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Payday loan alternatives in Virginia

Consider these low-cost options before you take out a short-term loan.

If you find yourself relying on short-term loans, you might want to consider other less-expensive options first. These include joining a federal credit union to access payday alternative loans (PALs) or signing up for a benefits program available to Virginia residents. These might not be as fast, but they can help you avoid those near-700% APRs that payday lenders can legally charge in this state.

5 federal credit unions that offer payday alternative loans in Virginia

Some federal credit unions offer payday alternative loans (PALs) — also known as emergency loans. These are meant to give members a more affordable short-term loan option, with rates a fraction of what you’d get with a payday lender and terms you can afford.

Federal credit unionLocations in VirginiaLoan amountsAPRsLoan termsEligibility requirements
Hampton Veterans Affairs Federal Credit Union (HVAFCU)
  • Hampton

Plus, 5,000 shared branches across the country

Up to $60026.9% to 28%Up to 6 months
  • Member for at least 30 days
  • No outstanding HVAFCU emergency loan
  • Not causing the credit union a loss
Virginia Beach Schools Federal Credit Union
  • Virginia Beach
$200 to $1,000Up to 28%Up to 6 months
  • Member for at least 30 days
  • No current PALs
Chesterfield Federal Credit Union
  • Chesterfield
  • Midlothian

Plus, 4,000 shared branches across the country

$200 to $1,000VariesUp to 8 months
  • Member for at least 6 months
  • No previous emergency loans in the past year
University of Virginia Community Credit Union
  • Charlottesville
  • Crozet
  • Culpepper
  • Louisa
  • Nellysford
  • Orange
  • Palmyra
  • Ruckersville
  • Zion Crossroads

Plus, several shared branches across the state

Up to $50018%30 days
  • Member for at least 6 months
  • Direct deposit
Freedom First Credit Union
  • Blacksburg
  • Christiansburg
  • Daleville
  • Roanoke
  • Salem
  • Vinton
Average amount of $849VariesVaries
  • Not stated

6 resources and programs for Virginia residents

Virginia has several programs available to residents to help cover the costs of essentials like food, heating, housing and more. If you find yourself regularly relying on short-term loans to make ends meet, you might want to consider applying for benefits to reduce your monthly expenses. You can apply for most of these programs by using the Virginia CommonHelp application.

Energy assistance

  • What it provides: Help with costs related to heating, cooling or fuel
  • Who’s eligible: Low-income Virginia residents and families with a heating or cooling responsibility.

Virginia’s energy assistance program can help you cover a wide range of costs related to heating, cooling or energy consumption. These can include equipment repair or replacements, delivery and installation charges, deposits and more. You or your family’s income must not be higher than the state’s maximum for its size.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

  • What it provides: Financial assistance to help cover the cost of raising a child, plus training programs to help develop job skills
  • Who’s eligible: Low-income Virginia families with a child under 18 who has attended school regularly since they were 5, lives with a parent and is a US citizen or eligible immigrant

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) provides financial assistance to families living under the poverty line for up to 60 months. How much you receive depends on your income and the size of the family. If you qualify, you’ll receive a debit card you can use for most basic expenses. Some families might be required to participate in the Virginia Initiative for Employment not Welfare (VIEW) program in exchange for the grant.

Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP)

  • What it provides: Funds to pay for groceries or seeds and plants that you can use to grow your own food
  • Who’s eligible: Low-income Virginia residents that are US citizens or eligible immigrants

Formerly known as food stamps, Virginia residents can also apply for this federal food assistance program. It works by giving you a card you can swipe at the grocery store. How much you receive depends on your family size and income. And there are restrictions on what types of food you can buy.

Medical assistance programs

  • What it provides: Medical assistance and family planning services, though it varies by program
  • Who’s eligible: Varies by program

Virginia residents can qualify for three main healthcare assistance programs: Medicaid, Family Access to Medical Insurance Security Plan (FAMIS) and Plan First.

To qualify for the first two types of plans, you must meet maximum income requirements and fall into one of the following categories:

  • Under 19 years old
  • Parent living with dependent children under 18
  • Pregnant
  • Adult ages 19 to 65
  • Adult above age 65
  • Blind
  • Disabled

There are different types of FAMIS programs for pregnant women and children. Plan First offers partial coverage for family planning services to those who can’t qualify for full assistance.

Child Care Subsidy Program

  • What it provides: Financial assistance for parents to cover the cost of child care while they’re at work, school or a training program
  • Who’s eligible: Low-income Virginia families who struggle to afford child care

This childcare assistance program is designed to help Virginia families become more self sufficient by making it easier to go to work or get the training you need while raising a young child. You can find out if you meet the eligibility criteria online through the CommonHelp application or by filling out and returning a paper form to a Virginia Department of Social Services office near you. You might have to hold an interview with a childcare worker and provide verification of your income to qualify.

Auxiliary Grants

  • What it provides: Supplemental income for housing, care and personal expenses for low-income adults who need living assistance
  • Who’s eligible: You must be over 65, blind or disabled; live in Virginia for at least 90 days; live in an eligible assisted living facility, supportive house setting or approved adult foster care home; US resident or eligible immigrant; low income; assets less than $2,000 for one person or $3,000 for a couple; applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

An Auxiliary Grant can help cover general living expenses for adults that aren’t covered by Medicaid or SSI if you or a loved one has an eligible living arrangement. You can use it for anything from having your sheets cleaned weekly to hair styling and snacks.

Apply by submitting an application to the Virginia Department of Social Services office in your area — or the area where you lived before you entered an institution. A social worker then stops by to assess your situation. It can take as long as 45 days to process the application.

Consider an installment loan instead

If you’ve decided to get a short-term loan, consider these installment loan providers that offer loans with longer repayment terms than a typical payday loan.

Name Product Filter Values Loan amount Turnaround time Requirements
OppLoans Installment Loans
$500 to $5,000
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.
$1,000 to $25,000
2 to 3 business days
Be employed, have a US bank account, live in a state where Stilt operates, hold one of the following visas: F-1 and OPT, H-1B, H4, O-1, L-1, TN, J-1, DACA or be a US citizen.
No green card? You could still qualify for a personal loan.
Fast5kLoans Short-term Loans Connection Service
$100 to $35,000
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.
LendYou Short-term Loans
$100 to $2,500
Same business day to 1 business day
$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.
Monevo Installment Loans
$500 to $100,000
Varies by lender
Credit score of 500+, legal US resident, ages 18+
Quickly compare multiple online lenders with competitive rates depending on your credit.

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

With APRs capped at 687.76%, payday loans in Virginia are more costly than the alternative — especially if you’re looking for a long-term solution. Even if you’re looking for a one-time emergency loan, installment loans and PALs are often easier to afford since they spread out repayments over several months.

Compare even more low-cost options with our guide to payday loan alternatives.

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