Florida’s payday lenders hold a license and are regulated by the OFR. However, a growing number of unlicensed payday lending companies are preying on consumers. These unauthorized companies charge interest and fees in excess of the permissible limits mandated by the state.

Florida has extensive rules that govern how payday lenders operate. Unlicensed lenders advertise loans that fail to comply with Florida’s consumer protection laws, including the number of payday loans that a consumer can have open at one time, the amount of the loan, and allowable fees. While the offer of immediate cash might be enticing, these loans prey upon consumers who may be experiencing financial distress and evade all the consumer protections offered by properly regulated payday loans.

Effective July 1, 2014, the Florida Legislature provided additional protections to consumers in this state through a new law that renders any payday loan made by unauthorized lenders unenforceable and uncollectable in Florida.

The OFR encourages consumers be aware of unauthorized payday lenders and to do their research before taking out a payday loan. Under Florida Law, payday loans must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Cannot exceed $500 per loan.
  • Only one outstanding loan at any time. This is tracked through a statewide loan database.
  • Charge a maximum fee of 10 percent of the amount borrowed plus up to a $5.00 verification fee, which must be supported by actual costs to the lender.
  • Loan terms must be between 7 and 31 days.
  • Provide the consumer a 60-day grace period without additional charge if the consumer is unable to pay the loan in full by the end of the loan term.

 If you feel that you may be a victim of fraud or to report suspicious activity, please file a complaint with the OFR online, www.flofr.com, or call (850) 487-9687.

The Florida Office of Financial Regulation provides regulatory oversight for Florida’s financial services providers. Our mission is to protect Floridians, promote a safe and sound financial marketplace, and contribute to the growth of Florida’s economy with smart, efficient and effective regulation of the financial services industry.

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