Top alternative providers for short-term loans.
Advance America is a nationally recognized financial institution serving borrowers for more than 20 years. With thousands of locations across the US and a quick online application, many people turn to Advance America to fund their short-term lending needs.
But if you live outside a state serviced by Advance America or don’t have a regular source of income, it might not be your best choice when you’re narrowing down short-term lenders.
- Apply online or at one of more than 2,000 locations nationwide.
- Offers payday, installment and auto title loans.
- No credit history required for approval.
- Member of the Community Financial Services Association.
- Requires a bank account.
- You must prove a regular source of income.
1. Check Into Cash
Check Into Cash lends online and in stores to borrowers looking to take out a small payday loan — up to $1,000 in some states — to cover a budget gap. Check Into Cash also had a hand in founding the Community Financial Services Association of America (CFSA), a trade organization representing the payday lending industry. The CFSA promotes laws and protections for consumers while also protecting its lending clients.
Check Into Cash offers short-term loans in more than 30 states nationwide. Like Advance America, Check Into Cash its services include title and installment loans that allow you to borrow more to cover larger needs. Accredited by the Better Business Bureau since 2000, it garners positive reviews from customers. Its site includes separate pages for each state it services, making it easy to calculate the specific fees you face based on how much you want to borrow.
Unlike Advance America and many other short-term lenders, Check Into Cash requires that its borrowers are at least 21 years old. If you don’t meet this age requirement, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
2. ACE Cash Express
Founded in 1968, ACE Cash Express serves a wide variety of lending needs through its site and more than 1,000 store locations. Like many lenders, it offers payday loans and other short-term credit options, including installment loans and auto title loans.
ACE Cash Express protects its payday loans of Varies by state to with a 72-hour satisfaction guarantee. If you decide you no longer want your loan, cancel it within three days with no penalty — much longer than the single business day offered by Advance America.
Unfortunately, ACE Cash Express services only 23 states. In a few of these states — like Georgia and Washington, DC — the lender isn’t licensed to offer payday loans. Which means you might not be able to borrow from this lender.
CashNetUSA has served more than 3 million customers in the decade since its founding. You can apply for short-term funding quickly, and you’ll know if you’re approved within minutes.
Unlike Advance America and other competitors, CashNetUSA doesn’t cap its payday loans at $1,000. Rather, in a few states, you may be able to borrow up to $1,800. Through a friendly website, you can easily see how much you can borrow in your state. Earning positive reviews on Trustpilot, CashNetUSA offers live chat to its customers for a good loan experience.
Although CashNetUSA offers a variety of short-term loan products, payday loans are available in 18 states only. And because its entire loan process is online, you won’t have the option of leaving a check or picking up your cash in person.
4. Cash Store
Serving borrowers since 1996, Cash Store offers more than just payday loans. As long as you live in one of the few states with Cash Store locations, you could walk out with a loan in minutes.
Cash Store’s site offers an informative FAQ that can answer many of your questions when it comes to how much you can borrow and how much you’ll pay back. You can complete a portion of your application online, which speeds up the process of getting your loan at a store. And special offers mean you might be able to save more on your first financing charge or by referring a friend.
Cash Store offers a variety of loan products. But if you’re looking for an online payday loan, it might not be the right choice for you. Cash Store also isn’t a fully online lender, which means you must visit a store to apply. And cash advances are only available in two states: Illinois and Michigan.
5. Check ‘n Go
Check ‘n Go takes pride in servicing its loans with a focus on customer service to help people with financial difficulties secure credit they may not qualify for elsewhere. Completing an online application takes 15 minutes, with upfront terms on loans of up to $1,500, depending on where you live.
Check ‘n Go’s Refer-a-Friend program offers $50 per referral, and its website includes informative pages about the states it services.
Unlike Advance America, Check ‘n Go requires a $100 minimum loan. Which means it might not be your best bet if you need less to get you to the next paycheck.
6. Speedy Cash
Speedy Cash has allowed borrowers in underserved communities to take out payday loans since 1997. You can apply either online or in person in nearly every state its licensed in. And your options aren’t limited to payday loans — you can also take out an installment or title loan, just like Advance America.
Even without stellar credit, you can apply online or at one of Speedy Cash’s store locations for cash pickup. Or apply to load your funds onto one of three prepaid debit cards, giving you access to emergency funds without ATM fees, when you withdraw at a Speedy Cash store.
Unlike many of its competitors, however, Speedy Cash isn’t represented on the Better Business Bureau’s site. You also won’t find a physical location in all states, potentially limiting its “instant” options.
- Turnaround by the next business day.
- Store pickup available.
- Loans of up to $5,000.
- Only installment loans offer higher amounts.
- You must have a valid phone number.
- Available in less than half the US states. AL, AK, AZ, CA, CO, DE, HI, IL, ID, KS, LA, MO, MS, ND, NV, OH, OK, RI, TN, TX, UT, VA, WI, WY.
LoanByPhone is a small-dollar lender that’s a subsidiary of Check Into Cash. It follows best practices outlined by the Community Financial Services Association, offering payday loan amounts that range from $100 to $1,500 online or by phone.
LoanByPhone’s online rate calculator can help you estimate the amount you’ll owe based on how much you borrow. Simply select your state and use the slider to adjust your loan amount to see the APR, fee and total you’ll pay back over the life of your loan.
A potential drawback for LoanByPhone is its application: While you can prequalify through the company, you’re redirected to Check Into Cash for the actual application. If you’d rather stick with one direct provider, look to Advance America or other competitors.
LendUp is an online lending platform focused on helping its borrowers rebuild their credit histories. While its licensed to lend in only eight states, its free educational courses makes it an excellent resource for people looking to improve their financial health.
Through the LendUp Ladder, you can increase the amount you borrow at lower interest rates as you pay off existing loans. Once you reach Platinum or Prime status, your loans are reported to a major credit bureau, allowing you to improve your score with responsible repayments.
Your state of residence affects how much you can initially borrow — likely under $500 for a first-time borrower. The structure of the LendUp Ladder also varies by state, and you may not be able to access every tier with a payday loan. If you’re looking for larger amounts or don’t live in a state LendUp services, look into competitors.