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Cheap short-term loans

How to find fast, inexpensive funding for all credit types.

Short-term loans, also referred to as payday loans, can be a convenient form of credit when you need it, but they also tend to be much more expensive than other loans.
Most states have restrictions on the fees and interest short-term loan providers can to charge, but some short-term lenders in the same state may be more affordable than others. Comparing your options can help you avoid high fees and slower processing times.

Compare short-term loans and other alternatives

Check the websites of any providers you’re interested in to confirm they operate in your state of residence.

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Name Product Filter Values Loan amount Turnaround time Requirements
Chime SpotMe®
Not rated yet
Chime SpotMe®
Up to $200
Same day
Single qualifying $200 direct deposit into Chime checking account in the last 34 days.
Access fee-free overdrafts up to $200 when eligible. Plus get your paycheck up to 2 days early with direct deposit. See Chime terms and conditions.
Smart Advances
Not rated yet
Smart Advances
$100 to $20,000
As soon as one business day after loan closing
Have a regular income, 18+ years old, be a U.S. citizen with a valid SSN, have an open bank account, meet any additional requirements your lender may have
Smart Advances was designed to help you request the loan you need, for any reason.
Not rated yet
Get up to $100 per day or $750 per pay period.
1 to 2 business days, or in minutes with Lightning Speed.
Direct deposit sent to a checking account, a regular pay schedule, a fixed work location or an online timekeeping system at work
No mandatory fees, no interest, and no credit checks. Subject to EarnIn terms & conditions
Not rated yet
$20 to $250
3 to 4 days standard transfer. Same day with $3.99 express fee.
Not stated
Automatically monitor your spending plus access cash advances up to $100 at a time.
Cash App
Not rated yet
Cash App
$20 to $200
Same day
Deposit at least $1,000 per month into your Cash App account
Not rated yet
Up to $250
2–3 business days or instant for a fee
Checking account 2+ months old receiving direct deposit, 2+ months working for the same employer, positive account balance, most recent paycheck was on-time, funds still available in bank account 24 hours after most recent payday.
Advance up to $250 from your paycheck plus get access to your paychecks up to 2 days early with direct deposit.
Not rated yet
Up to $250
1 to 3 business days or instant with a fee of $0.99 to $3.99, or a $9.99/mo. subscription with small fee, or free with $14.99/mo. subscription.
Bank account must have at least 60 days of activity, Balance must be above $0 and have an average minimum balance on pay day
Have up to $250 automatically deposited into your account — for a $9.99 membership fee.
LendYou Short-term Loans
Finder Rating: 2.5 / 5: ★★★★★
LendYou Short-term Loans
Up to $1,000 for payday loans and up to $5,000 for installment loans
1 business day
$1,000+ monthly income, direct deposit, US citizen or permanent resident, ages 18+
Get offers from potential lenders in minutes by filling out just one online form.
MoneyLion Instacash advances
Up to $500 or $1,000 with RoarMoney account
Up to 5 days or instant for a fee of $0.49 to $8.99
Bank account must have at least 60 days of activity, show recurring deposits and must have a positive balance
Fee-free, interest-free cash advances up to $250.
Fast5kLoans Short-term Loans Connection Service
Finder Rating: 3.5 / 5: ★★★★★
Fast5kLoans Short-term Loans Connection Service
$100 to $35,000
As soon as the next business day
Regular source of income, Verifiable bank account, US citizen, Ages 18+
Get connected with multiple lenders you might qualify with — even if you have bad credit.

How do these loans work?

A cheap short-term loan is one that charges lower interest rates and lower fees when compared to similar loans. In most cases, states have regulations in place that keep these costs below a certain level. Some lenders may have smaller fees and lower APRs below the legal upper limit of the state to remain competitive.
For example, short-term lenders in New Hampshire can charge an annual rate of up to 36% for short-term loans, but you may find lenders who are willing to charge you less. This would qualify as a cheap short-term loan. Knowing the regulations of your state can help you identify lenders that are charging fewer fees and have a lower APR.
Some states don’t allow payday loans. In this case, there are other options if you need extra money.
Find out how much your lenders can charge in your state.

