Those high-interest payday loans were so financially devastating to consumers who were already struggling that many states — including New Jersey — banned them.

That merely ushered in a whole new kind of predatory lending known as the installment loan. Marketed to consumers with troubled credit, these loans have the appearance of a loan that you might get from a bank but with longer repayment terms, However, they’re often just long term payday loans that keep hapless borrowers in an endless cycle of debt.

These installment loans, which are sometimes marketed via storefront lenders and sometimes found online, seem better than payday loans because their interest is lower than a payday loan and the payments are smaller. But it’s not unusual for borrowers who are already struggling to “recycle” their installment loans when they can’t afford to pay them off. Ultimately, that can leave someone paying more than 100% interest on whatever they borrow.

The debt trap is real. Most people get into a financial mess with these kinds of loans simply because they have a small emergency, no savings and no other options. It’s a desperate move, but it often just delays the financial reckoning that the consumer is already facing.

If your debts are overwhelming and you’re caught in an installment loan trap, it may be time to consider bankruptcy protection. Bankruptcy can give you the fresh start you need — which can ultimately allow you to break the cycle that’s kept your credit score down and prevented you from making progress on your goals. Talk to an attorney today about your options for relief.