On the 1st and 15th of every month, people line up inside the check cashing stores at the south end of San Leandro along East 14th Street.
The stores serve people who don't have bank accounts.
Some people simply pay a fee to cash paychecks.
Others take cash advances of up to $300 at interest rates that can become astronomical if the borrower fails to repay promptly.
A decade ago a San Francisco Chronicle article likened the so-called payday loan industry to "legalized loan-sharking."
Last month, the San Jose Mercury reported that payday lenders are trying to boost their lending limit from $300 to $500 and making campaign contributions to further their legislation.
Outside a check cashing store near Bay Fair Center, Charlotte Whitaker said she paid a $20 fee to cash her $840 Social Security disability check because she didn't have a bank account.
"But I never borrow money because I know I couldn't pay it back," she said.
Another woman, who identified herself as Val, said she had borrowed and gladly paid the interest.
"When you need it, it's a blessing," she said, adding, "Banks ain't gonna give it to you."
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