What features come with a cheap short-term loan?

When you’re comparing your cheap short-term loan options, lenders will generally have the following features:

  • Lower APR. short-term loans charge interest in the form on an APR, which varies from one lender to the next. Cheap short-term loans charge lower interest, although the APR may still be high when compared to other credit products from a traditional bank or through a credit card.
  • Fees. Keep an eye out for late fees, loan refinancing fees and fees for receiving approved funds through a debit card. While state regulations govern how much short-term lenders can charge and if you can refinance, these differ between states and some states don’t have any regulations at all.
  • Online application and approval. If you’re looking to apply, you can submit your application online. You generally won’t be required to fax any documents over and the turnaround time is quick, usually within a few hours or by the next business day.
  • Bad credit applicants accepted. If you have bad credit, you can still apply for a cheap short-term loan. The lender is mainly concerned that you will be able to repay the loan so having a regular income is the key when you’re looking to be approved.

Benefits and drawbacks

  • Multiple options. There are a number of direct short-term lenders available for comparison online and loan-matching services who can find a lender for you.
  • Apply from anywhere. Most short-term lenders in the US have an online presence, and there are plenty of options if you’d like to apply in-store. Whatever your preference, it’s easy to apply and get the funds you need.
  • Bad credit is OK. short-term lenders generally lend to bad credit applicants, and you can find lenders who do not report to the three main credit reporting agencies so borrowing won’t affect your credit.
  • Fees. Even though these are considered the cheaper short-term loan options, short-term loans are still an expensive form of credit. Watch out for high APRs and extra fees for late payments or refinancing your loan.
  • Short repayment schedules. You don’t have much time to repay a short-term loan. Most lenders require the entire amount be repaid within a 30-day period.
  • Disreputable lenders. There are many disreputable lenders operating online who prey on people with bad credit so make sure you evaluate the lender before you apply.

How to get a fast short-term loan

Is there anything I should avoid?

Repaying a loan later than scheduled might cause you to pay considerably high late fees, nonsufficient funds (NSF) charges and loan refinancing fees, which can all negatively impact your credit rating.
While not all lenders report to the big three credit agencies that handle credit, some might choose to report late or missing payments. This is at the discretion of the lender, and if your loan is sent to collection because of late repayment, you will likely see your credit go down.
A good way to find out about all applicable fees and charges is to review your loan’s terms and conditions carefully. If you don’t think you’ll be able to repay your loan on time, it’s best not to take it out in the first place. All reputable lenders will provide all information on your loan contract, and if you don’t agree, you don’t have to sign it.
There are a few things you should know about cash advances to make the right decision:

  • Only take out a cash advance in emergency situations because this type of loan is typically a short-term, one-time solution. If you have structural financial problems or difficulty repaying debts, you should consider credit counseling.
  • Make sure you can repay your cash advance in a timely manner. Missing the due date on your repayment will result in additional charges. Avoid digging yourself into a deeper financial hole by taking on debt you can’t afford.
  • Be sure to read the lender’s terms and conditions carefully. It’s important to read the fine print so you know exactly what you are paying and when it is due.

Frequently asked questions about cheap short-term loans

Can I find cheap payday lenders in every state?
No. Payday loans are prohibited in some states. Check the payday loan regulations in your state to see if there any restrictions before applying.
What is the maximum amount I can borrow?
This depends on your state of residence, the lender’s terms and your credit. Because every lender has different rules, it’s best to check before you apply.
What requirements do I have to meet to get a short-term loan?
You must be a US citizen or permanent resident, meet state-specific minimum age requirements and be able to demonstrate an ability to repay the loan. In addition, some online lenders require you to provide a valid bank account.
Are there lenders that offer loans with no bank account required?
Yes. Some lenders offer other ways to receive your funds such as depositing money onto a prepaid debit card or allowing you to pick up cash in-store.
Can I repay my loan early?
This depends on the individual lender. When reviewing your loan contract, be sure to voice this question as some payday loan lenders charge extra fees for early repayment.
How long will it take for me to receive approved funds?
Funds are usually deposited into your bank account on the next business day. It ultimately depends on the lender and your bank.

Are payday loans available in my state?

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