Check out the regulations before visiting a lender.
Car title loans are a complex business in Virginia. With a number of regulations in place, you’ll want to know how much these loans will cost you and how much your lender can legally charge before you commit.
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Compare car title loans in Virginia
Where can I get a car title loan in Virginia?
Title loans in Virginia are available both online and at physical stores. You’ll have better luck finding title loan stores in bigger cities like Richmond and Virginia Beach. But this is a growing industry, so you may also find stores scattered across the state in smaller cities and towns. While you can often start the car title loan process online, you’ll likely have to finish it at a store to have your car inspected and receive your funds.
Title loan locations in Virginia
Online title loans
While online title loans are available in Virginia, there’s a catch: You can’t have the funds directly deposited into your bank account. Your lender must disburse your loan funds in the form of cash, a check or a debit card. This means that even in the rare cases a lender doesn’t require a vehicle inspection, you may still need to visit a storefront to receive your funds.
However, online title loans can be helpful if you’re looking for loan preapproval. Many lenders will give you an estimated loan amount and cost based on your financial situation after you fill out an online form.
How to apply for a title loan online
If you decide to go online first, you’ll likely have to follow these steps:
- Compare your loan options and click Go to Site to start an application.
- Fill out the required fields and submit your form.
- If preapproved, set up an inspection with the lender.
- Visit a branch to have your car appraised and complete your application.
- Read over your loan contract, sign the dotted line and receive your funds.
What are the title loan laws in Virginia?
Virginia has a number of regulations in place to protect borrowers, including limits on how much you can borrow and late fees:
- Maximum loan amount: No more than 50% of the value of your vehicle
- Loan terms: 120 days to 12 months
- Late fees: No more than 5% of the payment amount
- Rollovers and extensions: None allowed
Interest rates and APRs are capped according to how much you borrow:
|Portion of the loan||Maximum monthly interest rate||Maximum APR|
|Between $700 and $1,400||18%||216%|
However, lenders can’t charge interest if it’s been 60 days since you missed a payment or if your vehicle has been repossessed. They also aren’t able to receive repayments via automatic electronic withdrawals from your bank account.
Returning your title
When you repay your title loan in full and have closed out your loan, your lender is required to:
- Mark your original loan agreement as paid or canceled.
- Terminate its lien on your vehicle’s title.
- Return your vehicle’s title to you.
If you run into trouble getting your title back, contact the DMV in the state your vehicle is registered. If problems continue, contact Virginia’s attorney general to file a complaint.
Repossessing your vehicle
Your lender must give you a written notice 10 days in advance before it repossesses your vehicle. This notice must state:
- The principal of the loan.
- The interest due.
- That you can avoid repossession by paying back the loan in full.
Selling your vehicle
After repossession, your lender must give you at least 15 days’ notice of its intention to sell your vehicle. This notice must include:
- The principal of the loan.
- The interest due.
- The date and time your vehicle might be sold.
- A list of reasonable expenses of repossession.
Your lender may not charge you for storage fees after repossession.
You can pay off your loan at any time before the sale to get your vehicle back. If you’re unable to pay your lender, it can sell your car. One of two things will happen after your lender sells your car, depending on the payoff amount.
- If the vehicle was sold for more than the payoff amount. Your lender must give you any excess money from the sale. For example, if you owed $4,000 to your lender and your vehicle sold for $5,000, you would receive the leftover $1,000.
- If the vehicle was sold for less than the payoff amount. Your lender cannot collect any money from you if your vehicle sold for less than the loan amount. For example, if you owed $5,000 on the loan but your vehicle only sold for $4,000, you would not owe your lender that extra $1,000.
Car title loan requirements in Virgina
Car title loans in Virginia don’t have many requirements. You’ll likely qualify for a loan if you:
- Have a lien-free motor vehicle title.
- Are at least 18 years old.
Your lender may have more specific requirements, including proof of regular income and a government-issued ID. Check your lender’s requirements before applying.
Alternatives to consider before getting a car title loan in Virginia
These alternatives may be able to help if you need cash fast or you’re facing long-term financial issues:
- Payday alternative loan. A payday alternative loan (PAL) is a short-term loan offered by select federal credit unions. You’ll need to be a member of the credit union to qualify, but APRs are capped at a low 28%.
- Credit card cash advance. If you have credit available on your credit card, consider taking out a cash advance. These typically come with APRs around 30% — significantly lower than what you’d be charged by an auto title loan provider.
- Family or friends. If you only need a few hundred dollars to get by until your next paycheck, friends or family may be willing to lend a hand. You can even create a formal contract using a service like Loan Well.
- Payday or installment loans. These short-term loans have one benefit that title loans don’t: They don’t require collateral. And since Virginia limits the amount of interest a payday lender can charge, it might cost less to borrow if you only need a small amount.
You can also look into loans for consolidating debt or request an extension from your creditors. And if you’ve been having a lot of trouble handling your finances, a credit counseling service may be able to provide some structural support to avoid finding yourself in a similar situation in the future.
A car title loan may seem like a good deal when you’re short on cash and have bad credit, but it can be extremely expensive — and you risk losing your car should you default. But because of Virginia’s caps on interest and regulations on repossession, you may be in a better position than if you lived in a different state with less oversight.
Learn more about the process and compare lenders with our guide to auto title loans.