Yes, short-term loans are legal in Florida. Florida requires all payday lenders to be licensed with the state and follow regulations.
Maximum loan amount: $500
Maximum loan term: 31 days
Minimum loan term: 7 days
You can find the main regulations in Florida Statutes Chapter 560.402 et seq.
Compare short-term loans available in Florida
Updated April 10th, 2020
How much do Florida short-term loans cost?
Florida doesn’t just regulate how much you can borrow and how long you can take to pay it back. It also has rules about how much your lender can charge you for a short-term loan.
Finance charge: 10% of the loan, or $10 for every $100 borrowed
Verification fee: $5
APR: The APR of a 14-day $100 loan is 419%
Our top three picks for Florida short-term loan providers
Ready to start comparing short-term lenders? Check out how these three payday loan providers work in Florida.
CashNetUSA offers payday loans to Florida residents. These are traditional payday loans, meaning that you get your funds in one lump sum and pay it back in full within the next month, usually on your next payday. You can apply online and get approved within minutes, getting your money as soon as the next business day. If you get your salary in the form of a paper check, CashNetUSA gives you a one-day grace period to let it clear.
Loan amounts: $100 to $500
Fees: $5 fee per loan, plus $10 for every $100 borrowed
When you pay it back: On your next payday if it’s in 8 to 31 days, otherwise 13 days after you get your funds.
Check into Cash
Check Into Cash has both online and in-store options for Florida residents who need a payday loan. Applying typically takes around five minutes and you can get your funds as soon as the next business day. But watch out young borrowers: Even though the age of majority on Florida is 18, this lender is only open to borrowers 21 and above.
Loan amounts: Up to $500
Fees: $15 to $55 per online loan, $8 to $53 for in-store loans
When you pay it back: Typically within two to four weeks.
Having difficulty finding a lender that works for you? Don’t have time to apply for multiple offers from different lenders. BadCreditLoans.com is a connection service that can help you get multiple offers from short-term lenders in Florida.
You can get connected with lenders in just a few minutes by filling out a quick online application. Many of its partners offer funding in as little as 24 hours. Loan amounts, fees and turnaround time varies by lender.
Florida only lets borrowers take out one payday loan at a time. You also can’t rollover or renew your payday loan if you can’t afford to pay it off when your due date comes up. In fact, you aren’t allowed to take out another payday loan until 24 hours after you paid off your previous loan.
So what can you do if you can’t pay up when the due date rolls around? Go to your lender before your payment is due and explain in person that you won’t be able to afford it. If you tell your lender ahead of time and in person, it’s required to give you a 60-day grace period. You’ll be required to make an appointment at a credit counseling agency within the next seven days, however.
What’s a “deferred presentment provider”?
Florida law technically regulates deferred presentment providers, not payday lenders. What’s the difference? For the borrower, they’re basically the same thing.
Deferred presentment providers work the same way as other payday lenders. They’re required to be licensed in order to service loans. You’ll need to provide either a check or access to a checking account, and the lender will cash either the check or debit the account on the date the loan is due.
What do I need to apply?
You’ll need to be at least 18 years old, a US citizen or permanent resident and have a regular source of income in order to meet the minimum eligibility requirements set by most payday lenders.
During your application, you’ll need to be prepared to submit personal details, such as you Social Security number, details from your ID and access to your checking account.
How can I tell if a payday lender is legit?
Ask yourself these questions when you’re looking at a lender:
Is it licensed in Florida? Florida requires all payday lenders to be licensed with the Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR), even if they lend online. Many legit lenders display their licenses on their state pages.
Do its loan amounts, terms and fees meet regulations? It’s not legit if it offers loans over $500 with terms and fees outside of what Florida’s laws allow.
Does it allow multiple payday loans at once? Florida law only lets borrowers have one loan at a time.
Does it guarantee approval? No legit payday lender can absolutely guarantee approval. When it sounds too good to be true, it often is.
Is the website secure? Another tell-tale sign of a scam is a lender that doesn’t use SSL encryption to protect borrowers’s information when they apply online. You can check this by looking at the URL. If there’s a green lock next to the web address, it’s secure.
What do customers say? A few bad online reviews are normal for any lender. But if you notice several customers complaining about the same problem, it could be a red flag.
How to make sure a lender is licensed
Many lenders display their state licenses on their websites, but it’s not always obvious where. You can verify that a lender is licensed in Florida by filling out a quick form on the Florida OFR’s website or calling (850) 487-9687.
How do I file a complaint against a payday lender in Florida?
Think you’re a victim of a payday lender that didn’t follow the rules? You have a few options when it comes to filing a complaint against it, namely the Florida OFR and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Filing a complaint with the OFR
Since the OFR directly regulates Florida short-term loans, you might want to make it your first stop. You can fill out a complaint form on its website in just a few minutes. To file a compliant, you need to first create an account with a username and password and provide the following information:
A summary of your complaint. This should include the specifics of the incident, the lender’s name and the the names of any relevant individuals.
