The holidays are almost here. You’re starting to worry about how to pay for it all: the shiny new ornaments, the photos with Santa, the plane ticket home. And all those Christmas gifts.

You may be tempted by offers in the mail or your inbox labeled “Christmas loans.” Don’t fall for it. This financial product surfaces every holiday season, and it’s a bad deal. Here’s why.

It could be a payday loan

A Google search for “Christmas loans” will return hundreds of websites promising you fast cash. But many Christmas loans are simply payday loans in festive disguise.

These lenders typically don’t check your credit and promise to send you money within 24 hours.

The catch? Your interest rate will be well into the triple digits, and you’ll have to pay back all the money, plus interest, in a few weeks or months.

For example, a $500 loan due in two weeks for a fee of $75 equals an annual percentage rate of 390%, typical of payday loans.

You’ll also have to let the lender access your bank account to collect payments, leaving you vulnerable to costly overdraft fees if you don’t have the funds ready.

Online Christmas loans aren’t cheap

If your credit is average, even non-payday loans aren’t a cheap option.

Christmas loans from online lenders are actually plain old unsecured personal loans by another name. The rate you qualify for depends on your credit score, credit history, debt and income. A personal loan from any reputable lender typically spans two…