Back to School with Lions and Bears?

These predators will eat your lunch and more

Andy Spears


From an email sent by Dave to encourage taking a loan for Back to School

Turns out, there are some new bullies seeking to take more than just your lunch when you head back to school.

Fintech payday predators are out in force, encouraging families to use app-based loans to manage back-to-school costs.

The ad above from Dave is one example. And it sounds so simple. Just take out a payday advance and buy what you need to get back to school. You can just “settle up later.” And, with no fees. Except, well, then there’s the fine print.

Sure, it’s technically possible to borrow without fees. But, if you can’t settle up, as they say, then, well, there are fees. And then, there’s the matter of the tips.

More on that fine print:

A story from the L.A. Times digs deeper, explaining just how bad the fees associated with friendly, cartoon bear apps can be.

Here’s how the Times broke down the fees associated with a loan from Dave:

Given that the money had to be repaid in 12 days, the $5.99 fee and $2 tip, if considered as interest, cost Goad 122% on an annual percentage rate basis — a metric that helps compare the relative cost of loans. If he tipped $6.93, the company’s average in the first quarter, it would amount to an APR of nearly 200%. If he chose a 15% tip, the total cost would rise to $35.99 with an APR of 547% — corner payday loan territory.

So, sure, it’s easy to deal with Dave — as long as you don’t mind paying 100%-500% on the borrowed cash.

Then, there’s MoneyLion.

MoneyLion website promotion for back-to-school cash loans

MoneyLion is so nice, they’ve got back-to-school tips.

Students, parents, and teachers all can’t wait to find out what a lending lion has to say about going back to school.

MoneyLion’s #1 Back-to-School Tip? Take out a loan from MoneyLion! RAWR!

Wait, what?



Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .