By Amy Feldman

By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – So are payday loans always a terrible deal?

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You’ve heard the ads: I just need enough cash to tide me over till payday. That’s a payday loan, and a borrower writes a personal check payable to the lender for the amount they borrow plus the interest – which could be a $15 fee on a $100 loan.

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The loan comes due when the borrower receives his next paycheck – generally in 2 weeks or less – or would roll over and be charged another $15 to extend the loan another 2 weeks.

While a borrower is told about the fee, in many cases he doesn’t realize that it translates to an APR of over 200%. This month, state prosecutors in New York brought charges against a dozen payday loan companies for usury, the illegal practice of charging unethically high interest rates, because the interest rates of some of the indicted companies hovered between 350-650 percent, way above the state’s limit of 25% interest on loans.

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Your own bank may provide short term loans for less – even high interest credit cards have rates lower than a payday loan – so consider your options before handing over your paycheck.