Approximately 12 million people each year are in the market for the best payday loan companies. Despite the gradual improvement in the economy over the past few years, many households still struggle to make ends meet and in some cases have found themselves running out of cash long before their next payday.
For those who have essential costs to meet, such as rent payments and buying food, just one car repair or overdue bill can necessitate borrowing money for a short amount of time.
Best Online Payday Loans: What to Consider
While some people are able to turn to solutions such as bank overdrafts or credit cards to temporarily tide them over, there is a large segment of the population that doesn't have this option as the result of poor credit. In cases such as these, there are payday loan companies that can provide assistance. While this type of borrowing should be reserved for only the direst of situations, I have provided you with some of the best payday loan reviews in case you end up in a situation with no other option.
These payday loans are not designed to be used for simply taking out money to have a good time or spend on non-essentials, as the interest rates can be crippling and they can lead to spiraling debt...
Before even applying (most lenders require an application fee) it's important that you read through this review to learn about your options in terms of obtaining a payday loan. There are important factors to consider - such as the fact that people who take out payday loans pay an average of $574 in fees. You want to be very clear on what you're getting into before starting the process of getting a short-term bad credit loan.
The True Purpose of a Payday Loan
These payday loans are not designed to be used for simply taking out money to have a good time or spend on non-essentials, as the interest rates can be crippling and they can lead to spiraling debt if you aren't careful.
They are also not designed to be used on a regular basis, and should only be taken out when no other feasible options exist and you feel it is a last resort. For example, if you have a rent or mortgage payment or utility bills due before your next paycheck and you don't have any other options or money set aside to cover the expenses; you may consider applying for a payday loan.
If you feel you are in a position where you need to take out a payday loan, you will find that there are various payday loan companies that you can choose from and we will share details on some of those companies later in this article.
Payday lenders have received a lot of bad press and this is partly due to the fact that they have helped to put a lot of people in spiraling debt. The interest rates are extremely high even though they can vary depending on where you live. A payday loan with an interest rate of more than 400% is not unheard of.
The high-interest rate and the fact that some of the loans have to be paid back rather quickly combine to create an even bigger burden for borrowers. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has found that more than 80% of cash advance borrowers end up having to roll over or renew their loans, leading to a domino effect of accruing fees and continued debt. However, by ensuring that you not only find the right payday lender for your needs but that you borrow and repay the money you need responsibly, you can avoid this situation.
Be honest about how much money you need and make sure you truly qualify for a specific type of loan. Just because a lender says you qualify to take out a certain amount of money doesn't mean you feel the same way. It's best that you take out as little as possible or just what you need to get by and make sure you understand the repayment terms so you can make payments on time and stay on track.
The Most Important Factors
In order to make an informed decision with regards to which payday loan company to use, it is important that you take a number of factors into consideration. This will help to ensure that you are able to find the best lender for your needs and the most suitable loan. Even if you feel rushed to come up with the extra money you need, you will not regret taking your time to weigh your options and learn about different payday loan companies and lenders so you can determine which one would best fit your situation.
Some of the factors that you should consider include:
- The terms of the loan, including the representative APR, which all lenders must publish
- Levels of customer service and assistance received
- Whether the company is registered and licensed in order to avoid falling victim to criminal activity
- The reputation of the company based on reviews
- The borrowing levels and repayment period options
- Features of the website, such as borrowing and repayment calculators
- Ease of application and speed of approval
Handle this decision the same way you would when you sign any other contract - read the fine print carefully.
If you think creatively, you may find that you can solve your financial emergency without taking on high-interest debt.
The Best Payday Loans for Bad Credit: Pitfalls
As I stated earlier, it's best to avoid this option if at all possible. The further I got into my payday loan analysis, the more apparent it became that there are many associated pitfalls.
1. They can lead to a vicious cycle
If you decide to go through with a payday loan, you'll be instructed to make a check for the amount you're borrowing payable to the lender. Once you reach the date specified in the agreement clause, the lender will then proceed with payment and cash your check. But what happens if that day comes around and you don't have the funds available to repay it? In that case, you may be given the option to "roll it over" which essentially is just an extension of the borrowed amount. Don't be misled though because fees will accumulate quickly.
