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If you’re looking for the best payday loans online, it’s probably a safe assumption that you have found yourself in some form of emergency and you need some cash like...yesterday.
Being in a jam is bad enough, but when you need quick access to money, how are you supposed to know who to trust? The internet is filled with scammers, frauds, and hucksters who are waiting to prey on someone in need and let's be real, the online payday loan industry has a pretty rough reputation.
But in an effort to help those who need quick access to funds, we vetted the best online payday lenders that have proven track records of customer satisfaction, and lightning-quick service.
Additionally, we've put together some resources to explain the loan process, answer some frequently asked questions, and help you decide if a payday loan is right for you.
The top payday lenders online
There’s certainly no shortage of online payday lenders but we’ve done the heavy lifting on your behalf and spared you the time and hassle of having to research the web's countless online lenders. We consider Rapid1k, Lendlanes, and Borrowfix to be the top payday lenders online, and multiple borrowers agree with us. Here’s what they have to say about their experience:
Loan limit: $2,500
Rapid1k brings a network of lenders to your fingertips. Their secure online form makes it fast and easy to get your funds as quickly as the next business day.
“I had to move this last month but I was short on money. I didn't need a lot, just enough to get me by. Without my family being willing/able to help, I searched online for a solution to my problem. After a few minutes, I came accross Rapid1K. Their form was short and easy to fill out. Best of all, I got the money on the next day! They were great to work with! Thanks guys!”
- Shannon Ellis, CA
"Super fast. I filled out the form and found a lender in minutes. Got the money I needed to pay my light bill before payday."
What are payday loans online?
An online payday loan is simply a short-term cash advance that a borrower agrees to pay back by giving a direct payday lender electronic access to a checking account or a post dated check to cash on an agreed-upon date. You also have the option of giving a licensed lender electronic access to your bank account so that they can withdraw funds directly from your next paycheck.
People in search of a payday loan do not have to visit a brick and mortar lending institution to apply. We're in the future, baby! If I can get text messages on my wristwatch, I shouldn't have to leave my couch to borrow a few bucks.
Usually you can expect a quick application process. The best online payday lenders can transfer funds into your account as soon as the next business day. Of course, this will be dependent on your individual circumstances.
How does the online loan application process work?
As we've mentioned, the application process will vary from lender to lender. Below you can find a list of requirements that traditional payday lenders might ask you for proof of:
- Be a US resident who is 18 years of age or older
- Have a valid drivers license or other government-issued identification
- Have your social security number handy
- Provide proof of gainful employment or another steady source of income
- Be able to provide a verifiable email address and a valid phone number
- A personal check or electronic access to a bank account is generally required from financial institutions
Who are Payday Advances Right for?
A payday advance is right for a person that needs quick access to cash that they know they’ll be able to pay back quickly. Medical emergencies, unexpected changes in monthly income, and car repairs are only a few of the very common reasons that a person might find themselves in need of short-term loans.
To be clear, a payday cash advance is not right for you if you just need a little extra cash for everyday expenses. You should only use this type of loan as a last resort to meet short term financial needs. In no uncertain terms, we advise against payday loans online as a long-term financial solution.
What to look for in an online payday lender
With so many different payday lenders online it can be difficult to choose the right one for you. But if you’re like the thousands of other Americans who are applying for an online cash advance, trust is usually the biggest concern.
When you’re looking for the best payday loans online, it’s critically important to do your due diligence and examine the reputation of the lenders you are considering. Unfortunately, there are scammers and unscrupulous lenders online that you need to look out for, so it’s important to research each company for ratings, reviews, and testimonials before you sign a loan agreement.
You will also want to make sure that you’re dealing with a lender that has the capacity to respond to your application with a sense of urgency. As you're doing your due diligence and finding reviews of your prospective lender, pay close attention to whether or not the testimonials comment on the speed with which people received the cash to cover their emergency expense.
When entering sensitive personal information online, always make sure that the website you’re on is using an encrypted connection to keep your data from being intercepted. You can tell if a website is using a secure connection, by looking at your browser’s address bar and locating the padlock symbol. If you see the lock, you’re safe. If you see a message that says “Not Secure”, or a padlock with a line through it– do not enter any sensitive data into this website.
What are the benefits of payday loans online?
Convenience and speed are the biggest benefits of a payday loan online. It's difficult to find financial services that are able to move as quickly. Not only is it a quick application and short turnaround time to get funds, but you don't even need to leave your home to get a direct deposit into your checking account.
This type of short term personal loan typically does not have as many minimum requirements as you might be used to. Many borrowers report that there isn't as much of a hassle when it comes to loan funding.
How quickly can I get funds transferred?
In most instances, you will receive an instant decision and get an answer regarding the status of your personal loan application within a few minutes. At that point, you'll finish the loan process with your direct lender.
The length of time it takes from beginning to end may vary from one financial institution to the next. Payday loan funding is typically processed much faster than traditional loans. The quickest online payday loan lenders have been known to direct deposit funds as soon as the next business day, but there are also lenders who are able to provide instant funding for same-day-transactions.
Is there a finance charge?
Yes, payday advances will come with a finance charge and that amount is usually based on a percentage of how much you are borrowing.
