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Legit short-term loans

Before you submit your application, it's always worth checking: is the short-term loan you’re applying for legit?


Fact checked

Editor's choice: Check Into Cash Payday Loan

Check Into Cash Payday Loan logo
  • No application fees
  • Loans up to $1,000
  • Receive funds as soon as next business day
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Borrowing from a lender that follows the rules is key to getting a loan you can afford. All you need is a good sense of your state laws and a baseline for finding a good deal. Payday loans and installment loans aren’t legal in every state, and even if they are legal, lenders usually have to abide by strict regulations. Any lender that isn’t willing to comply with state law won’t be legit.

What is a legit short-term loan?

A legit payday loan is a short-term loan from a lender that follows state and federal regulations. These can vary by state. Many have maximum loan amounts, rates, fees and terms for payday loans. Some also limit how often you can renew your loan.

With that said, even legit short-term lenders have more relaxed criteria than other providers. You’ll can get a short-term loan if you have bad credit, have low income or rely on government benefits.

The ‘ability to repay’ rule

Lenders are legally required to make sure you can afford repayments before you take out a loan. That’s why legit lenders ask about your income, and monthly expenses when you apply. If a lender doesn’t ask you for any of that information, it probably isn’t legit.

A selection of legit loans you can apply for today

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

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Filter Values Max. Loan Amount Turnaround time Requirements
Check Into Cash Payday Loan
1 to 2 business days
Bank account, email address, phone number, US citizen or permanent resident, ages 21+
Plus, get access to check cashing, cell phone top ups, bill pay and more at one of its many storefronts.
LendYou Short-term Loans
Same business day to 1 business days
$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.
Fast5kLoans Short-term Loans Connection Service
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.
OppLoans Installment Loans
1 business day
Direct deposit, meet minimum income requirements, live in eligible state
Comes with the option to change your due date so you won’t fall behind on repayments.
Possible Finance Mobile Installment Loans
As fast as 1 business day
Checking account with 3+ months of banking history, $750+ monthly income, live in eligible state, ages 18+
Borrow up to $500 with just a few swipes — but only for residents of 5 states.

Compare up to 4 providers

6 ways to tell a short-term lender is legit

The following should help you find legit short-term loans easily:

  • Better Business Bureau accreditation. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is more than a century-old nonprofit organization that helps identify trustworthy business. Different short-term lenders across the country have BBB accreditation, and dealing with these businesses provides extra peace of mind.
  • Contact details. Take some time to find a lender’s contact details. If a lender provides no more than a contact form or an email address, see how responsive it are before you apply. A legitimate short-term lender shouldn’t shy away from providing a physical address, phone support or live chat.
  • Fees and charges. Direct lenders of legit short-term loans are legally required to be upfront about the fees and charges you have to pay during the loan term, and they adhere to all given maximum limits. The loan contract should clearly set out all applicable fees and charges.
  • Abides by state regulations. With legit payday loans, you don’t have to worry about lenders charging you more than the maximum limits set by the state. Check the regulations in your state to make sure your lender is operating legally.
  • Use money for any reason. Legit short-term lenders don’t place any stipulations on how you can use loan funds as long as you’re using the money for a legal reason. If your lender tries to dictate how you can use your loan funds, it might not be legit.
  • Doesn’t require money upfront. One of the biggest red flags when researching a lender is if it requests money upfront. Origination fees are paid out of your loan amount, and you shouldn’t have to pay anything before you borrow.

How to protect yourself from payday loan scams

Can I get a legit payday loan without a credit check?

You can — states generally don’t require lenders to check your credit when you take out a loan. But you might not get the best deal. That’s because lenders that don’t check your credit typically assume the worst and offer less favorable rates and terms than those who do.

Even if your credit is far from perfect, a lender that checks your credit is often a better bet. Look out for other red flags like guarantees and upfront fees before you apply.

