There are dozens of short-term lenders across the country. Many are trustworthy and follow state laws to the letters. Others are predatory and use payday loans as a way to take advantage of others. By reading reviews, you give yourself the chance to learn about a company before applying, saving yourself time and, potentially, money.
A good review covers the benefits and drawbacks of the lender without too much bias. If the review is too positive or negative, watch out. It could be someone paid to leave a good review or someone with bad budgeting skills leaving a bad one. The more moderate a review is, the more trustworthy it is.
If you think there might be a chance the lending company you’re looking at is a scam, check with your local government. Many states require a license to operate a payday loan business. If they’re legitimate, they’ll have one.
Multiple repayment options, including electronic withdrawal from bank account and paying by debit card over the phone
What can I find out from a short-term loan review?
A good short-term loan review gives you all the information you need to make an informed decision and should cover these aspects:
Interest rate and APR. While you have to pay interest on a short-term loan, the APR represents the true cost. It includes the interest as well as all associated fees. The amount varies considerably from one lender to the next.
Fees. short-term loan reviews should give you a clear indication of all the fees and charges you could end up paying over the course of your loan, including financing fees, ongoing fees and fees you might have to pay if you miss a payment.
Access to funds. Some lenders only operate online, meaning you’ll have to provide a bank account so the lender can deposit the money directly. If you want to pick up your money in cash or as a prepaid debit card, you’ll need to find reviews of lenders who have storefronts.
Repayment options. There are a number of ways you can repay a loan, but some lenders don’t allow all of them. Read reviews to find out what the company you’re looking at prefers. Keep in mind that some lenders also charge a fee for early payment.
Application process. A good review should tell you how simple or complicated the application process is and how long it might take to complete.
About the lender. Reading a short-term lender’s review should give you some idea about the company’s history and the other products the lender offers.
How can I use reviews to find the right short-term loan?
Going through short-term loan reviews or consumer reports can help you narrow down your choices. Pay attention to these factors:
Eligibility criteria. If you don’t meet the required eligibility criteria, there’s no point in applying, and doing so might damage your credit rating. Checking the eligibility criteria ahead of time minimizes the chance of a rejected application.
Loan amount. Find out the minimum and maximum amount a lender is willing to give to be sure you can get the exact financing you need. Some lenders set high minimum amounts so you have to borrow hundreds of dollars to be considered.
Repayment method. Most lenders allow payments via direct debits from your bank account, but this can be bad if you don’t have the money in your account to repay. If you wish to repay the loan using cash or check, you have more limited options since you’ll have to go to a storefront location.
Additional features. Does the lender offer any additional features that might be of use to you? For example, some lenders offer higher loan amounts and better interest rates to repeat borrowers.
Money processing. If you need money soon, you’ll want to read reviews about lenders with storefronts. Online lenders can approve you quickly, but it will usually take one or two business days for the funds to reach your account.
Elizabeth Barry is Finder's global fintech editor. She has written about finance for over six years and has been featured in a range of publications and media including Seven News, the ABC, Mamamia, Dynamic Business and Financy. Elizabeth has a Bachelor of Communications and a Master of Creative Writing from the University of Technology Sydney. In 2017, she received the Highly Commended award for Best New Journalist at the IT Journalism Awards. Elizabeth's passion is writing about innovations in financial services (which has surprised her more than anyone else).
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