Checkmate payday loans review

With a variety of services, this short-term lender may be able to help when cash is limited.

Checkmate has over two decades of experience providing a range of alternative financial services. But while it offers multiple types of loans, its limited reach and lack of reviews may mean you’re better off finding a lender that has a more established online presence.

What is Checkmate?

Checkmate is a short-term lender that offers a number of services to its borrowers, including:

  • Payday loans. Checkmate offers payday loans to residents of California, Colorado and Washington. The exact amount you can borrow and the term you qualify for depends on your state, but in general, you can borrow anywhere from $50 to $700.
  • Installment loans. You may qualify for up to $2,500 if you’re a resident of New Mexico with a bank account and regular source of income. However, the longer term and larger loan amount usually means you’ll pay a hefty amount in interest and fees.
  • Auto title loans. Residents of Arizona and California may be eligible for an auto title loan. The exact amount you qualify for will depend on your vehicle and income, but be careful: Auto title loans may be convenient, but if you default, you could lose your car.

Checkmate also offers check cashing services and cash for gift cards.

Where is Checkmate available?

Checkmate is only available in five states:

  1. Arizona
  2. California
  3. Colorado
  4. New Mexico
  5. Washington

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What are the benefits of Checkmate?

Payday loans from Checkmate come with a number of features:

  • Transparent fee schedule. You can find out how much your loan will cost before you apply. Checkmate displays the fee structure it follows for different states on its website and provides a clear indication of applicable fees in a dollar amount as well as an annual percentage rate (APR).
  • Simple and quick. The application doesn’t take long to complete. If you apply during working hours, you can find out about your application’s status soon after. If approved, you can pick up your loan funds at a Checkmate location.
  • Bad credit OK. Unlike banks and traditional lenders, Checkmate looks beyond your credit score to make a lending decision. If you have a regular source of income and can demonstrate an ability to repay, you may qualify for a Checkmate payday loan.
  • Online account management. Checkmate gives you free access to its online payment system. You can use this to view your due date, make a payment or even schedule one for the future.

What to watch out for

  • Limited number of states. Checkmate only available in five states, and it also only offers certain services in each. If you need more from a lender, compare your other options in the table above.
  • Minimal reviews. Despite its age, Checkmate doesn’t have many reviews online. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does mean you won’t know how it treats its borrowers before you apply.
  • Risk losing your vehicle. If you opt for an auto title loan and default, you may lose your car to repossession. This could potentially make your financial situation worse, so be sure you can afford the full cost of your loan when you apply.

Beware of high costs and fees

Checkmate provides a fee schedule that you can use to see the potential cost of your loan. It might not look like a lot, but even the smallest fees can add up and make your short-term loan quite expensive.

Short-term loans should only be used in an emergency, so consider your alternative options first. It can make a difference between a tight budget and a little more breathing room while you get your finances sorted.

Are Checkmate loans safe?

Not only does Checkmate have a secure website and application, but it also follows state-specific payday lending rules in every state that it offers loans.

In addition, it is a member of the Financial Service Centers of America (FiSCA), the Financial Service Centers of Washington (FiSCWA), the California Financial Service Providers Association (CFSP) and the New Mexico Independent Finance Association (NMIFA). These trade organizations work to uphold fair lending practices. Even so, it’s important to carefully read over your loan contract before you borrow to be sure you’re getting a good deal.

What does the Internet say about Checkmate?

Not much. Checkmate doesn’t have a Trustpilot page, and the few Better Business Bureau (BBB) pages it has are all individual locations – making it difficult to tell if any problems that come up are from the branches themselves or Checkmate as a company.

The easiest way to tell if your branch is a good place to borrow is to call or visit. This way, you’ll be able to see how its customer service reps treat potential borrowers. If you like what you see – and don’t mind the high fees – it could be worthwhile to submit an application.

Am I eligible?

In order to apply for a short-term loan from Checkmate, you’ll need to meet some basic eligibility criteria:

  • You must be a resident of one of Checkmate’s serviced states
  • You must have a steady source of income
  • You must have an active bank account
  • You must be a US citizen or permanent resident
  • You must be at least 18 years old

How do I apply?

To complete your application, you’ll need to give Checkmate

  • Your name, phone number, email address and home address
  • Your bank account number and bank’s routing number
  • Details from a valid form of government-issued ID
  • Details about your employment and income

While you can start the application process online, you’ll have to complete it at a Checkmate branch in every state but Washington. If you’re approved, you can visit your nearest Checkmate store to pick up your loan funds.

I’ve got the loan. Now what?

You have to repay the loan in full on or before the due date noted in the loan contract, which is usually your next payday. You can make a payment online or at a branch.

The fees you have to pay toward your Checkmate loan depend on state-specific laws as well as the loan amount.

For example, if you take a $100 payday loan for 14 days in Colorado, you’ll have to pay a finance charge of $20. In California, you would have to pay $17.65. It would change to $15 in Washington.

Depending on the state you live in, you may have to pay additional fees if you don’t repay the loan on time. These can come in the form of rollover fees and collection related fees. Check the costs on Checkmate’s website before you apply to ensure the loan will be affordable on your budget.

Bottom line

Checkmate is a well-established lender that offers multiple loan options to its borrowers. However, the high costs and limited state reach – not to mention the lack of reviews – might turn some people off.

If you’re looking for the right lender, compare your payday loan options. And if you’d rather borrow for longer, you can check out our guide to installment loans.

Are payday loans available in my state?

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  1. Default Gravatar
    June 4, 2018

    If I’m currently paying a loan off can I still borrow?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      June 5, 2018

      Hi Kelly,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well for you. :)

      In case you still have a loan with Checkmate, you need to pay off your outstanding balance first before you get a loan from them again.

      If you’re planning to get a loan from other lenders, yes you may still apply for a loan even if you already have an existing loan. However, please note that there’s a greater chance that you won’t get approved since lenders may see you as a high-risk borrower. With this in mind, you may want to consider getting a payday loan. They have a more lenient list of requirements. As long as you meet their eligibility requirements, you should be able to get a loan from them.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out again.

      Have a wonderful day!


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