When facing an important economic decision, consumers must consider the pros and cons of using credit cards compared to quick-fix options such as short term loans. Sometimes, overdraft fees from banks and credit unions - as well as the consequences of missing a bill payment - can become too burdensome, and consumers may turn to short term loans as a viable alternative, the Clarion Ledger reports. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, nearly 50 percent of U.S. citizens stated that they couldn't come up with $2,000 over the course of 30 days if necessary. Approximately 38 percent of households with annual income of more than $100,000 also stated they couldn't easily cope with that expense in such a short time period, indicating that the situation is not restricted to the middle and lower classes. "(Short term loans are) often cheaper than alternatives, such as an unauthorised overdraft - and it is a simple solution to short-term credit needs, where the cost and duration of the loan is known upfront, and which doesn't involve running up long-term debt," said Sarah Carroll, operations manager at Short term Express. According to price comparison website Moneysupermarket.com, there was a 400 percent increase in the number of online searches for short term loans between January and March of this year.