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Good question. "Cash advance" and "trustworthy" don't tend to be said in the same breath. Unfortunately, there's a lot of truth to that: cash advances often come with extremely high interest rates and short payback periods. They should be the last resort you consider if you're strapped for cash.
You may spend much more in interest than you borrowed to begin with. But, with more than 2.5 million Americans each year who take out a cash advance, it's important to know how to find a lender that's reputable.
Monday, August 2nd
Check Into Cash is the most reliable, trustworthy option available for cash advances. The company has been in business for nearly three decades and is the only lender in our review to get a perfect "A+" rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau. That's a big deal, especially in an industry known for having some shady operators.
Online and in-person options
Check Into Cash gives you the option to apply for a cash advance either online or in a store, as long as they have a brick-and-mortar location near you. We appreciate that the company offers that, especially for anyone who might not have easy internet access or who doesn't want to submit sensitive personal information online. Having face-to-face locations also means that you can pick up your loan funds in person if you prefer, another solid option for anyone that might not have a bank account that they want to connect with their cash advance money (though an active checking account is still required to apply).
Extra verification step required
The online cash advance application only takes a few minutes and asks all of the usual questions: name, address, birthdate, employment and pay date details, and banking information. Once your application is completed, a representative will reach out to verify your application - an extra step you don't get with rival cash advance lenders. Once that's cleared, your loan money will typically be available the following business day.
Check site for your state's rates and fees
What will you pay in fees and interest when you get a cash advance from Check Into Cash? That depends on where you live and how much you want to borrow. You can find that information clearly displayed on their Rates and Fees page. We recommend that you do that first, because your state may not even be eligible for cash advance loans here. For instance, we clicked on Minnesota and found that there are none available there.
Transparent about what you'll pay
But, as an example, Florida residents can get cash advance loans up to $500 and installment loans up to $100, with APRs ranging from 287% to 391%. Those rates aren't fantastic, but at least they're transparent! And, if you consider that, for those quoted rates, it equals a $115 payment on a loan of $100, it's not quite so scary.
Most reputable, reliable place to get cash advances
No one wants to be in the position of needing a cash advance, right? But, if you find yourself needing quick money and want a lender you can trust, your first stop should be Check Into Cash. The company has been around for a long time, has plenty of options for getting your money online or in person, and has the highest possible recommendation from the Better Business Bureau. Check Into Cash is the obvious first-place winner among cash advance loan providers.
Blue Trust Loans does cash advances a little differently than most. Instead of having one big lump sum repayment due when you get paid next, they break down your repayments into weekly, biweekly or monthly payments. That makes it more likely that you'll be able to get your loan paid off, since you can do it over time.
Not available everywhere, or to active duty military
The amount you can borrow and your repayment terms will be determined by the state where you live, but most Blue Trust Loans max out at $3,000. At the time of this review, there were several states where Blue Trust Loans wasn't offering funding: Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, or West Virginia. That seems like a lot, but some cash advance lenders have an even smaller service area. In the fine print, we also found that active duty military and their dependents aren't eligible for cash advances through Blue Trust.
Highest interest rates we found
Blue Trust Loans has some of the highest interest rates we've ever seen for cash advances. You'll pay anywhere from just under 472% to 842% in interest. That might be hard to visualize, but imagine paying a fee ranging from $14.75 to $59 on every $100 you borrow.
Easy to apply
To apply for a loan with Blue Trust, you'll start by entering your name, address, birthdate and SSN for identity verification. The desired cash advance loan amount is in a dropdown box at the top of the form. You'll then provide info about your income: where it comes from, whether you receive it by direct deposit or check, your net pay and how often you get paid, and the date of your most recent paycheck. By the way, your pay dates can't fall on a weekend or holiday. Finally, enter your bank routing and account numbers and choose how you'd like to make your repayments.
Plan A and Plan B
Once you submit your application, you'll either be approved and get the details of your loan, or you'll have the option to "try another lender" if you weren't approved right away. That will take you to a more detailed series of questions about your work, banking, living situation, and also asks for your driver's license number. It's a "hail Mary" if you have to take this extra step, but it might help you get a loan.
