So why not do something? The Obama administration did, in the wake of the financial crisis, creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to advocate for new rules on financial products. The CFPB worked to create a rule requiring that payday lenders determine that their borrowers could reasonably pay back their loans, which would effectively limit ultra-high interest rates that make that impossible. But the Trump administration invalidated that rule this year in a reward to the politically connected payday loan industry.

One group of Americans (besides iPhone users) merits special protection: Thanks to a 2006 law called the Military Lending Act, it is illegal in the US to make loans to active-duty military service members and their families with an interest rate over 36% annually. But their status begs the question of why other groups should not be similarly protected, or why a retired service member should lose such protection.

Last year, lawmakers introduced a bill that would extend the 36% cap to all borrowers nationwide. Around the same time, Ohio Democratic senator Sherrod Brown asked Apple to apply the limit to any apps that offer personal loans on its devices. Last month, the tech giant announced that it had voluntarily adopted the policy and would block lenders offering higher rates from accessing Apple’s hundreds of millions of users.

Asked about the policy, Apple pointed to the Military Lending Act’s standards as a useful consensus.

“The unfortunate reality is that Americans, and all too often low-income and minority Americans, are falling victim to predatory loan practices, and we wanted to do our part to prevent this opportunistic behavior,” Apple spokesperson Fred Sainz said. “By implementing the widely adopted standard set by the MLA, we can ensure we are protecting not just our service members from predatory loan terms, but our entire App Store user base all over the world.”

Still, many Americans seeking payday loans aren’t iPhone users.

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