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Would you tip a payday lender? A new cash app relies on a controversial business model

Wednesday, May 18, 2022
Laurence Darmiento | Los Angeles Times
Peter Smith
That less-than-personal touch has given ammunition to critics, who say deceptive interfaces and bogus promotions of “community” are used by cash-advance apps to persuade customers to tip the businesses as if they are Uber drivers. “It’s a bad incentive structure that simply seeks to kind of shroud these fees and the actual cost of the service of the loan from consumers,” says Peter Smith, a senior researcher at the Center for Responsible Lending. “These are highly capitalized entities that are seeking to make money in a way that sometimes is fairly shrouded from the consumer.”