2. They're extremely costly
Payday loans are some of the most expensive types of loans to take out. You may be charged anywhere from $10 to $30 per $100 you borrow. Excessively high annual percentage rates (APRs) are common across the board with payday loans. Let's say you borrow $300 with the intention to repay it in one month. At the end of that time, after accounting for the finance charge and APR rate, you'll pay close to $100 more in total for the payday loan.
3. Easy outs don't work
Trying to find loopholes in the system isn't just wrong, it's ineffective. Take writing a bad check for example. If you do this repeatedly you may find your name on the ChexSystems registry which is a tool used by lenders and banks to report such activity. Likewise, your bank will hit you with overdraft charges and you could face criminal action like being sued or having your account sent to collections. All these outcomes are likely scenarios if you don't treat your loans responsibly. That said, if you must go ahead with this option, below I've given you a list of the most reputable companies with whom to deal for short-term funding.
The Best Payday Loan Companies
In my research, I combed through the vast array of lenders and aggregators to help narrow down some of the industry's best options. I considered many of the factors mentioned above along with the company's reputation and public feedback from past customers online before adding a company to my list of the top payday loan companies.
- Large network of lenders
- Clear and simple business practices
- Quick and easy application process
- Bad credit is acceptable
- No fees for not going forward after completing the application
- High interest rates
- Fees and rates aren't visible until you've made an account.
Cash Advance is a loan matching service which pairs borrowers with lenders as opposed to actually lending out loans as a company. They work with a network of over 400 lenders. Borrowers can receive loans ranging from $100 to $999 with 30-day repayment periods. They have quick approvals and don't tend to focus on the applicant's credit score when processing the loan request. Cash Advance gives borrowers a wide range of options when it comes to lenders along with no obligation or pressure to make a final decision until ready. If you choose to cancel your payday loan while still in the application process, you can do so without incurring any fees or penalties.
Cashnet USA Review
- Available in more than 30 states across the USA
- Member of the Community Financial Services Association of America
- Online application for convenience
- Funds can be deposited the next working day
- 24/7 customer service & live chat
- Services not available in all states
CashNetUSA offers loans in more than 30 U.S. states and processes applications with lightning speed. They have a helpful tool on their website that you can use to check if CashNet provides loans in your state and what the specific limits and APR rates are. Once you complete an application through their online system and get approved, the money can be deposited into your account the very next business day.
CashNetUSA offers around the clock assistance with customer service representatives available 24 hours. Repayment terms are flexible and can go up until six months if needed. Borrowers can also make early or extra payments on their loan without undergoing any penalties. Due to their versatility, I recommend CashNet if you absolutely must take out this type of loan.
Trusted PayDay Review
- Works with a panel of lenders, may boost your chances of getting a loan
- Fast and simple application process
- Assistance available for those with damaged or no credit
- Saves the hassle of searching through individual lenders yourself
- Service may not be as speedy as with a direct lender
- No BBB accreditation or rating
- Cannot determine eligibility for a loan
Trusted PayDay is another free loan matching service.This is ideal for borrowers who don't want to go through the hassle of searching for the best payday loan company to use or filling out several applications for loans they may not qualify for. Trusted PayDay has a simple online loan request form to fill out that they submit to lenders. They respond to your request promptly and direct you to any lenders who will approve your application for a loan.
Since Trusted PayDay is not an actual lender, once you are matched with a lender you will have to go over all loan information and repayment details with the specific loan company you choose and not Trusted PayDay.
Ace Cash Express Review
- Simple application process
- Fast approval process
- Able to cancel within 72 hours
- No early repayment fees
- Not available in every state
- Online apps not available in every state
Ace Cash Express provides payday loans and installment loans to borrowers in select states. Their online payday loan application takes minutes to complete and allows you to get an instant decision. Their loan application has typical requirements in terms of eligibility, but the one thing that stands out is that they will work with borrowers who aren't employed but still have a source of steady income coming in.
If you receive disability or social security and have the financial means to repay the loan with interest, this may be a company that can help meet your needs. Once approved, borrowers can pick up their cash in person or have it deposited to their account. This company makes my list of the top online payday loans because they offer an option for customers without traditional employment, which is unusual in the industry.
