Suggested Lead: The check advance industry is cashing in on a billion dollars a year in business. Is part of the profits coming from you? Bankrate.com has some better options.

Voice over 1: An unexpected expense like a car repair can really throw a wrench into things when you have just enough money to coast to your next paycheck.

Voice over 2: But if you’ve got a regular job and a checking account, in most places you can cash a personal check today and have it deposited two weeks later at a check advance place. Pawn shops are another place for quick, short-term loans.

Voice over 3: (GRAPHIC OPTION: Freeze and Add Chyron: Check Advance: 400% Credit Card: 20%) While these places may offer you a short-term lift, you’re going to pay for it. Depending on the law where you live, interest rates on these loans can be as high as 400%. That’s 20 times the interest rate on a credit card.

Voice over 4: (Cash until Payday Options: 1. Credit Card 2. Emergency Fund) So credit cards are a better idea. A better idea is to stash money away for emergencies. Having trouble getting a savings plan started? Have a little bit taken out of each paycheck by your employer so you save some money before you can spend it.

Voice over 5: (Cash until payday options: 1. Credit Card 2. Emergency Fund 3. Overdraft Protection) You could also get overdraft protection on your checking account, which has the bonus of protecting you from bounced-check fees as well as being a source for emergency cash. Average interest rate? 18 to 24 percent.

Standup: Bottom line? Bad things happen to good people, but paying 400 percent interest is no way to keep your finances in good repair. So plan ahead now and you’ll have better options down the road. For Bankrate.com, I’m Kristin Arnold.