What determines payday loan interest rates?

Payday loan fees are regulated by state and federal law. Payday loan interest rates are expressed by using Annual Percentage Rate (APR).

Payday Loan Service Fees
The amount charged for a payday loan is the total amount borrowed, plus a service fee. This fee is a one-time, flat payment that varies only slightly depending upon how much is being borrowed. Payday loan service fees are regulated and dictated according to state laws where the borrower resides. Payday lenders who practice choice of law are exempt from this regulation. When a lender practices choice of law, the fees are regulated by the laws of the state in which the lender originates, and not by the state where the borrower resides. Reputable payday lenders typically avoid the practice of choice of law.

Payday Loan Interest Rates
United States federal law requires that the fees for any financial transaction be expressed to the customer in terms of annual percentage rate, or APR. The formula for APR assumes that that the loan will last a year or more. A payday loan is a two-week loan, so commonly seen APRs for payday advance loans are very high. This is because the APR is expressing the one-time loan fee in terms of an annual charge. Even though payday loans are not intended to be held for a year or longer, payday lenders express their fees in terms of APR to comply with federal law.