The main reason why payday loans are popular is because they’re ridiculously easy to qualify for, but signature loans are just as easy to qualify for. Just like payday loans, your credit score & history isn’t a major factor and your approval is based on your ability to pay back the loan. That’s one reason why they’re called signature loans, all you need to qualify is a signature.

We recommend exploring alternatives before getting a payday loan. These are expensive loans with high fees, and they can catch you up in a cycle of taking out new loans to pay off previous ones. Each state regulates payday loans differently – some outright ban them. As such, depending on where you live, the costs vary widely. With this in mind, our pick for the top payday lender is Check Into Cash. It is the most broadly available lender, with stores and online loans available in 32 states. It offers a variety of payday loans, installment loans and lines of credit.


The likelihood that a family will use a payday loan increases if they are unbanked or underbanked, or lack access to a traditional deposit bank account. In an American context the families who will use a payday loan are disproportionately either of black or Hispanic descent, recent immigrants, and/or under-educated.[15] These individuals are least able to secure normal, lower-interest-rate forms of credit. Since payday lending operations charge higher interest-rates than traditional banks, they have the effect of depleting the assets of low-income communities.[22] The Insight Center, a consumer advocacy group, reported in 2013 that payday lending cost U.S communities $774 million a year.[23]
The best way out can depend on where you took out the loan. Laws governing payday loans vary from state to state. Some states, like Colorado, are currently working to change the way payday loans are administered in order to make it easier for customers to pay loans back and avoid the snowball effect of constant loan renewal. Other states require payday lenders to offer borrowers an  Extended Payment Plan (EPP), which stops the accrual of fees and interest.
If you are late on a payment, you usually have to pay a late fee. Lenders may allow a grace period of 10 or 15 days before they charge a late fee. Typical late fees range from $15 to $30, with some lenders charging 5 percent of your monthly loan amount or $15, whichever is greater. Some personal loan lenders do not have late fees. The fees for a returned payment and/or to process a check can be up to $15.
Other options are available to most payday loan customers.[77] These include pawnbrokers, credit union loans with lower interest and more stringent terms which take longer to gain approval,[78] employee access to earned but unpaid wages,[79][80][81][82][83][84] credit payment plans, paycheck cash advances from employers ("advance on salary"), auto pawn loans, bank overdraft protection, cash advances from credit cards, emergency community assistance plans, small consumer loans, installment loans and direct loans from family or friends. The Pew Charitable Trusts found in 2013 their study on the ways in which users pay off payday loans that borrowers often took a payday loan to avoid one of these alternatives, only to turn to one of them to pay off the payday loan.[85]

In many cases, borrowers write a post-dated check (check with a future date) to the lender; if the borrowers don't have enough money in their account by the check's date, their check will bounce. In Texas, payday lenders are prohibited from suing a borrower for theft if the check is post-dated. One payday lender in the state instead gets their customers to write checks dated for the day the loan is given. Customers borrow money because they don't have any, so the lender accepts the check knowing that it would bounce on the check's date. If the borrower fails to pay on the due date, the lender sues the borrower for writing a hot check.[33]


Customer Notice: There are a wide variety of loan products available in the marketplace, so your choice of lending products should match your financial needs. Small-dollar loans used over a long period of time can be expensive. To view a list of the states we service online, please visit our Rates and Terms page. For our privacy policy, please visit our privacy policy page. Notice to CA customers: Check Into Cash is licensed by the Department of Business Oversight pursuant to the California Deferred Deposit Transaction Law. Notice to OH customers: In Ohio, Check Into Cash operates as a registered credit services organization (CSO). The actual lender is an unaffiliated third party. CS.900185.000. In Ohio, Loan By Phone operates as a registered Credit Services Organization (CSO). The actual lender is an unaffiliated third party. CS 900138.000. Ohio in-store license. Notice to UT customers: For questions or complaints please call the Utah Department of Financial Institutions at 801-538-8830 (UT customers only). Notice to LA customers: If you cannot make payment when due, you can ask to enter into an extended payment plan once in a twelve-month period, but the request must be made before payment is due. Should your lender (Check Into Cash) refuse to enter into an extended payment plan upon your request before the due date, contact the Office of Financial Institutions at 1-888-525-9414 (LA customers only). TX customers: In Texas, Check Into Cash operates as a Licensed Credit Access Business (CAB). The actual Lender is an unaffiliated third party. Notice: An advance of money obtained through a Small Loan or Auto Loan is not intended to meet long-term financial needs. A Small Loan or Auto Title Loan should only be used to meet immediate short-term cash needs. Refinancing the loan rather than paying the debt in full when due will require the payment of additional charges. Check Into Cash engages in the money transmission business as an authorized delegate of Western Union Financial Services, Inc. under Chapter 151 of the Texas Finance Code.VA customers: CREDITCORP OF VIRGINIA IS LICENSED BY THE STATE CORPORATION COMMISSION. VA LICENSE # VTL-10.
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If you are unable to pay your loan when it is due, Moneytree offers a payment plan for payday loans only. You must request a payment plan before the deposit time on the day your loan is due to restructure the payment terms to at least four (4) substantially equal payments. You may choose this option once per 12-month period. There is no charge to enter into the payment plan. 
Income tax refund anticipation loans are not technically payday loans (because they are repayable upon receipt of the borrower's income tax refund, not at his next payday), but they have similar credit and cost characteristics. A car title loan is secured by the borrower's car, but are available only to borrowers who hold clear title (i.e., no other loans) to a vehicle. The maximum amount of the loan is some fraction of the resale value of the car. A similar credit facility seen in the UK is a logbook loan secured against a car's logbook, which the lender retains.[92] These loans may be available on slightly better terms than an unsecured payday loan, since they are less risky to the lender. If the borrower defaults, then the lender can attempt to recover costs by repossessing and reselling the car.
Adam West is the Managing Editor for BadCredit.org, where he regularly coordinates with financial experts and industry movers and shakers to report the latest information, news, and advice on topics related to helping subprime borrowers achieve greater financial literacy and improved credit scores. Adam has more than a dozen years of editing, writing, and graphic design experience for award-winning print and online publications, and specializes in the areas of credit scores, subprime financial products and services, and financial education.
RISE also offers tools to help you build your credit. You can sign up for Credit Score Plus, which lets you check your TransUnion score and sends you alerts when something impacts your credit. Having bad credit can close avenues to less costly loans, so having tools that help you improve your credit can help you avoid paying the expensive rates payday lenders charge.
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You can see how rolling over loans can lead to you paying much more than you initially borrowed. If you’re considering a payday loan but are worried about being able to pay it back, look into an installment loan. These tend to have smaller payments spread out over a longer time period. You can also work on improving your credit to become eligible for personal loans or credit cards, which have lower rates and monthly minimum payments.
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