Legit Payday Loans

Legitimate short term loans

Before you submit your application, it’s always worth checking: is the short term loan you’re applying for legit? We take you through what you need to know.

While short term loans, also known as payday loans, can give you fast access to money when you need it, it’s important to deal with legitimate lenders. Payday loans aren’t legal in every state, and if they are legal, they must abide by state-specific rules and regulations.

Legitimate payday loans are provided by lenders that have all required licenses in place. State regulations govern features like maximum interest rates, fees and loan terms.

Read our guide to find out how you can make sure you are dealing with a legit lender and that the loan you are applying for is the real deal.

LendUp Payday Loans

LendUp Payday Loans

Apply for a payday loan conveniently online and borrow between $100 and $250.

  • Min. loan amount: $100
  • Loan term: 7–30 days
  • Total costs: Depends on your state, loan product, loan amount and the term of the loan.
  • Must be 18+
  • No security deposit needed
  • Confidential and secure
  • Accepting new applications in the following states only: CA, LA, MS, MO, OH, TN, TX, WI

    What is a “legit” short term loan?

    Short term loans typically need to be repaid by your next payday. 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.

    Generally, short term lenders have more relaxed criteria than banks and other lenders. You will be able to apply for a short term loan if you have bad credit, are on a lower income or receive government benefits. This relaxed eligibility criteria does mean rates and fees are higher than other loans, but lenders still have to stick to the state-mandated APR.

    The 'ability to repay' rule

    Lenders must make a reasonable judgment on an applicant’s ability to repay the loan. The lender should assess factors such as income, housing expenses and existing debt in determining if the applicant can reasonably repay the loan.

    If a lender doesn’t ask you for any of that information or doesn’t attempt to evaluate if you can afford the loan, the lender probably isn’t legit.

    A selection of loans you can consider applying for

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

    Rates last updated November 18th, 2017
    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 Maximum Loan Amount Term of Loan Turnaround Time Requirements
    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
    Be 18+ years of age and have a checking account that can accept electronic transfers.
    CashNetUSA Loan
    Apply for a short-term loan with an easy online application and dedicated customer service.
    Varies by state
    Varies by state
    1 business day
    You must be a US citizen or permanent resident, be at least 18 years old and have regular income and a bank account.
    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
    You must be at least 21 and an American citizen and have a bank account, email address and phone number.
    ACE Cash Express Payday Loans
    Quick short term, installment and title loans come with no prepayment penalty and a 72-hour satisfaction guarantee.
    Varies by state
    Varies by state
    Generally receive the money the next business day
    Must be 18+ years old, have a steady source of income and a checking or savings account. Must not be a debtor in bankruptcy.

    Compare up to 4 providers

    Three things to look for in a legit short-term loan

    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. If you’re looking for online legit short term loans, 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 they are before you apply. A legitimate short term lender should not shy away from providing a physical address, phone support or live chat.
    • Fees and charges. 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.

    How to protect yourself from payday loan scams

    Are these payday lenders legit? Find out now

    ACE Cash Express
    Check City
    Check Into Cash
    SWIFT Money Loans

    Benefits of a legit short term loan

    If you want to find a legit short term loan, keep an eye out for the following features:

    • 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 what the regulations are in your state to see if your lender is operating legally.
    • Multiple options. You can get in touch with direct lenders of legit short term loans, and you can go through a loan matching service. Sites such as finder.com that offer reviews of lenders can help you find legit lenders to apply with.
    • Bad credit is OK. Many lenders provide legit short term loans for bad credit, and while they may run a credit check, they focus more on your ability to manage the loan repayments.
    • Quick access to funds. If you apply in-store, you can get cash almost as soon as a lender approves your application. With online legit short term loans, the money is transferred into your bank account after you accept the loan contract, usually within one business day.
    • Use money for any reason. Short term lenders don’t place any stipulations on how you can use loan funds as long as you’re using the money for legitimate reasons.

    Don has a costly vet bill

    Man with dog Don has heard the horror stories with payday loans — those scams run by con men online. But when he finds a stray puppy and takes it to the local vet for shots, he spends more than he thought he would, leaving him strapped for cash for the rest of his monthly expenses.

    Don has bad credit from when he was younger and isn’t current on some credit card bills, so he doesn’t have a large line of credit. Traditional banks don’t lend small amounts of money, so Don thought he was stuck.

    Instead of giving up, Don heads online and looks up how to tell if a lender is legit or not. He compares different types of short-term loans and determines that, since they’re legal in his state and many are part of the Online Lender’s Alliance (OLA), it’s a good deal for him.

    He takes out a $200 payday loan with a reputable lender and works the costs into his next month’s budget.

    Some more considerations before you apply

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

    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. If your lender says you can, they may not be trustworthy.

    If you need funds fast, a cash advance loan can give you up to $1,000.

    Are payday loans available in my state?

    Frequently asked questions

    A payday loan, also known as a cash advance loan, is a short-term personal loan (typically $500 or less) that usually must be repaid within two weeks to a month. The repayment date is determined by your pay schedule. Because payday loans come with steep finance charges, it is not a long-term solution, but a temporary fix to an unexpected financial situation. Rules and regulations for payday loans vary from state to state.

    There are a few things you should know about payday loans in order to make the right decision for you and your family. First, you should generally only take out a payday loan in emergency situations because this type of loan is typically a short-term, one-time solution. If you have structural financial problems that cause you to have difficulty repaying debts, you should consider credit counseling.

