Five Types of Predatory Lending: Know the Signs to Avoid Their Traps

Updated on April 30, 2020
mark0353 profile image

Hello, my name is Mark. I am a writer and project manager and love to share my articles for you.


Five Types of Predatory Lending Traps

Predatory lending is basically unfair, deceptive or misleading practices that occur during loan origination and booking or other financial transactions. It happens when unsuspecting consumers are intentionally led into paying fees or accepting a loan that has built-in disadvantages that can wreak financial havoc on a family’s budget and credit. To protect yourself, you need to know the signs of predatory lending.

1. Paycheck Traps

One of the most common and obvious predatory loans out there is the so-called “payday” loan, where consumers are given small loans guaranteed by future paychecks. These loans are typically made at check-cashing stores or specialty lending stores.

A recent study by the nonpartisan Center for Responsible Lending shows that Americans pay over $3.4 billion in loan fees each year. These loans are promoted as short-term loans – usually two weeks in length – but are actually designed to entrap consumers for long periods of time with mountains of fees by continually renewing or “churning” the loan. In fact, the annual percentage rate (APR) on payday loans is frequently 400% or higher. Legislation on these lenders continues to lag and less than half of the states currently provide any consumer protection against them. The simplest advice possible is, don’t take one of these loans. Options that may be more suited to your needs include personal loans and financing from a bank or credit union.

2. Homeowner Traps

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, predatory lending against homeowners includes lenders, appraisers, mortgage brokers and others who use convincing, high-pressure tactics to:

  • Sell properties using false appraisals to artificially inflate the value.
  • Tell borrowers to lie about their income, expenses, or cash available for down payments in order to get the loan.
  • Lend more money than they know a borrower can repay.
  • Charge higher interest rates by using sub-prime loans, based on the borrowers’ race or national origin instead of their credit history. In fact, according to a report by the National Association of Consumer Advocates, more than half of refinanced mortgages in predominantly African-American neighborhoods are sub-prime loans, compared to only 9% of refinances in predominantly white neighborhoods.
  • Charge fees for nonexistent or unwanted and unneeded products and services.
  • Convince consumers to accept higher-risk loans, including those with a final balloon payment, interest-only payments (where no equity is achieved), and loans that carry expensive pre-payment penalties.
  • Prey on borrowers who are in need of cash due to medical, unemployment, or debt problems with unscrupulous “cash-out” deals.
  • Encourage borrowers to repeatedly refinance their loans, thus “stripping” homeowners’ equity from their homes when there is actually no benefit to the borrower. Every refinance adds new fees and drains any equity that may have been achieved.

3. Predatory Car Dealers

To It’s an old stereotype but it continues today … some car dealers are frequent consumer abusers and predatory lenders, with carefully scripted loan closing tactics to convince buyers to purchase expensive add-ons at the financing desk. Avoiding these dealers can be challenging. Since these add-ons are typically included in the financing, they inflate the loan and payment amount. According to Bill Goldberg, president of AutoAdvisors, in Orlando, Fla., “The smallest percentage of the profit a dealer makes is on the purchase price. The largest share of the profit is made in the business office where financing and insurance products are offered after the selling price has been negotiated. The customer believes the selling process is over when the most important part has yet to begin.”

After beating you up for several hours negotiating the price, the car dealer moves in for the kill with high-profit add-ons such as guaranteed asset protection (GAP) insurance to cover a loss when you still owe more than the vehicle is worth. Many credit unions will provide GAP insurance for half the cost when you borrow from them.

Another add-on that will cost you dearly is vehicle disability and life insurance. If you already have such insurance, you certainly don’t need a new policy to pay off the vehicle in case you should pass away or become disabled. This expensive insurance (and other add-ons) may be included in your financing sheet without your awareness. Have it removed. Other expensive add-ons you’re likely to encounter include rust proofing, vehicle service contracts, theft deterrent packages, and window etching. These are all huge profit centers for dealers and sold to you with high-pressure tactics.

A popular financing tactic is the car dealer kickback of the so-called “buy rate” offered by a bank. The lender (bank) may approve you for a 3% loan, for example, but the dealer neglects to reveal this rate, instead convincing you to accept say, 5% and in effect, the dealer gets a 2% “kickback” on the loan. Know what rate you are truly qualified for before signing any paperwork. Also, if you are offered a “conditional” sale and drive your new car home, don’t be surprised to find your conditional loan rate has soon after been sharply inflated requiring a new, higher-rate loan and by the way, your trade-in is long gone so there is no recourse.

Finally, beware of a mandatory arbitration clause in your loan contract. It voids your opportunity to seek legal recourse in the event of a dispute.

4. Banks and Credit Unions Also Have Traps

To In addition to payday loans, other short-term predatory loans include overdraft protection loans offered by banks and credit unions where you’re allowed to bounce a check or payment if your account funds are insufficient in return for high fees that amount to a short-term loan. These fees can reach upwards of $35 per item at some large banks and the fee is collected on each paid item, so if you bounce several checks knowing that the recipient will be paid even though you don’t have the money in your account, you could end up paying hundreds of dollars in fees for the convenience of this predatory tactic. You could also incur these fees when making at ATM withdrawal or using your debit card.

5. Emergency Loan Traps

Beware of tempting car title loans, sold to you as small “emergency” loans but that require extraordinarily high-interest rates that can trap you into a never-ending debt cycle. And when you see those ads in January and February for tax refund anticipation loans, heavily marketed towards those who don’t want to wait a few weeks for the normal refund, turn off your TV or radio. These loans could carry stunningly high annual interest rates, up to 700% APR, plus you may only save a week or two compared to simply waiting for your normal refund.

For More Help

Educate yourself on your creditworthiness by understanding your actual credit score as a guideline to what interest rate you should expect to pay for a loan. Learn more about home financing predatory lending tactics from the U.S. Department of Housing and Development. Check their state-by-state listing of helpful resources for your local area.

The U.S. Attorney General’s Office provides a list of “red flag” warnings and a comprehensive list of resources that may offer additional help.

Make use of the resources available, understand your borrowing capability, and above all, avoid the high-pressure, sounds-too-good-to-be-true tactics that are frequently used to prey upon your desires to own something you cannot truly afford, or to take advantage of your financial distress.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

    © 2020 Mark


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)