Gary Coleman, Shilling for the Loan Sharks (or:’s 99.25% APR Loans)

While clicking through the “Related Videos” on the YouTube page for Checkmate, the video about check-cashing services featured in the previous post, I stumbled into this ad for featuring Gary Coleman. Take a look; it’s a mere 10 seconds:

I vaguely recall seeing this ad on TV, and according to this article in, they were running ads that you could see here in Canada on A&E back in February of this year. I didn’t pay much attention to the ad on TV, but noticed the “fine print” at the end when watching it on YouTube. Here’s a still frame from the end of the ad, enlarged for legibility with the really interesting stuff highlighted:

\"Fine print\" at the end of a TV ad mentioning a 99.25% APR.

Let me repeat the most important part of the fine print:

The APR for a typical loan of $2,600 is 99.25% with 42 monthly payments of $216.55.

There’s a term that describes interest rates like this: usury. There’s also a term for people who charge interest rates like this: mobsters.

For those of you who are math-phobic, 42 monthly payments of $216.55 means that when gives you a loan of $2,600:

  • You will pay it back over three and a half years…
  • …during which time you’ll pay them back 42 times $216.55, which comes out to $9,095.10. This is just a shade under three and a half times the money you borrowed.

(By the bye, you should become familiar with APR, as it’s supposed to reflect the true cost of a loan, and under the right conditions can make it easier to compare lenders. In addition to the Wikipedia article, consult this page and this page to find out more about it.)

If you want to find out more about their rates, here’s their Rates page. To calculate how much you’d end up paying for a loan, multiply the figure in the “Number of Payments” column by the figure in the corresponding “Payment Amount” column. For example, if you live in California and wanted to borrow $10,000 (a loan available to “Exceptionally qualified applicants only”), you would spend almost $31,000 paying it back over 10 years.

“Loans that fit your lifestyle” is’s slogan. If that slogan applies to you, you might want to put your lifestyle (and financial planning skills) under review.

Leave a Reply