    Second, you’ll want to make sure you can repay your loan 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.

    Third, before accepting a loan, 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.

    No. A lender should have a license to operate in each state, and if your state does not permit payday loans, then the license will not be legal. You may be able to consider getting an installment loan or an auto title loan instead.

    You should be US citizen or a permanent resident and you should have a regular source of income. You should also meet your state’s minimum age requirement.

    Yes. Some legit lenders offer alternative ways to receive your loan funds such as prepaid debit card loans or picking up your cash at a nearby store.

    You’ll have to provide your name, contact details, Social Security number, employment details and income details. If you’re applying online, you’ll need to provide your bank account details as well.

    Applying for a loan may go on your credit history report, and if you fail to make timely payments on your borrowed funds, your lender may report you to a collection agency. This will most likely go on your credit report. It’s always important to have the ability to repay a loan before you take one out.

    Of course, if you find a lender who helps build credit, making your payments on time can build your credit score. If you know you can repay and feel comfortable working with the high APR and fees, you could possibly raise your credit score through a payday loan.

    Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

    Ask an Expert

    You are about to post a question on finder.com:

    • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
    • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
    • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
    • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

    Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, read the PDS or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms and Conditions and our Privacy Policy.

    16 Responses

    1. Default Gravatar
      MrlenderNovember 8, 2017

      Is this company legit

      • Staff
        DanielleNovember 8, 2017Staff

        Hi there!

        Thank you for contacting finder. We are a comparison website and general information service, we’re more than happy to offer general advice.

        Which company are you referring to? Any of the companies listed on the table are legitimate. You may review and compare the offers available on the table. Once you have selected one, you may proceed by clicking the green “Go to Site” button.

        I hope this helps.


    2. Default Gravatar
      RayAugust 28, 2017

      I am offered a loan but they want to pick it up at western union .Does this sound legit

      • Staff
        JoanneAugust 28, 2017Staff

        Hi Ray,

        Thanks for your question.
        When you are approved for a loan online, usually you would receive the funds through your bank account. Some others, if you applied in person, would require you to collect the funds from a store/branch in your area and not in Western Union or any other third party remittance centers.
        Best if you do your research first before applying for any loans whether online or in person so you would know if the lender is legit or not. Please refer to the above article for more helpful tips on checking lender’s legitimacy.

        Hope this helps,

    3. Default Gravatar
      TerrieJuly 27, 2017

      I am looking for a short term loan of $5000. Which company would you recommend?

      Thank you!

      • Staff
        AnndyJuly 27, 2017Staff

        Hi Terrie,

        Thanks for your question.

        Kindly note that we are unable to recommend a specific lender. If you are looking to compare short term loans, you may compare your options above. You can also check this page.

        Short term loans may not be available in some states. Also, the amount that you can borrow depends on where you are located.

        It would be good to review the eligibility criteria and the terms and conditions of the loan before submitting your application


    4. Default Gravatar
      AutumnJuly 15, 2017

      Is flex loan legit i gave them my information

      • Staff
        AnndyJuly 15, 2017Staff

        Hi Autumn,

        Thanks for your question.

        Kindly note that our list of legitimate lenders is not all-inclusive. There may be other lenders available in your area that have legitimate operation.

        To help you identify if a lender is legitimate or not, you may want to check on the following details:

        BBB Accreditation
        Complete contact details including office address
        With clear guidelines on fees and charges

        I hope this helps.


    5. Default Gravatar
      JoyceJune 17, 2017

      Can you please tell me if “axis advance” and “stone lake lending” are legit?

      • Staff
        AnndyJune 20, 2017Staff

        Hi Joyce,

        Thanks for your question.

        Unfortunately, these lenders are not among those featured on our website. We are unable to verify if they are legitimate or not.

        Nevertheless, you can use our guide above to check and confirm if these lenders are legitimate.


    6. Default Gravatar
      HarleyApril 7, 2017

      Cash loans funding is willing to give me a 2500.00 loan providing i give them 10% up front for insurance.They have been up front about this and its also in the loan agreement. How do i find out if this is legit?

      • Staff
        HaroldJuly 10, 2017Staff

        Hi Harley,

        Thank you for your inquiry.

        As per checking you already opened the correct page where you can check the list of legitimate lenders. You can check in section “The features you’ll notice with a legit short term loan” the list of features for legitimate lenders. This will further guide you in reviewing the details before you send your application.

        I hope this information has helped.


    7. Default Gravatar
      AnnetteFebruary 10, 2017

      Can you reccommend legitimate installment loan providers in the State of Michigan? Thank You. Annette

      • Default Gravatar
        JonathanJune 25, 2017

        Hi Annette!

        We have this helpful page for you. :)

        You may click “Go to Site” green button of your chosen lender to proceed with your application.

        Hope this helps.


    8. Staff
      HaroldJuly 3, 2017Staff

      Hi Mary,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      If you are unsure whether the payday loan is a scam or not. You may want to read the guide here for your protection.

      I hope this information has helped.


    9. Default Gravatar
      MaryMay 5, 2017

      I have been offered a loan from GSH loans. I have never heard of them and want to know are the a real company or is this a scam?

    US Payday Loans Offers

    Learn about our information service
    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.