Now, 152 percent is steep by Citibank standards, but it's a sweet deal compared to the terms offered by the "payday loan" companies, which charge average APRs of nearly 500 percent for their very legal loans. Payday loan companies, which include such chains as ACE Cash Express and the cheerfully named Check Into Cash, operate like this: If a borrower needs, say, $200, he writes a personal check to the payday loan company for, say, $250, but postdates it to his next payday. The company gives him $200 and keeps the $50 as its fee when it cashes the postdated check on its day of reckoning. If the borrower's account is empty that day, the borrower must "rollover" the loan, that is, pay the operator another hefty fee to prevent the check from bouncing. Payday lenders routinely threaten habitual defaulters with check-forging charges.