Can this short-term loan alternative actually help you save?
Elastic might be just what you need if you often apply for short-term loans to get through the month. Backed by Republic Bank, this lender offers a line of credit that you can withdraw from as you need. It also provides online courses made to help improve your financial health. But it isn’t always cheap and it’s not available in every state.
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What is Elastic?
Elastic is an online lender that offers lines of credit as an alternative to short-term loans. Credit limits stretch from $500 to $4,500. You can request as little as you need up to your credit limit and pay back what you borrow in installments plus a fixed fee.
Its fees can be confusing and costly. Elastic charges a cash advance fee of 5% to 10% each time you withdraw money. Instead of interest, Elastic charges what it calls a carried balance fee of $5 to $350 on each repayment if you owe more than $10. You can estimate your fees by using the payment calculator on Elastic’s website.
Elastic is available in 39 states and Washington DC. Residents of Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont and West Virginia aren’t eligible to apply.
Each time you request an advance, you can access your funds within a day or two. This makes it easy to borrow money when you need, without filling out multiple applications for short-term lenders.
What are the benefits of an Elastic line of credit?
Billing cycle based on your payday. Elastic lets you sync your repayment dates up with your payday. If you’re paid weekly or biweekly, then your payments are due every two weeks. If you’re paid monthly, then your payments are due every month.
No prepayment penalty. Have the money to pay more on your principal than the minimum? You can save money by paying off your outstanding balance early and Elastic won’t charge a fee.
Accepts benefits as income. You can still qualify for an Elastic line of credit as long as you receive some form of regular income. This means you might qualify if you receive welfare benefits or a pension — it doesn’t have to be a paycheck from an employer.
Online courses. Elastic’s online learning center, Financial U is made to help customers get their personal finances in order. You might even get rewards for graduating.
What to watch out for
Fees. Borrowers pay a cash advance fee plus a fixed fee on each repayment. This can add up.
Elastic charges two major fees that can get expensive, especially if you withdraw larger amount. When you withdraw from your line of credit, Elastic charges a cash advance fee of 5% or 10% of the amount. It also charges a carried balance fee of $5 to $350 with each repayment. These can add up quickly, making even a small loan hard to repay.
Since it doesn’t charge prepayment penalties, you can cut down on how much you pay in fees by paying off your balance as quickly as possible. Still, you might want to compare other loan options and financial resources before committing to any type of short-term, high-cost loan.
Is it safe to apply with Elastic?
What does the Internet say about Elastic?
As of September 2018, Elastic is accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and gets an A+ rating. However, it only has four reviews left by former borrowers. Most were complaints about the high financing costs. One also complained that its site was out of date and could be misleading. It doesn’t have any reviews on its Trustpilot page yet.
Am I eligible?
In addition to agreeing to the terms of service and submitting to a credit check, borrowers need to meet some basic eligibility criteria. You must:
Have an active email and bank account.
Have a regular source of income.
Be at least 18 years old.
Live in an eligible state.
Not be a member of the military.
How do I apply?
You can apply for an Elastic line of credit online:
Go to the Elastic website and click Apply Now.
Complete all of the required fields to create an account and hit Continue.
Wait for a representative to respond to your application and request documents if needed.
Read the terms and conditions before signing your loan documents.
I got the line of credit — now what?
If you’re approved, you can start accessing money from your line of credit. It will take Elastic at least a day to process and fund your request, but if you receive a check rather than a deposit into your account, it may take longer.
You can make payments online, over the phone or by check, or sign up for automatic payments that deduct repayments from your account each pay period. Or, you can set up an individual payment whenever you need.
Your billing cycle is based on your pay date and statements are typically available 14 days before your due date.
Elastic can be expensive, but it could help you get back on your feet if you often find yourself short on cash. Since repayments are spread out over installments, it can be easier to repay than a short-term loan due on your next pay day. Compare your short-term loan options to see how it stacks up before making a final decision.
Frequently asked questions
It might. If you’re late making a payment or miss one entirely, Elastic could report this to one or more credit bureaus.
Yes. If you open an Elastic account but don’t make a withdrawal, your account will be closed after six months. Your account will also be closed if you haven’t made a withdrawal in two years.
Yes. You can cancel a cash advance request by calling Elastic within five days. The specific details can be found in Elastic’s Terms of Service.
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