Check Into Cash Review
- Informative site
- Transparent rates and fees
- Apply online, in stores or over the phone
- Approval process may be slow
Check Into Cash is a direct lender that has been providing payday loans and cash advances since 1993. They have only 1000 branches nationwide and allow borrowers to apply for payday loans in person or online. Their application process is not the quickest and the repayment term for a payday loan is often less than 30 days.
Overall, they have a massive amount of detailed information on their site for borrowers to reference in order to become informed about the loan process, repayment and other details.
Best Payday Loan Lenders: Banks Are Out
In your search for the best place to get a payday loan, you may have wondered about traditional banks as a provider of this type of service. You may even have utilized that option in the past, having your bank use your account with them as a repayment mechanism. While a few banks and credit unions used to offer short-term funding, known as direct deposit advance service, most have pulled out of the industry. This decision was the result of tighter regulations imposed in 2014. Major banks ceased the practice because it was no longer profitable for them under the new rules.
If at all possible, it's recommended to explore your other options before resorting to a payday loan because of the exorbitant fees. If you're dead set on borrowing from your bank, consider their other loan options or even taking out a credit card especially for emergencies.
Ask yourself these questions to get a better idea of your financial situation:
- How likely is it that I'll qualify for a loan based on my credit and income history? Remember, this answer will also depend on the state in which you reside. The full legal statutes can be found on this list.
- What is the bare minimum that I need?
- Realistically, when will I be able to repay the full or partial amount?
- Have I exhausted my other borrowing/credit options?
- What other loans am I responsible to repay?
Before you compare payday loans, talk to your bank to find out if they offer any personal loan products which might meet your needs as well as your credit rating. While you may not be able to borrow money from family or friends, consider trying to get a cosigner on a small loan before resorting to a high-cost payday loan.
Best Payday Loan Sites: Alternatives
Before you resort to taking out a payday loan, consider a few of the other options available to you. Some preventative measures include:
- Saving up money in an emergency account (Putting away even $10 per paycheck can add up quickly.)
- Building up your credit so that you can borrow from a lender with a lower APR fee
- Having a credit card solely for unexpected circumstances
- Asking around at banks and credit unions for their lending options (These institutions charge significantly lower fees for the same borrowing amount. Often times, they'll even work with you to set up a payment plan or loan modification.)
If you think creatively, you may find that you can solve your financial emergency without taking on high-interest debt.
Best Payday Loans: Possible Changes Ahead
As I've reiterated throughout this payday loan review, the high-interest rates and unfavorable terms make this type of financial solution suboptimal. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau agrees, and as reported by the Pew Charitable Trusts is attempting to make changes to the way such loans are administered.
In a proposal set forth in September, 2016 the CFPB is asking for changes in areas such as borrower qualification, loan repayment length, and interest terms. If such measures are adopted, they will be done so under the authority of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
Advice for Finding the Best Online Payday Loans
It is vital to remember that payday loans should only ever be used in the event of a financial emergency. As long as they are used responsibly, they can provide an important financial lifeline for those struggling to make essential payments.
To learn more about specific loan companies, we encourage you to check out our detailed and honest reviews on the top companies and lenders in the payday loan industry. Some companies and lenders only service borrowers in certain states so it's crucial that one of the first things you dto is determine whether or not you are eligible and meet other requirements.
Also, be sure to check out which companies have helpful resources on their site, easy and secure online applications and a helpful and reliable customer service department. Customer service can be a crucial factor for some borrowers and it can ultimately make or break the loan experience. If you can't reach the customer service department quickly, efficiently and at flexible times throughout the day, that might stand out as a red flag.
If you need more information on financial solutions for those with poor credit, as well as other loan-related topics, I encourage you to review additional topics in our advice column.
Best Online Payday Loans Recap
Determining your needs, understanding your legal rights, and comparing companies and loan factors are all important parts of the process. Making sure you use the right payday loan company is a key part of finding the perfect loan for your needs.
Once you've successfully navigated your financial emergency, consider getting one of the best secured credit cards. Using such a card can help you rebuild your credit rating so that you have better options next time you're in a pinch. You may also want to take a look at the best debt consolidation companies, in order to get your finances in order for a more secure, brighter future.