You would never hand over your paycheck to a creditor, would you?  Of course if you were under threat or order by a court you may hand over your paycheck; but never voluntarily. Right? Well, surprisingly many debtors do just that when they agree to “voluntary wage assignments.” A voluntary wage assignment is an agreement between a creditor and debtor that says the lender can deduct a certain amount of money from the debtor’s paycheck to repay a loan.

Voluntary wage assignments are commonly used by payday lenders. Surprised? You shouldn’t be.  Payday lenders understand that the reason debtors use their “services” is because they are financially strapped and desperate for cash.  But because their interest rates and fees are astronomically high, most debtors experience “payment shock” and may try to avoid paying them when the bill is due. So to protect their interests in the loan, payday lenders are now using voluntary wage assignments to increase their chances of getting paid.

How Voluntary Wage Assignment  Works

A voluntary wage assignment works just like a wage garnishment , except that the debtor has agreed to it. If a debtor defaults on the payday loan, the lender can then garnish the debtor’s wages without going to court. Once a debtor defaults on their payday loan, the lender will send the debtor a notice informing them that they plan to implement the voluntary wage assignment (i.e. wage garnishment).  This usually happens 20 days before the wage assignment notice is sent to the employer.  A wage assignment is valid for up to 3 years. In other words, the payday lender could technically garnish your wages for 3 years or until the loan is repaid.

For obvious reasons, agreeing to a wage assignment isn’t smart. You give the payday lender access to your wages and make it easier for them when you are not legally required to do so.  Signing a voluntary wage assignment can place you and your family in dire straits, if the lender garnishes wages that you need for your mortgage/rent, food and medical care. If you have signed a voluntary wage garnishment, you can revoke the agreement by sending the lender a letter. Remember, Payday Loans are Dischargeable in Bankruptcy

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