The basic loan process involves a lender providing a short-term unsecured loan to be repaid at the borrower's next payday. Typically, some verification of employment or income is involved (via pay stubs and bank statements), although according to one source, some payday lenders do not verify income or run credit checks. Individual companies and franchises have their own underwriting criteria.
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.
According to a study by The Pew Charitable Trusts, "Most payday loan borrowers [in the United States] are white, female, and are 25 to 44 years old. However, after controlling for other characteristics, there are five groups that have higher odds of having used a payday loan: those without a four-year college degree; home renters; African Americans; those earning below $40,000 annually; and those who are separated or divorced." Most borrowers use payday loans to cover ordinary living expenses over the course of months, not unexpected emergencies over the course of weeks. The average borrower is indebted about five months of the year.
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A payday loan (also called a payday advance, salary loan, payroll loan, small dollar loan, short term, or cash advance loan) is a small, short-term unsecured loan, "regardless of whether repayment of loans is linked to a borrower's payday." The loans are also sometimes referred to as "cash advances," though that term can also refer to cash provided against a prearranged line of credit such as a credit card. Payday advance loans rely on the consumer having previous payroll and employment records. Legislation regarding payday loans varies widely between different countries, and in federal systems, between different states or provinces.
Filing for personal bankruptcy may be an option if your debt is completely out of control, but keep in mind that it comes with some serious consequences. While bankruptcy may help you escape payday loans and other debts owed, it also means a huge blemish on your credit reports for up to 10 years in some cases. That can result in you being denied future credit, mortgages and other financial opportunities. It can even make things like auto insurance more expensive. That’s why it’s best to exhaust all other possible options before making this choice.
We stuck with direct lenders who comply with state laws. A good way to tell if a lender follows the rules is if its website asks what state you live in before giving you a quote. If a lender says all loans have the same fee no matter where you live, that’s a tipoff you may be dealing with a less-reputable lender you should avoid. We didn’t include any of those lenders on our lineup.
Payday loans can be very costly. Loan amounts generally range from $50 to $1,000, depending on state laws. Fees also depend on state laws, but the structure might be something like $15 per $100 borrowed, and some states may cap how high the fee goes. Because the loans have such short terms, the cost of borrowing is generally high. A typical payday loan with a two-week term and a $15 per $100 fee has an annual percentage rate (APR) of nearly 400%, according to the CFPB. (Here’s a primer on how interest rates work.)
Depending on the lender, you should receive your funds within a few days, though it could vary from one business day up to several weeks. Funds will typically be deposited into the checking account you specify during the loan process, and they can then be withdrawn as cash, spent via your bank card, or used to make payments and purchases online like any other funds.
That’s all it takes! Most people are able to complete the application for an online payday loan within just a few minutes. Lending decisions are made promptly, ensuring you do not have to spend a lot of time wondering and worrying about your approval; if your loan is approved, you could have the funds deposited into your account within just a few hours.
Some of the lenders in our network participate in what is known as automatic loan renewal. Simply put, if your loan is beyond a specific amount of time past due, your lender will rollover your loan. This may be offered to you in addition to options like repaying your loan in full at a later date or repaying your debt in installments over time. The minimum term for an automatic renewal is 15 days and you will likely be required to pay renewal fees and additional interest charges.
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In May 2008, the debt charity Credit Action made a complaint to the United Kingdom Office of Fair Trading (OFT) that payday lenders were placing advertising which violated advertising regulations on the social network website Facebook. The main complaint was that the APR was either not displayed at all or not displayed prominently enough, which is clearly required by UK advertising standards.
Though regulated at the state and federal level, there are still payday lenders that attempt to skirt the rules. Some are online-only lenders based in other countries. Other lenders work around state laws by operating out of Native American reservations. Be wary of brokers that offer to connect you with lending partners – this can result in a lot of calls and emails about offers.
We spoke to John Fairbanks at the National Credit Union Administration who told us that “Many credit unions have their own programs to provide small-dollar, short-term loans, either in lieu of payday loans or as a means of helping members get rid of existing payday loans so they can begin to rehabilitate their credit.” Payday alternative loans are available through federal credit unions and have applications fees that are capped at $20 for the entire amount of the loan. State credit unions also offer similar short-term, small-dollar loans.
Some payday loan companies gather your personal information and then shop around for a lender. That means your information could go out to third parties as part of the lending process. Other companies will even sell contact information, leaving you dealing with sales calls and spam emails. LendUp protects customer information and will never sell it.
Say your car broke down and you decide to borrow $300 for the repairs from a payday lender. You’ll write a post-dated personal check for $340 (the amount, plus a $40 finance fee), made payable to the lender. You enter this information online when applying for a payday loan on the internet. The lender then advances you $300 for a set period, usually 14 days. When that period ends, you pay the lender $340 in cash, let them deposit the post-dated check or write another post-dated check for the amount, plus an additional finance fee.
Payday loans are unsecured personal loans targeted at people who need money fast but don’t possess the type of credit or collateral required for a more traditional loan. Usually the only requirements to qualify for a payday loan are an active bank account and a job. Companies like MaxLend, RISE Credit, and CashMax have made an art out of providing high-interest loans to people who feel desperate and out of options.
Prior to 2009 regulation of consumer credit was primarily conducted by the states and territories. Some states such as New South Wales and Queensland legislated effective annual interest rate caps of 48%. In 2008 the Australian states and territories referred powers of consumer credit to the Commonwealth. In 2009 the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth) was introduced, which initially treated payday lenders no differently from all other lenders. In 2013 Parliament tightened regulation on the payday lending further introducing the Consumer Credit and Corporations Legislation Amendment (Enhancements) Act 2012 (Cth) which imposed an effective APR cap of 48% for all consumer credit contracts (inclusive of all fees and charges). Payday lenders who provided a loan falling within the definition of a small amount credit contract (SACC), defined as a contract provided by a non authorised-deposit taking institution for less than $2,000 for a term between 16 days and 1 year, are permitted to charge a 20% establishment fee in addition to monthly (or part thereof) fee of 4% (effective 48% p.a.). Payday lenders who provide a loan falling within the definition of a medium amount credit contract (MACC), defined as a credit contract provided by a non-deposit taking institution for between $2,000–$5,000 may charge a $400 establishment fee in addition to the statutory interest rate cap of 48%. Payday lenders are still required to comply with Responsible lending obligations applying to all creditors. Unlike other jurisdictions Australian payday lenders providing SACC or MACC products are not required to display their fees as an effective annual interest rate percentage.
You don't always have enough money in the bank to make it to the next payday. Unexpected expenses exceed your savings, and you need some way to supplement your short-term cash flow. Figuring out the best payday loans (or best alternatives to a payday loan) to fit your needs requires understanding these loans and knowing what to look for in a lender.
Line of Credit: Available at Allied Cash Advance locations in Virginia only. Approval depends upon meeting legal, regulatory and underwriting requirements. Allied Cash Advance may, at their discretion, verify application information by using national databases that may provide information from one or more national credit bureaus, and Allied Cash Advance or third party lenders may take that into consideration in the approval process. Credit limits range from $250 to $1500. After your line of credit is set up, you have the option to draw any amount greater than $100, in increments of $0 up to the credit limit, as long as: you make your scheduled payments; and your outstanding balance does not exceed your approved credit limit. Minimum payments equal 10% of the principal portion of the outstanding balance, plus a Monthly Maintenance Fee. As long as you continue to make on-time and complete payments, you will remain in good standing and be able to continue using your line of credit account.