Heartland Payment Systems (NYSE:HPY)  has teamed up with private lending company Encore to offer qualified Heartland customers alternative working capital loans with guaranteed annual percentage rates that will not exceed 30 percent.

The loans will be made largely to small and midsize business customers wanting to improve or expand their operations. Heartland will not receive any compensation from its customers purchasing these loan products.

"Through our work with hundreds of thousands of businesses across the country, we have seen predatory lending rates at greater than triple what Encore is guaranteeing to our merchants," Sanford Brown, Heartland's chief sales officer, said in a statement. "Many business owners endure inflated rates because they are misled about the actual APRs they are paying or feel they have no choice but to accept these existing usurious short-term lending products. Unfortunately, these rates are often the final stake that puts these companies out of business."

Published on: Dec 17, 2007