What could possibly be more ubiquitous than McDonald's? Payday lenders, according to an article running in Inside the Vault, a newsletter put out by the St. Louis Federal Reserve. By its count, there are roughly 20,000 payday lender locations in the US, which works out to one for about every 16,000 people. McDonald's currently has 14,267 locations, per NBC News, which notes that the small (typically $500 or less), short-term (most often 14 days, as full payment of the loan and fees is due on the borrower's next payday) loans are most typically used by those "at or near the bottom of the economic spectrum."
And those that make use of payday lenders may find their financial situation worsened: The mean payday borrower makes $22,476 a year and paid $458, or 2% of their annual income, in fees. And those using payday loans typically owe money to lenders during 55% of the year. And as the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau put it in a 2013 report, "these products may become harmful for consumers when they are used to make up for chronic cash flow shortages." (Read more loans stories.)