Compare 3 highly-rated short-term loan providers

LenderWhat borrowers say
Check ‘n Go
  • Quality customer service
  • Quick and easy application
  • Changing account information can be difficult
Speedy Cash
  • Easy to qualify
  • Fast turnaround
  • High interest rates
Ace Cash Express
  • Upfront about cost
  • Fast cash in an emergency
  • Mixed customer service

Are payday loans available in my state?

Are these payday lenders legit? Read our reviews to find out

ACE Cash Express
Check City
Check Into Cash
SWIFT Money Loans

Even legit short-term loans can be costly

Whether you’ve decided on a payday loan, installment loan or auto title loan, you may face a bigger expense than you initially expected. Short-term loans are designed to be repaid quickly. If you’re unable to pay on the due date, you’ll be charged more fees and extra interest, which can quickly increase the total cost of your loan.

As with every lending option, always be sure you can repay what you borrow.

More considerations before you apply

Take some time to go through the loan’s terms and conditions, as this document tells you how much you may have to pay in different circumstances such as rollovers and late payments. Some states don’t allow you to refinance a loan or take out more than one within a given period of time.

You’ll also have to pay additional fees if you make a late payment, and your lender may report your missed payments to credit bureaus. Reconsider applying if you think you may have troubles repaying your borrowed funds.

Bottom line

Knowing what to look for in a legit lender is just as important as understanding common scams. Once you’ve checked over your state laws, know how much you need to borrow and have an idea how to repay, start comparing your options to be sure you’re getting a good deal.

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37 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    orteganaMay 8, 2019

    I received a call for an installment loan… but since my credit score is low they said will make a deposit to my account and that I have to send it back through the store Walmart, to increase my credit it did not make sense to me is it normal?

    • Default Gravatar
      nikkiangcoMay 9, 2019

      Hi Ortegana,

      Thanks for leaving a question on our page. There are a lot of lenders out there that run their business differently and one you mentioned is very unique. I suggest reading about personal loan scams on this page before pushing through with the lender who is offering this to you. As a friendly reminder, review the eligibility criteria of the loan before applying to increase your chances of approval. Read up on the terms and conditions and product disclosure statement and contact the bank should you need any clarifications about the policy.

      Hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to message us back if you have more questions.

      With care,

  2. Default Gravatar
    TimothyFebruary 25, 2019

    What if we don’t have an banking account? Can i still get a loan. I’m struggling with bills and I have a 2 year old. I have a stable job. Please help me.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      johnbasanesFebruary 26, 2019Staff

      Hi Timothy,

      Thank you for reaching out to Finder.

      We are on the right page for you to check the available lenders that could assist you in your state. Please indicate the state you are in on the table provided on the table to see your options. Once the results are populated, you may want to check on the “Requirements” column to see which lender does not require a bank account to apply. Kindly review and compare your options on the table displaying the available providers. Once you have chosen a particular provider, you may then click on the “Go to site” button and you will be redirected to the provider’s website where you can proceed with the application or get in touch with their representatives for further inquiries you may have.
      Before applying, please ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria and read through the details of the needed requirements as well as the relevant Product Disclosure Statements/Terms and Conditions when comparing your options before making a decision on whether it is right for you.Hope this helps!


  3. Default Gravatar
    ToyaOctober 11, 2018

    Is arrowhead advance a good legit loan

    • Default Gravatar
      joelmarceloOctober 11, 2018

      Hi Toya,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      Unfortunately we do not have information about Arrowhead Advance directly from finder. However, we have general guide to determine if loan company is legit or not. Please click HERE for more info.

      Please send me a message if you need anything else. :)


  4. Default Gravatar
    MissyJune 23, 2018

    I’m looking for a loan options that are not a scam and are legit I looking for a loan before mon June 25 it’s a emergency do you have and suggestions or help

    • Default Gravatar
      nikkiangcoJune 24, 2018

      Hi Missy,

      Thanks for contacting finder.

      You can check this page to find out how to borrow money fast.
      Please know that all information on our website is legitimate and not scam.

      Hope this helps.


