How we evaluated payday loan lenders?
Payday loans have high fees, but because the application process is quick, the lenders don’t run credit checks and these services have many locations, they fill a niche in the financial environment. 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.
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.
Every state regulates payday loans differently and each lender operates in different states, there’s no one-size-fits-all pricing.
Because every state regulates payday loans differently and each lender operates in different states, there’s no one-size-fits-all pricing. Some states have limits on how much a payday lender can charge, some have no limits and some have enough regulations in place that payday lenders don’t operate in them. The fees we list apply to a $100 loan for a 14-day period. Many of these lenders offer additional products, including installment loans, lines of credit and check cashing. Installment loans are paid back bi-weekly or over several months. They are larger than payday loans but are often as expensive or more so.
Many lenders offer online loans in addition to having retail locations. An online lender has some advantages over a retail location. For example, you can apply from your home, and online loans are more widely available. The drawback is you have to wait one to two business days for your funds to deposit. If you get a loan from a physical location, you get your money immediately.