Governed by tribal law, not federal
Borrowers should be aware that Blue Trust Loans is owned by the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, a federally-recognized sovereign American Indian Tribe. That can limit your options if you have a problem with your cash advance here: they're governed by Tribal law, not by federal law.
Decent rating from the BBB
We're happy to see that Blue Trust Loans has an "A" rating from the Better Business Bureau. The BBB is very quick to point out that the lender isn't bound by federal law and consumers should adjust their expectations accordingly. Most complaints we found were from people who didn't pay attention to the details and were shocked by how much they were paying in interest: but it's literally right there on the website.
Worth considering for cash advances
Should you use Blue Trust Loans for a cash advance structured in installments? Cash advances are already a last resort, and when you take out a loan with interest rates in the triple digits, it's always a risky proposition. But, if you like the idea of being able to make repayments over time instead of just with your next paycheck, you might want to keep Blue Trust Loans in mind.
Jora Credit is a newer option on the market for cash advances, in business for just under 5 years. They are "committed to the lending of responsible credit products to eligible applicants in need of emergency credit" and allow you to repay your cash advance over time instead of in one big payment at your next paycheck date.
Jora Credit's loans fund quickly. If you complete their four-step online application and are approved, you can have your money deposited the same day if you sign your loan agreement before 10:30AM Central (Monday through Friday, excluding bank holidays). Otherwise, you'll get your loan the next business day.
Easy to look up rates and available loan amounts
Unlike many cash advance providers, Jora makes it easy to find out how much you can borrow in your state and what APR you can expect. Just click on the "What It Costs" link at the top of the site, then click on your state, choose your desired loan amount and payment frequency (bi-weekly or monthly). Overall, you can borrow anywhere from $400 to $4,000 with APRs between 99% and 349%, but this tool tells you much more about cash advances wherever you live.
Rates vary by state
For example, if you live in Alabama, you can borrow a minimum of $2,100 and a maximum of $4,000 with an APR of 99% if you make 65 biweekly payments. Idaho residents can borrow anywhere from $500 to $4,000, with an interest rate of 349% for the lower loan amount and 99% on the higher loan.
Many states not eligible for cash advance loans
It's also a smart way to find out if your state is included before you submit an application or any other personal details. That's how we found out that Jora no longer offers cash advances in California. In addition, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut and Florida were just the first handful of states we checked out that are not included in Jora's coverage area. You might have a hard time getting a loan here.
Good reputation with the BBB
That's the biggest reason Jora doesn't get our highest rating for payday loans: there are just too many people in the US who won't be eligible because of where they live. Beyond that, Jora Credit does well: the BBB gives them an "A" rating, and there were only 15 complaints registered there in the year leading up to our review. Among cash advance lenders, that's a pretty good track record!
Solid option if you're eligible
Jora Credit is a solid choice for quick cash loans if you are fortunate enough to live where they operate. Unfortunately, most Americans won't be within their service area and will have to choose a different cash advance provider.
Honest Loans works by connecting customers with lenders in their network. There's no need to wait in line or go to a store: you can get the money you need deposited right to your bank account. Their application takes five minutes or less and, if you're approved, you can get your funds within a business day.
Needs to provide more information upfront
Honest Loans has the widest range of loans available - anywhere from $200 to $50,000. Of course, most applicants won't qualify for loans in the tens of thousands, especially those who are looking for cash advance lending options. When you fill out the Honest Loans online application, you'll find out how much you're approved to borrow. That's also the only way to find out how much you'll pay in interest: while this company may be honest like its name, it's a little lacking in the "openly provides specifics" department.
May pass you on to other lending services
Bear in mind that Honest Loans is essentially a cash advance referral service. When you complete your application - bank account number, employment information, driver's license number, and so on - you'll be passed off to any lender that Honest Loans thinks will fund your borrowing request.
Can you trust the lenders in the Honest Loans network? That's hard to say: our application took us to a third-party site that was also a referral service, and there we were going to be charged a $1 transaction fee to verify our identity. No thanks!
