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Short-term loan interest rates, research and statistics in the US

Are payday loans worth worth the convenience?

If you need access to cash quickly, a short-term loan can help. A short-term loan can get you out of a financial jam, whether you need money for a medical bill, to get your car repaired, or more. They are designed to help you if you need cash fast, and can’t wait until payday. It’s important to note that short-term loans can have negative consequences, so be sure to understand how they work, what fees are involved, and what the interest rate is beforehand.

What are short-term loan interest rates?

The APR for short-term loans is often much higher than that of normal bank financing. On average, short-term loans have an APR of around 400%. The APR typically ranges from about 390% to 780%. For credit cards and personal loans with standard banks, the APR is a lot lower. For example, the national average APR for credit cards is around 15%.
To give you an example of how APR works with short-term loans, take a $200 loan amount with a loan fee of $30. If you have a repayment term of 12 days, your APR would come out to 456.25%.

How much will my interest rate be?

Your interest rate depends on how much you’re borrowing and for how long. You can get an estimate of the rate and costs using the short-term loan calculator below. Use the slider to select how much you want to borrow and for how long, and you will get an indication of how much you will be charged.

Warning about borrowing

Short-term loans can be expensive, so make sure you absolutely need one before you take it out. The APR is a lot higher for short-term loans than other financing options. APR rates can reach astronomical heights and keep borrowers deep in debt with their payday lenders.
Additionally, many short-term loans have hidden fees and overdraft fees that can add up to over a hundred dollars.
If you are struggling to pay bills, and your debt is piling up, talk to you utilities providers and see if they can work out a payment plan. If you are on government benefits, see if you can receive an advance. For other options that are more affordable, explore our payday loan alternatives guide.

Compare short-term loans and other alternatives

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Name Product Filter Values Loan amount Turnaround time Requirements
Chime SpotMe®
Not rated yet
Chime SpotMe®
Up to $200
Same day
Single qualifying $200 direct deposit into Chime checking account in the last 34 days.
Access fee-free overdrafts up to $200 when eligible. Plus get your paycheck up to 2 days early with direct deposit. See Chime terms and conditions.
Smart Advances
Not rated yet
Smart Advances
$100 to $20,000
As soon as one business day after loan closing
Have a regular income, 18+ years old, be a U.S. citizen with a valid SSN, have an open bank account, meet any additional requirements your lender may have
Smart Advances was designed to help you request the loan you need, for any reason.
Not rated yet
$20 to $250
3 to 4 days standard transfer. Same day with $3.99 express fee.
Not stated
Automatically monitor your spending plus access cash advances up to $100 at a time.
OppLoans Installment Loans
Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5: ★★★★★
OppLoans Installment Loans
$500 to $4,000
As soon as the same business day.
+18 years old, Receive paychecks through 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.
Not rated yet
1 to 3 business days, or instant with a fee or Premium subscription
Bank account must have at least 60 days of activity, Balance must be above $0 and have an average minimum balance on pay day
Have up to $250 automatically deposited into your account — for a $9.99 membership fee.
Possible Finance Mobile Installment Loans
Up to $500
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 21 states.
LendYou Short-term Loans
Finder Rating: 2.5 / 5: ★★★★★
LendYou Short-term Loans
$100 to $1,000
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.
MoneyLion Instacash advances
$250, $1000 with RoarMoney account
Up to 5 days or instant for a fee
Bank account must have at least 60 days of activity, show recurring deposits and must have a positive balance
Fee-free, interest-free cash advances up to $250.
Fast5kLoans Short-term Loans Connection Service
Finder Rating: 3.5 / 5: ★★★★★
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.
CashNetUSA Loan
Finder Rating: 3.6 / 5: ★★★★★
CashNetUSA Loan
Varies by state
As fast as same business day
Regular source of income, bank account, US citizen or permanent resident, age of majority in your state
Sign up for its discount program to get access to coupons and deals on everything from dining out to tax services.

How do payday loan rates differ from other financial products?

  • Credit cards. Credit card interest rates vary by company and type of credit card. Additionally, credit card rates are variable, while short-term loans are fixed. Credit card APR will also be higher or lower depending on your credit score. The national average credit card APR right now is 15.07%, but of course, can be more or less depending on different factors.
  • Personal loans. Personal loan interest rates also depend on the lender and if the loan is secured or unsecured. The interest rate for personal loans largely differs by what credit tier you fall under. For example, an excellent credit score would get an average APR of 10.94%, and a good credit score would receive around a 14.56% rate. For average credit, you would most likely get an APR around 19.56%, and a bad credit score would receive an APR of around 28.64%. No-credit-check loans typically have the highest APR, averaging about a 36% APR.

What other fees come with short-term loans?

Short term loan fees vary by lender and state, but generally charge a fixed-fee based on the amount borrowed. You can expect around a $10 to $30 fee for every $100 borrowed. A $15 fee for $100 borrowed is pretty standard; going along with this example, these terms equate to around a 400% APR for a 2 week plan.
The lender will usually outline the monthly and annual fees ahead of time. For late payments or defaults on the loan, you could be charged additional fees. Making payments on time and paying back all fees is essential, because the lender can take you to court otherwise.

Factors to consider in addition to the interest rates

Interest rate isn’t the only part of a payday loan to take into account.

What is the loan turnaround time?

Be aware of how long will it take for the loan amount to transfer to you, and make sure the turnaround time will meet your needs as a borrower. If you apply at a physical location, the turnaround may be same day.

Is the lender easy to contact?

Make sure the company is easy to contact, and lists a phone number and email address. It is also convenient if the company offers a live chat feature. Being able to reach the company is helpful in case you have problems with repayments, or need to ask a question.

Does the site have clear information?

Look for a lender that lists out loan information clearly and is transparent about all of the details. See if you can find information on fees and terms and conditions on the company’s website.

What are the loan terms and amount?

Each lender may vary in the loan amount and term. It is important to find a company that provides the loan details that work best for your situation. Some lenders only offer small loans to new borrowers, while others maybe have repayment amounts that are too expensive to afford.

Does the loan have any additional features?

There are short-term loan lenders that offer additional benefits and features. These may include discounts on future loans.

Repayment example

Here’s an example of repaying a typical short term loan:

  • Loan Amount: $500
  • Loan Term: 30 days
  • APR (Annual Percentage Rate): 299%
  • Total Repayments: $624.58
  • Cost of Loan: $124.58

Want to apply? Here’s how

First, be sure you know the cautions before borrowing. Think about your personal situation and decide if a short-term loan is the best option for you and your unique circumstances. Look at the term options and if the repayment amounts will be doable for you.
If a short-term loan looks like your best option, make sure to avoid getting multiple payday loans and be absolutely sure you can afford to pay the interest.
If you are interested in applying for a short-term loan, you can compare different lenders available in your state. Once you decide on a lender, you can click “Go to site,” to then be directed over to the lender’s online application form. To be eligible for application, you must be at least 18 years old and be generating income to your bank account.

More about how short-term loans work

Typically, short-term loans range from $100 to $2,000, and on average have around a 2 week term. The loans are also called “payday” loans because the terms and amounts are usually coordinated to your income and how often you are paid from your place of employment.
Short term loans, in general, do not usually help build credit or increase your credit score. If you want to build your credit score, it may be better to explore another financing option like a credit card.

Are payday loans available in my state?

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