Payday lending is prohibited in Georgia.
Georgia put a stop to payday lending practices in the state in 2004 when it put a 10% APR cap on small loans. Currently, there are no payday lenders in Georgia. Moreover, predatory high-cost lending is considered a felony here, and therefore, can be criminally prosecuted.
Georgia Payday Lending Statutes
In fact, there is a ban on payday lenders restricting their operation in the state according to the Industrial loan act (Ga. Code Ann. 7-3-14., Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. r. 80 3-1.02(7) and O. C.G.A. Section 16-17-1 et seq.).
Georgia has very strict regulations with regard to payday loans.
Certain businesses and companies have a legal right to give small cash loans but they have to comply with the regulations written in the Georgia Payday Lending Act of 2004.
Any payday lender can be punished for an unlawful transaction by the Attorney General of Georgia or any district attorney. It is written in Section 16-17-4(a), and the penalty can be three times the amount of any interest charged in this transaction. A civilly liable payday lender will have to give half of the sum to the attorney and half of it to the state. Besides, any payday loans issued illegally will be taxed at a rate of 50%.
Moreover, according to Section 16-17-7 of the Georgia Code, any interstate financial corporations caught at payday lending operation in Georgia will be immediately punished for it and their license suspended. This includes any out-of-state lenders and online tribal lenders.
Section 16-17-2 presupposes that any district attorney or the Attorney General has got a right to hold any person who issues a payday loan in the state criminally liable. Not only a person is charged with an aggravated misdemeanor, but also he is likely to be jailed for a period of about a year. Plus, a fine of up to $5,000 per violation is charged.
One payday operation equals one offense according to the state law of Georgia. 5 years of imprisonment and/or a fine of $10,000 are awaiting a person who was previously prosecuted for payday lending operations thrice.
Rates, fees and other charges in Georgia
- All small loans must have
aminimal amount of $3,000.
- Small loans less than $3,000 are capped at 10% APR.
More information about payday loan laws and regulations in Georgia can be found on the official website of the Consumer Interest Section of the Georgia Attorney General’s Office.
The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, Industrial Loan Division, handles complaints with regard to payday loans.
The History of Payday Loans in Georgia
- 1955 – The Georgia Industrial Loan Act of 1955 banned payday lending in the state by setting a state license and registration requirement and imposing st
rict usury caps.
- 2004 – The Georgia Payday Lending Act was passed. It increased the fines and criminal penalties lenders violating the laws. Some lenders claimed the law to be unconstitutional when it was enacted, however, their attempts to alter it came to nothing.
- Present days – Payday loans are currently illegal in Georgia.
(As of May 2019)