I have heard very bad things about loan sharks, are PayDay Loans like this?

Not at all. A loan shark tends to be a credit provider who is not registered with the National Credit Regulator and therefore cannot legally grant credit.

As an illegal entity, a loan shark will offer loans at extremely high rates and often resort to illegal routes to recoup any losses. They use predatory lending practices, rather than trying to financially assist the debtor they go after those who are weak with everything to lose. PayDay loans however are very different. A registered credit provider, they must got through the same legal channels as any other credit provider. The only difference between this and a longer term loan is that PayDay loans allow for small amounts to be paid back in a short term, rather than a usual loan of a high amount, to be paid back over months, years or even decades.

While including higher interest rates because of the short repayment time, they are nowhere near as unreasonable as you could expect to find at a loan shark. Although these 2 styles are confused often because of the short repayment time, the loan shark remains an entity operating outside of the legal boundaries.

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