If you were dying of thirst, the last place you'd want to be was in the middle of a desert. For short term lenders trying to make a living, that proverbial desert exists in Massachusetts. Currently, Massachusetts has such strict regulations on cash advances and short term loans that the industry was essentially shut down, according to the website Debt Consolidation Short term Loan. The commonwealth prohibits businesses from making loans of $6,000 or less with interest rates of 12 percent or more unless they are licensed by the Division of Banks. For those licensed in Massachusetts, the maximum annual interest rate on loans is currently capped at 23 percent with an administrative fee of $20. This small loan statute came well before the recent short term lending restrictions that are being enacted by other states in the country. Massachusetts originally implemented this law during the late 19th century to combat "loan sharking." There is an alternative for Massachusetts consumers, however. Although no short term lenders are physically located in the state, many companies offer short term loans over the internet without being subject to state regulations. These short term lending sites offer quick approvals and require very little paperwork.