Still not enough company feedback
We had hoped that, in the time that has passed since our last evaluation of this lender, there would be more customer feedback to go on. That didn't happen: the company still has no listing with the Better Business Bureau, and it's hard to find many comments from clients who have used this service to get money. That doesn't mean this is a bad place to get a cash advance, but it's definitely not the most established one we've found. You may want to try a higher-ranked cash advance service before giving your information to Honest Loans.
Zoca prides itself on offering "simple, small loans" . Within 10 minutes, your application can be filled out and verified, and funds deposited to your bank in one business day or less. Unlike many cash advances that make you pay back all of the money within a week or two, Zoca Loans breaks it down into multiple installments: you might have a payment every other week for 6 months, for example.
Easy, basic loan application
In order to apply for a cash advance with Zoca, you'll need your driver's license number, your bank account and routing numbers, and your debit card number. When you finish the application, you'll be told immediately if your application is approved and how much credit Zoca Loans is offering. When you accept their cash advance loan offer, you'll sign the documents electronically and get the funds deposited to your bank account. While Zoca Loans says it can take up to one business day, you could have the money as quickly as 15 minutes from when you accept the loan!
Doesn't disclose interest rates upfront
Zoca Loans isn't clear about how much you can borrow. While their main page lets you choose a cash advance loan amount up to $900, their Rates and Fees page says that the maximum is $1,500. They're also not very upfront about how much you'll pay in interest; on that same Rates and Fees page, they give an example payment schedule with an APR of 795% (*gulp*) but "your APR may vary based upon your total loan duration and amount funded" . To get an idea of what that would look like, on a $300 cash advance loan with 12 biweekly payments, you could end up paying $888 in interest.
This lender also doesn't have the best reputation, compared with the other cash advance providers we reviewed. The Better Business Bureau only gives Zoca Loans a "B" grade, under the name of Zoca's parent company Rosebud Lending. There were nearly 100 complaints registered with the BBB against Rosebud in the year leading up to this evaluation; most of them described rude customer service representatives and payments continuing to be deducted even after loans are repaid in full. We get that cash advance loans with high interest rates can be hard for a lot of people, but the problems with Zoca Loans go beyond that.
Look elsewhere for a cash advance
Zoca Loans' parent company promised the BBB that they're working hard to improve, and we hope to see that happen. But, until they become much more transparent with their loan rates and terms on their website, and unless customers start reporting much more satisfaction with their borrowing experience, this cash advance lender will stay towards the bottom of our rankings.
How do cash advances work? They're meant to be short-term loans to hold you over until your next paycheck. You'll either have to repay the cash advance and all of the interest right at the time of your upcoming, scheduled payday, or you may be able to set up your loan with weekly, biweekly or monthly repayments. If you happen to get paid earlier than you expected, or come into extra money, most cash advances can be repaid ahead of time, which will save you some money in interest fees.
Why are cash advances so popular? First off, you rarely have to have good credit; many cash advance companies only ask for identification, a bank account number, and proof of a steady paycheck. Cash advances are also easy to get: some states have more in-person loan "stores" than McDonald's locations!
What are the downsides of a cash advance? Besides extremely high interest rates, many borrowers find these loans hard to pay back. Up to 20% of cash advances go into default, and as much as 80% of these loans are "reborrowed" again within 30 days. As you might imagine, that racks up huge fees - translating into big profits for the cash advance lender and less money in your pocket.
Now that you know the drawbacks of cash advances, how can you increase your chances of getting the money you need from a lender you can count on? Look for these things when you're choosing a service for a cash advance:
TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the most popular sources of cash advances available today. We hope this information will help you choose a lender that will get you the money you need with terms you can afford.
When searching for any type of loan, including cash advances, there are a number of factors to consider. Although fast cash cash advances are different in some respects, they are very much like any other loan in that convenience, cost and quick replies are essential. With that in mind, this article is designed to give you an accurate and detailed look at some of the factors to look for when choosing where to submit your application for cash advances.
Cash advances offer quick cash for those who need it and, best of all, they are available almost immediately. These types of loans help those who may be faced with life's unexpected events, expenses or are just running short on cash and need a helping hand until the next paycheck rolls in. Whatever the reason, cash advances provide a valuable service and it's important to know what to look for and how to choose the right lender for you.
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