Copies of relevant documents. Have scans or PDFs of your contracts, statements and and other documents supporting your case ready to upload on its online form.
Filing a complaint with the CFPB
On top of complaining to the OFR, you might also want to file a complaint with the CFPB. It can help you try and resolve the complaint with the business and also helps influence national regulations on payday lenders. You can file a complaint by filling out an online form. Similar to the OFR, you’ll need to include:
Details about the complaint. This means names, dates, amounts and any other specific information that can strengthen your case.
Documentation. Upload statements, contracts and any other documents to help the CFPB verify your complaint.
Florida's upcoming installment loan regulations
In March 2018, Florida’s house and senate passed a bill changing payday loan regulations that’s set to take effect on July 1, 2019. In short, this law makes it possible for borrowers to seek installment loans for their short-term needs but doesn’t eliminate smaller payday loans. Any loan you pay back in one payment follows the old rules. Larger short-term loans that you pay off with one repayment will need to meet the following requirements:
Maximum loan amount: $1,000
Loan term: 60 to 90 days
Time between repayments: 13 days and one month
Maximum fee: 8% of the loan balance ever two weeks
It’ll also be illegal for any lender to charge prepayment penalties.
A brief warning about payday loans
While payday loans can be a good way to get ahead of your bills, they can be extremely expensive for people without a budget. You loan will always come with a contract that states the total cost — the principal, interest and other charges —that come with borrowing. Because Florida law has a maximum loan term of 31 days, you may struggle to meet the payment deadline.
Borrowing responsibly is your best bet against going further into debt. In addition, applying for assistance programs can also help you avoid further debt. The Florida Food Assistance Program is one of the ways you can get help paying for your everyday expenses while still saving money to also pay for your debt.
Four Florida payday loan alternatives
Sometimes it can feel like a short-term loan is your only option. But there are alternatives out there you might want to explore before you visit your local payday lender. Here are a few of your options.
1. Florida Food Assistance Program
Could cutting down on food costs help you make your monthly bills? Formerly known as the food stamp program, Florida Food Assistance helps low-income families get access to affordable, nutritious food. You’ll need to meet some requirements to qualify — including being a Florida resident and have a certain household income that varies by number of people.
2. Ask friends and family for help
If you haven’t asked your friends and family to help you out of a pinch, you might want to. Even if none of them can afford to cover the whole cost, crowdsourcing funds can help you avoid taking out an expensive loan — or getting caught up in a cycle of debt.
3. Make some extra cash on the side
There are several quick temporary gigs that you can take up to cover expenses when things get tight. Even spending a few hours filling out taking online surveys and participating in marketing research can potentially help you cover your short-term expenses.
4. Consider credit counseling
If you find yourself needing extra funds regularly, you might want to consider signing up for credit counseling. A credit counseling agency can help you come up with a plan to manage your personal finances and get you back on your feet. You can find a list of government-approved credit counseling agencies on the Department of Justice’s website.
Planning for payday loan expenses keeps you out of permanent debt
As the federal government determines how to regulate the payday loan industry nationally because of the high cost to consumers, it’s important to remember that a payday loan can be helpful — if you use it right. Because Florida already has helpful regulations in place, the rate of default is lower than the national average. This is due to Florida’s 60-day repayment plan and the credit counseling that comes with it.
Creating a budget for yourself or your family is one of the best ways to combat debt. Until banks and credit unions offer similar services to people with bad credit who need payday loans, government officials in Florida intend on keeping the laws in place. Many consider this the only way out of an emergency, even if it costs more in the long run.
Have any more questions about short-term loans in Florida?
It’s possible — but you might not get the best deal. No credit check loans can be more expensive than other short-term loan options. Instead, you might want to look for a lender that only runs a soft credit check that won’t hurt your credit score and accepts your credit range. Or, look into payday loan alternatives.
It does. Florida’s “deferred presentment transaction system” tracks all payday loan transactions in the state. You can’t access it on your own, however — you must be a payday lender to log on. Payday lenders use this to make sure that borrowers don’t already have a short-term loan in their name.
Currently it’s five years. This means that if you can’t pay off your payday loan, your lender has five years to collect the funds — thorough a court order or other legitimate means — before it can no longer come after you.
Title loans are permitted in Florida. Since Florida doesn’t limit the fees lenders can charge on auto title loans, you may want to consider more affordable options before getting one.
Elizabeth Barry is Finder's global fintech editor. She has written about finance for over five 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 Lizzies. Elizabeth has found writing about innovations in financial services to be her passion (which has surprised no one more than herself).
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