Editor's choice: Max Cash Title Loans
- No bank account required
- No prepayment penalty
- Bad credit OK
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When you have poor credit, traditional financing may not be able to help you cover an unexpected expense. An auto title loan is an alternative that can get you money quickly.
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.
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.
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:
When you apply online, check the lender’s page for a secure “https” URL and notification that it abides by California state law.
California updated its title loan regulations on January 1, 2019:
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:
Lenders may also require other factors to qualify, like proof of a minimum income.
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.
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.
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