CFSA members | Payday lenders, best practices + What to watch out for
community financial services association cfsa payday loan

What is the Community Financial Services Association of America (CFSA)?

The CFSA has a long list of best practices to help consumers find a short-term loan that works for them.

If you’ve been browsing short-term lender websites and seen the CFSA seal at the bottom, you might be wondering what it means and what this organization represents. Our article will outline what you need to know about the Community Financial Services Association of America, how borrowing with one of their lenders could benefit you and what to watch out for.

What is the Community Financial Services Association of America?

Founded in 1999, the Community Financial Services Association of America, or CFSA, is a trade organization run by lenders that have developed a code of best practices in order to provide short-term loans to consumers while combatting the high costs and debt spiral.

Its mission is to keep payday lending legal while informing consumers of the possible negative impacts. But keep in mind that it’s still run by lenders, meaning some of the policies may conflict with consumers’ financial interests.

Which lenders are members of the CFSA?

  • 1-2-3 CA$H
  • Advance America Cash Advance Centers, Inc.
  • Advance Cash
  • Amscot Financial
  • AT Financial Services
  • Axcess Financial / Check ‘n Go, Inc.
  • Cash 1
  • Cash 2-U Loans
  • Cash Depot of MS, LLC
  • Cash Factory USA
  • Check City
  • Check Into Cash, Inc.
  • Check on Hold
  • CMM, LLC / Cash Tyme
  • Community Choice Financial DBA CheckSmart Financial
  • Consumer Lending Associates, LLC
  • Curo Financial Technologies Corp.
  • Dollar Financial Group, Inc.
  • EC Holding (EmergiCash)
  • EMG Acquisition Group, LLC
  • Financial Service Centers of Ohio
  • Harpeth Financial Services DBA Advance Financial
  • Instant Cash Advance Corp.
  • Ivy Funding Company LLC
  • JD Finance, Inc
  • Speedy Cash / Lending Bear
  • Main Street Personal Finance / (ACAC, Inc.)
  • MoneyKey
  • Moneytree, Inc.
  • National Check Cashers
  • NCP Finance
  • Northstate Check Exchange
  • Payday America
  • PH Financial Services, LLC
  • Power Finance Texas
  • QC Holdings, Inc.
  • Speedee Cash Management Co. Inc.
  • Speedy Cash, Inc. (Florida)
  • Thrifty Loans, LLC
  • USA Cash Services
  • Westrock Financial LTD
  • XTRACASH, LLC

That’s a long list. Which lenders should I look at first?

Here’s a short-list of CFSA members we’ve reviewed:

  • Advance America. Advance America offers payday loans, installment loans and auto title loans to their customers and is one of the founding members of the CFSA.
  • Check ‘n Go. You can apply for a Check ‘n Go loan online or in-store if you live in one of its eligible states. Check ‘n Go offers additional services in its store locations including check cashing.
  • Check City. Check City offers a number of services depending on your state of residence, and you can count on it being licensed to operate in every state it conducts business in.
  • Check Into Cash. Check Into Cash offers payday loans, auto title loans, installment loans and lines of credit for its online and in-store applicants.
  • MoneyKey. MoneyKey is a member of the Online Lenders Alliance in addition to the CFSA. Though it only operates in less than a dozen states, it’s dedicated to abiding by the laws protecting consumers from predatory lending practices.
  • Speedy Cash. You can apply in-store or online for a payday loan, installment loan, auto title loan or line of credit through this lender. You could have the option to have your approved funds loaded onto a prepaid debit card.

What if the lender I’m interested in isn’t a member of the CFSA?

Although a CFSA membership is a good place to start when you’re comparing lenders, it’s not a requirement for transparent practices that work with instead of against you. There are plenty of legit lenders out there that aren’t a member of the CFSA. If you’re worried, here are some things to remember when checking out a lender’s website:

  • Contact information. A legit lender will have their contact information posted clearly on their website. If you have questions at any point in the process, whether it’s before or after you apply, you shouldn’t hesitate to call or email someone to confirm facts. It can save you time and money in the long run.
  • Transparent terms. You should know how much it will cost to borrow before you apply. Every state has different laws about payday loans that businesses need to abide by, so a lender presenting the potential APR and loan cap is a sign of good practices.
  • FAQ section. A reputable lender will likely have a clearly-defined Frequently Asked Questions section that should answer your most general questions. If it doesn’t, look into a lender that does. You should never go into a loan agreement blind to how it works or what it will cost.
  • Reviews and accreditation. Many lenders have reviews on their websites, but a legit lender will also be easy to find in an online search and have a good rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). This makes it easy for you to decide if you want to work with them, and since it’s your financial future on the line, this is one of the most important factors when taking out a short-term loan.

