Can a payday lender garnish my wages?

Answer: Usually a payday lender can garnish your wages only as the result of a court order.

If you don’t repay your loan, the payday lender or a debt collector generally can sue you to collect. If they win, or if you do not dispute the lawsuit or claim, the court will enter a judgment against you. The judgment states the amount of money you owe, and allows the lender or collector to get a garnishment order against you.

Wage garnishment happens when your employer holds back a portion of your wages for your debts. If a payday lender attempts to garnish your wages without going through the legal process described above, notify the payroll department at your employer of this and contact your state's attorney general office. You may also contact a legal aid attorney for assistance.


Don't hide from bad news. Don’t ignore a lawsuit summons or other notices from a court or the lender, or the initial court proceedings against you. If you do, you could lose the opportunity to fight a wage garnishment or it could become much more difficult to do so.

Ask CFPB provides general consumer information. It is not legal advice or regulatory guidance. The CFPB updates this information periodically.

Ask CFPB includes links or references to third-party resources or content. The CFPB does not endorse the third-party or guarantee the accuracy of this third-party information. There may be other resources that also serve your needs.

Read full answer Hide full answer