It's common for lenders to charge a loan fee (also referred to as a service fee in some cases) of $15 for every $100 you borrow. It should be noted that the finance charge is in addition to the annual percentage rate you will be charged.
How much can I borrow?
Whether you just need a small loan to hold you over for a few days, or you’re looking to borrow a hefty sum of money, there are direct lenders who can help you.
Unfortunately there isn’t really a concrete answer on this for a few reasons. Each lender will have their own loan agreement and rules regarding the maximum amount you can borrow. Additionally, the laws vary from state to state when it comes to how much a lender is allowed to let you borrow.
In some states, the largest loan amount you can borrow is based on a percentage of how much you make monthly. This regulation is in place to protect consumers from applying for a loan amount that they are unlikely to be able to pay back.
What if I have bad credit?
If you need a loan but are nervous that a rough credit score might be standing in your way, you should really consider applying anyway. Filling out an online payday loan application is one of the few times that you won’t have to be too concerned about your FICO score or your credit history.
The lenders who offer the best payday advances online usually understand that a credit report doesn’t give the full picture when it comes to how worthy a person is of a payday loan. Credit difficulty is almost expected of payday loan borrowers since this type of loan product is usually reserved as a last resort. Additionally, since the loan is tied directly to your income, there’s less risk for the lender, and your credit history isn’t as important of a factor. If you have a steady source of income, loan approval is likely, although the amount will be dependent on the lender and your circumstances.
The bottom line is that customers with credit issues should not let a poor credit rating influence their decision.
If you're trying to improve your credit score, check out our article on the different options for credit counseling and credit repair.
Will online payday lenders pull my credit report?
Whether or not a credit check is performed will be dependent on each individual lender, but in most cases the lender performs what’s referred to as a “soft pull” of your credit. Meaning that your credit score will not be impacted by the inquiry.
However, as mentioned above, your credit score is only a part of the consideration for your eligibility to receive a payday loan, so you are still encouraged to apply even if your status with the credit bureaus is less than ideal.
What do I need to apply?
The application process for the best payday loans online is usually quick depending on the lender. You can apply directly from your mobile device or a computer, and you can typically expect to hear back with a decision within a few minutes.
A lot of lenders require the following information to apply:
- Your legal name
- Proof of income
- Social Security #
- Drivers License #
- A current phone number
- An active email address
- A bank account capable of electronic transfers
What can I use my cash advance for?
Payday loans are usually reserved for those occasions when you are in a jam and you need quick cash to deal with an emergency expense. Typically, people apply for this type of alternative loan product after running into unexpected circumstances like medical expenses, auto repair, or the loss of a job, but you are free to use your cash advance as you see fit. In most cases, your lender will not ask what you are using the funds for.
How long do I have to pay back my loan?
The specific loan terms for your paycheck advance will be dependent on your lender, but since this type of loan acts as a payday advance, borrowers commonly pay their balance within 2 to 4 weeks.
Loan extensions are available through some lenders, but it's generally advisable to pay your loan on time.
How do I know if payday loans are good for me?
When it comes to personal loans, there are tons of options and it really does boil down to your specific circumstances. To be clear, the interest rate for payday loans is substantially higher than most other types of personal loans because you're paying for the speed and convenience of getting your hands on cash quickly.
In no uncertain terms, payday advances are not a good long term strategy. To be fully transparent, we only recommend payday loans online as a short term loan solution in extreme circumstances.
It's no secret that paycheck advances are known for having high interest rates. If you're looking for alternatives to payday advances, there are other financial products and types of loans that could suit you.
Check out our article outlining the difference between payday advances and personal loans.
Should I just use a credit card instead?
When an unexpected expense pops up, it's really easy to just slap down a credit card and call it a day. But believe it or not, paycheck advances have recently emerged as a savvy alternative to the use of credit cards.
It sounded silly to me too at first. Until I heard why.
In most cases, it takes a long period of time to pay off a credit card. Which then of course means that you will have to pay a hefty amount in compound interest over time. When this interest is added up over several months or years, it can potentially put a significant dent in a person’s discretionary income. As the debt grows bigger and the interest continues to accrue, it only gets harder to dig yourself out of the hole. Using credit cards in this manner can snowball into a major financial problem very quickly.
Payday loans have an advantage over credit cards in that regard. With an online payday advance you'll be certain to pay your loan back very quickly– and on a predetermined schedule. Since you'll be giving your lender access to your checking account, you won't have to worry about missing a payment. Payday cash advances from a direct lender are a solid option for people who are unable to pay urgent bills!
A final word on payday loans online
Borrowing money is rarely a joyous occasion, but sometimes when life turns sideways, you have to take care of business the best way you know how.
In an ideal world everyone would have enough funds to take care of the necessities. But the real world moves quickly and sometimes you just need to handle business. Whatever it is that you may need your cash loan for it should be reassuring to know that online lenders are willing to work with all types of borrowers. Online payday lenders want to help you to get the funds you need– even with bad credit in some cases.
It doesn't take much research to discover that payday loans have a pretty rough reputation. But if you’re in a bind and you've exhausted all your options for alternatives, then there shouldn’t be any shame in turning to this funding source. Just make sure you’ve thoroughly researched online lenders before applying for a personal loan.
Cash advance loans might not be the right fit for everyone's financial needs, but we hope that this informative guide has helped you to do your due diligence and make an informed decision.