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Can I File Bankruptcy With Indian Tribal Payday Loans?

Written by Steve Rhode


Dear Steve,

I am in a financial mess thanks to bad choices which I then tried to fix with a payday and internet loans.

I don’t want to file bankruptcy but I’m beginning to feel like that is my only way out of this mess. In addition to credit cards, I have several payday/Internet loans. My concern is that at least one of which is with Tribal Indian group (Plain Green Loans) can’t be included in bankruptcy. My question is can they be included?

Also since I really do not want to file bankruptcy, is it possible to negotiate settlements with these type of companies?



Dear Stephanie,

There would be nothing to prevent you from including those loans in your bankruptcy. An issue might be the loan company saying federal law doesn’t apply to them and they can make whatever loans they want from the reservation.

I don’t think that issue of tribal law versus state law has been decided.

But it seems the tribal Indian personal loan lenders can’t have it both ways. They can’t be exempt from federal laws and use federal laws to enforce your debt.

It sounds like you’ve attempted to make ends meet with credit and then finally turning to easy to get internet and payday loans.

Bankruptcy provides you the power and protection of the law to give you a fresh start and a chance to do better moving forward.

You can either stay stuck in your current downward spiral or you can learn from the situation, identify what not to do again in the future, and move ahead to a better future.

I’d like for you to read this and this and then look at my Get Out of Debt Calculator.

It’s clear you don’t want to file bankruptcy but you need to separate the hesitation if it is based on your perception of bankruptcy versus the reality.

Following bankruptcy, you will be able to rebuild your credit, start an emergency savings account, and even begin saving towards retirement. So which approach makes more logical sense: continue the path you are on or learn from what you’ve lived through and do better moving forward.

Ultimately you can’t repair the past but you can do better in the future.

Tribal Indian loans can be included in bankruptcy.

And if you want to negotiate settlements, that’s always possible. But you can file bankruptcy, get the power and protection of the law on your side, and repay your creditors afterward what you can afford to.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.


  • Stephanie, I am going to give you advice that some people are going to disagree with. If the only reason that you are considering bankruptcy is because of the payday loans, don’t do it. That will follow you around for 10 years. If any of the loan companies are still talking money out of your bank accounts, tell the company and your bank you are rescinding your authorization for any further withdrawals. Then, do not pay them another dime. They will come at you hard for about 30 days via phone. They will lie, cheat and steal to get you to make your payments. I’m assuming that if this has been on on going situation for you, you’ve probably already paid them more than they originally loaned you. It’s designed to be a treadmill that you can never get off of. Eventually they will sell this debt to a bottom-feeder collection agency that will make even more outrageous claims and lies. The chances of being sued are close to non-existent because they realize that the chances of collecting anything are small. If you are sued, invoke the arbitration clause contained on your paperwork. I’m 100% certain that Plain Green has one and when you want to have your “dispute” settled in arbitration, they’ll run. The reason for this is that consumer arbitration is very expensive for the business. They’re looking at a minimum of $7-10K for the proceeding, which they can not pass on to you. If you owe them $500 or $1000, you do the math. I’ve had a few payday loan lenders pay me a settlement just to drop my arbitration claim. All together I had about 9 payday loans that were a combination of store front and internet loans that I used this strategy. Everything I’m yelling you is from personal experience. Don’t be intimidated by these payday scammers.

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