Think a lender might be running a scam? Protect yourself by knowing what to avoid

Legit online loans you can apply for today

Rates last updated February 18th, 2018
Unfortunately, none of the short term loan providers currently offer loans in your state. Learn more about short term loans in your state to find an alternative.
Name Product Product Description Term of Loan Turnaround Time Maximum Loan Amount
LendUp Payday Loans
LendUp offers $250 loans for first-time borrowers. Good credit is not required. Visit the site to see if available in your state.
7–30 days
generally receive the money the next business day
$250
CashNetUSA Loan
Apply for a short-term loan with an easy online application and dedicated customer service.
Varies by state
1 business day
Varies by state
Check into Cash Payday Loan
With 1,000 branches in 30 states, get $50 to $1,000 in days from this direct lender.
Varies by state
1–2 business days
$1,000
ACE Cash Express Payday Loans
Quick payday, installment and title loans with no prepayment penalty and a 72-hour satisfaction guarantee. Funds can be loaded on an ACE Elite™ Visa® Prepaid Debit Card.
Varies by state
Generally receive the money the next business day
Varies by state

Compare up to 4 providers

Rates last updated February 18th, 2018
Unfortunately, none of the short term loan providers currently offer loans in your state. Learn more about short term loans in your state to find an alternative.
Name Product Product Description Term of Loan Turnaround Time Maximum Loan Amount
Slam Dunk Loans
Potentially get approved for a short-term loan through this lender-connection service, even with poor credit history.
Varies by lender
As soon as next business day
$2,500
BadCreditLoans.com
With straightforward, simple qualifications, these loans offer easy approval for people with poor credit.
3 to 36 months
Varies based on lender
$5,000
TriangleCash Payday Loans
If you have bad credit or no credit history, apply to be connected to a network of lenders for funding at rates that vary by state.
Varies based on lender
As soon as next business day
$1,000
SWIFT Payday Loan
Access multiple lenders with a 5-minute application for a cash advance on your paycheck.
Varies by lender
Next business day
$1,200
LendYou Payday Loans
Apply online with this loan-connection company offering unrestricted short-term loans at high maximums — fast turnaround.
Varies
1 business day
$15,000
LoanSolo.com Payday Loans
Potentially get connected with a legit lender offering convenient payday loans and quickly get funds.
Varies by lender
As soon as one business day
$1,000
ExtraLend.com Installment Loans
This free and simple service could connect you with online lenders offering installment loans.
Varies by lender
As soon as one business day
$3,000
iCashLoans.com Short Term Loans
Potentially get a loan through a network of 100+ lenders. One simple online application.
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
$1,000
CashAdvance.com Payday Loans
Whether for emergencies or unexpected expenses, this broker may be able to connect you among its nationwide network of lenders.
Up to 12 months
1–2 days
$999

Compare up to 4 providers

I heard about the Online Lenders Alliance (OLA). Is this the same thing?

No, these are not the same organizations, but they both hold short-term lenders to quality standards and can be a good way to know if your lender is legit.

The OLA is mainly comprised of lender-connection services, whereas the CFSA works mainly with direct lenders.

These aren’t firm categories, though. Some of the lenders we’ve reviewed are members of both, like MoneyKey mentioned above. The organizations have different best practices, but when a lender is a member of either group, you can be confident that it abides by quality standards that try to protect consumers from other, more predatory payday lenders.

Find out more about the Online Lenders Alliance (OLA)

What to watch out for

Payday loans can become a source of major debt if you don’t handle them responsibly. When considering a member of the CFSA to service your loan, keep in mind that the best practices listed below are put in place to protect lenders as well as consumers.

Never rely on one source of information when reviewing a possible lender. You should always compare costs and repayment terms to make sure you can afford to borrow the loan, and consider the alternatives before you apply.

What are the best practices outlined by the CFSA?

Although many of the best practices listed on the CFSA website may seem like common sense, there are a number of disreputable lenders who don’t follow the laws or try to skirt them. These predatory practices are harmful to the consumer and to other lenders, and so the CFSA has listed basic ideas regarding transparency in order to make it completely clear what short-term loans should do.

Even if you decide to go with a lender outside the CFSA, keep these best practices in mind when choosing a provider.

Bottom line

When you’re looking for a way to prevent financial disaster, it may seem impossible to find a reputable lender with affordable loans in a pinch. Payday loans are known to be predatory and out to steal from you, but the CFSA is working to change that image.

You’ll still need to do your background research and confirm a lender is abiding by the laws of your state, but knowing that it participates in an organization like the Community Financial Services Association of America is a good place to start when it comes to verifying legitimacy.

Are payday loans available in my state?

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US Payday Loans Offers

Important Information*
Slam Dunk Loans

Potentially get approved for a short-term loan through this lender-connection service, even with poor credit history.

LendUp Payday Loans

LendUp offers $250 loans for first-time borrowers. Good credit is not required. Visit the site to see if available in your state.

Check into Cash Payday Loan

With 1,000 branches in 30 states, get $50 to $1,000 in days from this direct lender.

OppLoans Installment Loans

Installment loans with competitive rates from a top-rated direct lender.