COLUMBIA, S.C. Many payday lending shops will be required by an industry trade group to put up small posters displaying their fees and interest rates.
But one critic said the posters are little more than window dressing for an industry long derided for taking advantage of people.
The trade group, Community Financial Services Association of America, which represents 60 percent of the industry, issued the new policy Thursday, saying consumers have a right to know the costs of payday lending in simple terms.
The posters, 18 by 22 inches, will be up by January, displaying annual percentage rates and fees.
Payday lenders offer quick cash advances for a fee that customers are supposed to repay with their next paycheck. Borrowers who cannot repay the loan often "roll over" the loan repeatedly, leading to charges that quickly add up and lead to a cycle of debt. Customers are drawn to the lenders because, unlike banks and credit unions, they don't run credit checks.
The industry has faced lawsuits, tighter regulation from state governments and mounting criticism from national groups, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
South Carolina state Sen. Vince Sheheen, a lawyer who is suing payday lenders on behalf of customers, said the posters will not help. "What's going on is we have people who are generally in very unstable situations financially," Sheheen said. "Literally it is window dressing."