Saturday, February 11, 2023

Help yourself to some InstaDebt


This App and a hundred others just like it that suddenly by total coincidence started to pop up right around the economy tanked a couple of years back (and at exactly the same time that a hundred ways to gamble your money away on football games through your phone suddenly became available, which I'm sure is also a coincidence) can sell itself as a way to "get your money early" all it wants.  But it's just new lipstick on an old pig:  We've had short-term payday loans for centuries now.   Then we had "Rapid Refund" which meant nothing more than "give us your tax refund in exchange for some money that doesn't quite equal that refund right now."  We have "Annuity" services that offer a bird in the hand to people who are stupid with money or just plain desperate.  Right now, there are at least half a dozen places within walking distance of where I'm typing that will gladly lend me money at exorbitant interest rates.  

Know what they all have in common with this App?  They all take advantage of people who live paycheck to paycheck.  They set up those people- the people who are least able to part with any of their money, the people who already live on the margins- with a debt spiral that seeks to prove that you can, actually, get blood from a stone.  And they make it seem so fast, easy, and convenient- just like brick and mortar payday lenders, without the embarrassment of actually walking into one of those places.  This is just another sign of the times, and it's really, really sad. 

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