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.

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Research for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation found that a majority of Illinois payday loan borrowers earn $30,000 or less per year.[16] Texas' Office of the Consumer Credit Commissioner collected data on 2012 payday loan usage, and found that refinances accounted for $2.01 billion in loan volume, compared with $1.08 billion in initial loan volume. The report did not include information about annual indebtedness.[17] A letter to the editor from an industry expert argued that other studies have found that consumers fare better when payday loans are available to them.[18] Pew's reports have focused on how payday lending can be improved, but have not assessed whether consumers fare better with or without access to high-interest loans. Pew's demographic analysis was based on a random-digit-dialing (RDD) survey of 33,576 people, including 1,855 payday loan borrowers.[19]
In Ohio, SCIL, Inc. dba Speedy Cash, is a registered Ohio Credit Services Organization (CS.900174.000) operating pursuant to the Ohio Credit Services Organization Act. The actual lender is an unaffiliated third party. The Ohio laws against discrimination require that all creditors make credit equally available to all credit worthy customers, and that credit reporting agencies maintain separate credit histories on each individual upon request. The Ohio civil rights commission administers compliance with this law.
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Payday loans can be paid back from money borrowed from a different source, such as a credit union or family member. Alternatives to payday loans don’t erase the debt, but they may have more agreeable terms and interest rates. A variety of different loans are available for numerous financial scenarios. One could be useful in helping you escape the payday loan trap if your credit qualifies you.
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Payday loans are meant to be short-term, unsecured loans. They are based on a pre-set automatic withdrawal from your bank account or a check held by the loan company for future deposit on a specific date. Borrowers either write a check to the lender or promise to pay back the amount borrowed, plus interest and any fees. Some companies will allow in-store payday loan customers to repay in cash at the store, in exchange for their post-dated check.

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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.

Though you may not have a lot of extra time, a side gig could too be an option. Ideas include driving with a ride-share service like Uber, walking dogs, participating in research studies or even taking online surveys to earn more cash. If you find yourself regularly needing small amounts of money to last you through the week, consider exploring ongoing freelance opportunities in your area of expertise — Upwork and Fiverr are a few places to start.


You can’t always predict when an emergency will occur, but you can prepare for it. Ideally, you should keep enough money to cover your household expenses for two months or more in a savings account. If that goal is too high, aim to save at least the amount of one paycheck. It is also a good idea to have a few credit cards available for unexpected costs.
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.
Advertising Disclosure: Some of the loan offers on this site are from companies who are advertising clients of U.S. News. Advertising considerations may impact where offers appear on the site but do not affect any editorial decisions, such as which loan products we write about and how we evaluate them. This site does not include all loan companies or all loan offers available in the marketplace.
Payday loans can be a good tool for quickly and easily borrowing cash during an emergency if you don’t have other financial options. For example, you might use a payday lender for an immediate and temporary financial need such as a medical bill, car repair or other one-time expense. Payday loans are helpful for people who don’t have credit cards or savings available. Because the loans do not require a traditional credit check, they are easy for people with financial problems to obtain.
Restructure the payback. Fox says that payday lenders who are members of the CFSA “seem to be more lenient” and are “more apt to try to work with people.” Those lenders will often “restructure to pay back (the balance) over six to twelve months when coming through our program.” But he also adds that this applies in  only about 40–50% of the payday debt situations clients are dealing with.
New Mexico: This lender is licensed and regulated by the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department, Financial Institutions Division, P.O. Box 25101, 2550 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504. To report any unresolved problems or complaints, contact the division by telephone at (505) 476-4885 or visit the website http://www.rld.state.nm.us/financialinstitutions/.

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.
Payday lenders generally do not report to the three main credit reporting bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, so taking out one of these loans is unlikely to positively or negatively affect your credit score unless you have trouble with your repayments. Keeping that in mind, sometimes payday lenders send your repayment information to smaller credit reporting agencies, so that information can still be accessed by mainstream banks and lenders. 

Payday lenders generally do not report to the three main credit reporting bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, so taking out one of these loans is unlikely to positively or negatively affect your credit score unless you have trouble with your repayments. Keeping that in mind, sometimes payday lenders send your repayment information to smaller credit reporting agencies, so that information can still be accessed by mainstream banks and lenders.
Texas loans are arranged by Cash Central of Texas, LLC, 16283-59168, a licensed Credit Access Business (CAB). CAB is not a lender. Loans are provided by unaffiliated third-party lender First Financial Loan Company, LLC pursuant to the Texas Finance Code, Chapter 393. Cash Central of Texas, LLC is regulated by the Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner, 2601 North Lamar Boulevard, Austin, Texas 78705-4207.

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.
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]
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Texas loans are arranged by Cash Central of Texas, LLC, 16283-59168, a licensed Credit Access Business (CAB). CAB is not a lender. Loans are provided by unaffiliated third-party lender First Financial Loan Company, LLC pursuant to the Texas Finance Code, Chapter 393. Cash Central of Texas, LLC is regulated by the Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner, 2601 North Lamar Boulevard, Austin, Texas 78705-4207.
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