Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Payday Loans/Lending Scams

A payday lender provides a short-term loan in exchange for a person's check and a fee. The lender then holds the check for an established period of time prior to depositing it. The Florida Office of Financial Regulation regulates payday lenders. Payday loans can be extremely expensive, making it a costly investment if you are unable to pay the loan off quickly.

Desperate economic times have led many cash-strapped families to apply for payday loans through online lenders. Unlike local payday lenders, many online payday lenders require your bank account information. Providing bank account information to an online payday lender can leave you at the mercy of the lender as they withdraw more money than expected from your account.

Under Florida law, payday loans cannot be made in any amount greater than $500. Additionally, payday lenders may not charge fees that exceed 10 percent of the currency or payment instrument provided. Dealing with online unlicensed payday lenders, which may be located out of state or outside the country, makes it difficult to resolve potential problems.

Protect Yourself from Payday Lending Scams

  • Borrow only what you can afford to pay back.
  • Verify if the business is licensed by calling the Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) at (850) 487-9687 or by visiting OFR's website.
  • Be cautious of any lender that does not ask you to provide any background information outside of your bank account number.
  • Be wary of online payday loans. Not only do you risk exposing your personal information to criminals, online loans normally have higher fees and interest rates than loans applied for through a local lender.