If you have defaulted on a payday loan, or are concerned that you will default on one in the near future, you may be concerned that you will go to jail for not paying the loan. However, in the United States borrowers who are not able to pay back a loan cannot be jailed for failing to by a debt. It is against federal law. There are bankruptcy and federal laws that enable borrowers who have defaulted on their loans to file for bankruptcy protection.
However, a creditor may pursue collection through legal collection methods, which may include civil courts. You could see some jail time if your lender successfully sues you for assets, such as a lien on your personal property or garnishment of your wages, and you refuse to comply. Failure to comply could include consequences as dire as jail time.
If you are summoned to court on a defaulted payday loan, be sure to attend your court date. Failure to do so will result in an automatic win for the lender and consequences for you.
It is always in your best interest to attempt work with your lender as soon as you know you will be unable to repay your debt to avoid defaulting on a loan. Typically, lenders would much rather collect money from you rather than selling your debt to an outside collections agency or engaging in costly legal services.