  5. Default Gravatar
    BellaMay 16, 2018

    I’m trying to find out if trust loan network is legit or a scam before I give them any information that could leave me bankrupt. Can someone please help?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniMay 16, 2018Staff

      Hi Bella,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      As a friendly reminder, while we do not represent any company we feature on our pages, we can offer you general advice. TrustedLoanNetwork only deals with lenders that follow responsible lending practices. Your application is processed in a secure environment and connected with a lender that is best suited to your needs.

      You may want to read more about TrustedLoanNetwork’s review page with finder in this page.

      I hope this helps.

      Have a great day!


  6. Default Gravatar
    StanFebruary 20, 2018

    I have a Important Infornation letter from Social Security that states I have been approved for disability payments, but have yet to receive any funds. I’m at bare bones now, and I need money badly. Can I use this letter as enough guarantee of ability to repay the loan? I expect to start getting the money soon, but they’re taking a long time to get back to me.
    Thank you,

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaMarch 28, 2018Staff

      Hi Stan,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder.

      I’m sorry to hear about your situation. I hope all things would get better for you soon.

      Regarding your question, it is really up to the lender. However, in most cases, they need other documents aside from the Social Security letter that you received. They need to ensure that a borrower can surely make the repayments.

      However, you may still want to try. Explore the options on our page and click on the “Go to site” green button to initiate your loan application.

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

      Have a wonderful day!


  7. Default Gravatar
    KeishaJanuary 28, 2018

    Is there a payday loan that I could borrow from living in New York, I needed to borrow less than a thousand dollars my credit is not the best but I do a stable job. I just want to be able to pay my bills and still be able to pay back on payday

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      HaroldFebruary 4, 2018Staff

      Hi Keisha,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      While payday loans aren’t legal in New York due to NY Banking Law 373. There are loan-connection services that can help you find a suitable loan. Another option available for you are tribal loans but you have to note of its interest rate and fees which are usually high. You may also want to check resources available to you locally. You can check this page for other alternatives to payday loan.
      Please check the eligibility criteria and make sure that you meet them before applying for a loan.

      I hope this information has helped.


  8. Default Gravatar
    KalaJanuary 8, 2018

    I received a message through what seemed to be through Facebook and messenger saying i could put in a application through white rock Loans , I’m just wondering if there legit b4 i go through with it. Please help

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RenchJanuary 8, 2018Staff

      Hi Kala,

      Thanks for reaching out to us. Please note that we are not affiliated with any company we feature on our site and so we can only offer you general advice.

      Unfortunately, we don’t have information about White Rock Loans and it’s also not in our list of loans from our comparison reviews/pages.

      A “legit” payday loan is one that is offered to you legally, meaning the lender abides by all regulations set by your state, even if you are temporarily in somewhere else. Short term loans can be applied for online and in-store, but all fall under the same regulations.

      You’re actually already on the correct page on where you can compare your options by entering your state.

      Please click the name of your preferred lender to find out the details and the minimum eligibility. You may then click the green “Go to Site” button to submit your loan application online.

      Best regards,

  9. Default Gravatar
    LeandingJanuary 4, 2018

    Say my loans ready just pay a 120$ documation fee? Is this right

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoanneJanuary 5, 2018Staff

      Hi Leanding,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      Direct lenders of legit short term loans are upfront about the fees and charges you have to pay during the loan term, and they adhere to all given maximum limits. The loan contract should clearly set out all applicable fees and charges.

      You may also research further if a lender asks you to put down money before you get your funds. For your reference, here are the usual list of fees or cost that usually comes with payday loans.

      Best Regards,

  10. Default Gravatar
    Welderholt@yahoo.comDecember 6, 2017

    Are they a legit company

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RenchDecember 6, 2017Staff


      Thanks for your inquiry. Please note that we are not affiliated with any company we feature on our site and so we can only offer you general advice.

      Yes, they are legit lenders. You may click each lender that you prefer to know more through our review pages and also check their eligibility criteria before you apply.

      Best regards,

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