Payday & Auto Title Lending Reform

Texas Appleseed supports fair, equitable interest and fee charges for payday, auto title and other small dollar loans. Texas currently has little to no oversight or regulation of the payday and auto title lending industry compared with many other states. In Texas, these loans often carry rates of 500 percent APR or higher. We work at the local, state and federal levels to ensure effective payday industry regulation and oversight, including encouraging cities to pass Texas’ unified ordinance, which adds basic, common-sense standards to control predatory practices in the payday and auto title lending marketplace. Our work on small-dollar lending is centered around three important areas to achieve meaningful reform — expanding market-based fair loan options, making strides in regulatory reform, and offering financial education to those who need it.

Texas Appleseed is also part of the Texas Fair Lending Alliance, a coalition of organizations and individuals working to transform the Texas payday and auto title loan market from one based on a cycle of debt, to one that thrives on success.


  • Payday Lending Dashboard: Texas has some of the highest costs for payday and auto title loans in the county. Average APRs range from 200% to over 500%. The high charges, along with a loan structure that traps borrowers in a cycle of debt, undermine financial well-being for Texans and drain money from nonprofits and local economies. Our new dashboard offers a tool for individuals, community leaders, and policymakers to understand the statewide and local costs and impacts of payday and auto title loans.
  • New Texas Law: In 2019, successfully advocated to ensure state oversight of online consumer lending through an amendment to Sunset Bill HB 1442, which reauthorized the Texas Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner (OCCC).
  • 46 Texas Cities Adopt Unified Ordinance. The ordinance sets basic affordability standards for payday and auto title loans. Without statewide regulation, local municipalities are passing the unified ordinance to help borrowers avoid a never-ending cycle of debt. Along with local advocates, Texas Appleseed advises jurisdictions on the benefits of the unified ordinance and the process for enacting it. A 2019 analysis showed that the ordinance has beneficial local impacts, including reducing all of the following: refinances, new loans, vehicle repossessions, and fees. Texas Appleseed has also published a toolkit to support city efforts to expand affordable loans. 
  • Veterans and Small-Dollar Loan Locations. Although federal rules are in place to protect military personnel from the abuses of payday loans, research by Texas Appleseed provides a first look at payday and auto title stores locations around veterans’ facilities. It shows that 82 percent of zip codes that have a veterans’ facility also have one or more payday or auto title businesses in the same zip code. Nearly half (48 percent) of the veterans’ facilities in Texas have five or more payday and auto title lending locations within the same zip code (see interactive state map). Learn more here.
  • Payday Businesses Unlawfully File 1,500 Criminal Complaints Against Borrowers to Collect Money. Texas borrowers are facing threats of criminal prosecution, arrest warrants, court appearances, jail time and fines stemming from the payday industry’s illegal practice of using the criminal justice system to collect on debts. View our releasecomplaint and infographic.
  • With Community Loan Center programs, consumers in several parts of the state will have an alternative to borrowing from payday and auto title lenders. Texas Appleseed was a key partner in developing and promoting these new market alternatives.
  • Your Story for Texas Fair Lending Alliance. TFLA wants the voices of everyday Texans to be heard. If you are trapped making payments on a cash loan or if you’re struggling to pay off the loan, you can share your story with TFLA here. Hearing real stories helps TFLA understand the problems that Texans are encountering when they take out small-dollar loans.


  • 10 million Texas residents are now protected from abusive payday and auto title lending by strong city ordinances which Texas Appleseed has helped pass.
  • Supported the creation of market alternatives to payday and auto title loans, so that now borrowers in several Texas cities are not reliant on abusive loan products.

Read more here »


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