Go to Your Bank. If you can get one, a personal unsecured installment loan from a bank or credit union is a much better deal than a payday loan. The interest is much lower, and you have longer to pay it back. According to the Federal Reserve, the average interest on a two-year personal loan was 9. 75 in 2015. Even more importantly, you can pay in small, manageable chunks, rather than in one lump sum.

For instance, suppose you need to borrow 500 for an emergency home repair.

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Photo: ReutersSuzanne Plunkett. A lender makes a loan. Then a borrower pays it back. And to make sure that transaction doesnt tank, theres "underwriting:" verifying that the borrower will indeed be able to make the payments. This last step would be a key lesson from the subprime mortgage crisis.

But too often, federal regulators say, that step is missing from payday loans sold to the working poor, leading borrowers cash advance on social security settlement into a debt trap. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), last week, unveiled a proposal for new rules that would make loans more affordable by giving lenders a choice.

They could gauge a borrowers ability to pay before making the loan, or have the option of offering a capped number of loans to a borrower, with an exit strategy for loans that become too much to handle. As the debate gets under way about how stringent final regulations should be, many consumer advocates are heavily in favor of option A, and dont even want option B on the table, arguing that its easier to keep borrowers from entering a debt trap than it is to pull them out later on.

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