Explore state regulations for these short-term loans and find a reputable lender.
California recently passed a law tightening regulations on its auto title loans, but these can still get expensive or lead to a cycle of debt if you aren’t careful.
Our top pick: Max Cash Title Loans
With a quick online application, Max Cash could help connect you with a lender, finding you options in minutes.
- Max. Loan Amount: $50,000
- Loan Term: Varies by lender
- Turnaround Time: As little as 1 business day
- No bank account requirement.
- Not available in 10 states: CO, HI, MD, MT, NE, NY, OH, SD, WA or WV.
Compare auto title loan options in California
Where can I get an auto title loan in California?
Auto title loans are available at stores across California, from major cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco to smaller towns scattered throughout the state. Many lenders allow you for applying and preapproval online, which speeds up the process and keeps you from wasting time on a loan you might not qualify for.
Still, because lenders use your car as collateral to secure the loan, you’re ultimately required to visit a physical storefront to have your car inspected for its value in case you default. You’ll also sign off on the loan with an in-office rep.
Title loan locations in California
Online auto title loans in California
Many lenders offer online preapproval forms you fill out to see how much you might be able to borrow based on your income, vehicle and other personal information.
Applications vary by provider, but you can expect to follow general steps when applying online:
- Read over your options and compare lenders.
- Click Go to Site to start an application.
- Complete the application with your personal and financial information.
- Wait for preapproved for an auto title loan.
- Set an appointment for the lender to inspect your car.
- Visit the nearest storefront to have your car inspected and complete your application.
When you apply online, check the lender’s page for a secure “https” URL and notification that it abides by California state law.
What are the auto title loan laws in California?
California updated its title loan regulations on January 1, 2019:
- Caps on interest rates. Interest rates must be no more than 3% of the loan balance per month — about 36% per year.
- Caps on fees. Administrative fees can be as high as $75 for loans up to $4,999, with no fee caps for loans of $5,000 or more.
- Late fees. If you’re late on a payment, lenders can charge a fee of $10 for the first 10 days and $15 for each day after.
- Repossession. Your lender can repossess your vehicle if you’re late on a payment by just one day or there’s a breach in your contract. Carefully read the terms of your loan to ensure you know exactly what’s expected of you.
Auto title loan requirements in California
California law doesn’t outline specific borrower or vehicle requirements for its auto title loans. However, you’ll need to meet basic eligibility criteria that includes:
- Ownership of a lien-free car title.
- Government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passport.
- At least 18 years old.
Lenders may also require other factors to qualify, like proof of a minimum income.
Alternatives to consider before taking out a title loan
Even with the new law, California title loans can be high-cost and risky. The upside is that you have other options for short-term cash.
- Installment loans. An installment loan is an unnsecured short-term loan, meaning that you’ll get higher rates but won’t risk having your car seized.
- Payday Alternative loans (PALs). PALs from a credit union are small-dollar loans are designed to give more options to borrowers with lower credit scores.
- Local resources. You may also want to look into local financial programs in California that could provide long-term solutions to recurring short-term loans.
An auto title loan can be useful if you have bad credit and need to pay unexpected bills. However, because of California’s lax regulations, they can quickly become more expensive than you can afford. Read the terms of your loan carefully, and borrow only what you need.
To learn more, read our guide to auto title loans.
Frequently asked questions
Image source: Shutterstock