First-time borrowers can get up to $3,000, but beware of extremely high interest rates.
When you’re caught in a financial pinch, and feel like you’ve run out of options, you may end up turning to a short-term lender like Plain Green. It offers loans starting at $500 with flexible repayment options and no prepayment penalties, but beware of absurdly high interest rates that can exceed 400%.
Rhys Subitch is a writer and editor at Finder who tackles topics across the site. With half a decade of experience researching, editing and writing for a Fortune 500 company, university and several independent publications, Rhys brings readers the most up-to-date and curated info on all things finance.
What is a Plain Green short-term loan?
Plain Green is a tribal lender that provides unsecured short-term installment loans to eligible applicants. First-time customers can apply for up to $3,000, but the maximum amount can increase to $3,000 for repeat borrowers. You’ll have between 10 and 26 months to make repayments, but with interest rates that range from 210% to 438%, these loans can get expensive fast. Plain Green only offers financing to residents of 26 states, so check that yours makes the list before applying.
What states does Plain Green offer installment loans in?
What are the benefits of a Plain Green short-term loan?
Cancelation available. Once you get the loan, you have the right to return the full amount within five business days without paying a dime. When you’re in a pinch, it can be hard not to make a snap decision. This clause eases the chance of borrower’s remorse.
Possible extension. Plain Green could give you a seven-day extension on a payment if you’re unsure you can make it in time. However, the terms of when and how often you can request an extension aren’t outlined on its site.
Equal loan payments. As with any installment loan, your payment amounts won’t change from month to month.
No early repayment fees. Interest costs can be cut down by paying off your short-term loan early. Plain Green doesn’t charge a fee for making early repayments.
What to watch out for
Plain Green’s biggest flaw is its colossal APRs. Most short-term lenders charge inordinate interest rates, and it’s important to fully understand the dangers that come with taking out a loan with these.
Outrageous APRs. A $500 loan with a 438% interest rate with bi-weekly payments costs a total of $1,763 over 10 months. That number skyrockets up to $1,910 if you choose to make monthly payments instead.
Limited availability. You’ll need to live in one of the 26 states that Plain Green services to qualify for this loan.
Unknown fees. Plain Green advertises that there are no hidden fees, but it doesn’t provide any of the possible late or returned payment fees on its website. This means it’s not easy to tell what types of charges you might incur until after you’ve applied.
Poor customer service. The second most frequent complaint that shows up in negative reviews relates to customer service. Borrowers complain of being unsatisfied with the answers they’ve received or not receiving any answers at all.
Beware of getting caught in a debt cycle
Steep APRs and months or years of payments makes short-term loans expensive. While the payments are predictable, they can be hard to make — especially when monthly payments can be over $190.
Short-term loans, by definition, aren’t suitable for long-term payments. The high cost can lead to repeat borrowing, which only compounds the debt and can makes monthly payments even harder. If you’re struggling to pay off your short-term loans, consider seeking out alternatives.
Security measures are also in place to keep any personal details sent online safe. Virus protection, firewalls and secure data transmission are all part of the information protection plan. Plain Green uses 128-bit SSL encryption when information is sent to you or your bank.
Because tribal lenders can avoid federal regulations and restrictions, leading to unfair practices, Plain Green’s membership with the Online Lender’s Alliance (OLA) gives you another level of security. OLA provides protection for short-term lenders and borrower.
What does the Internet say about Plain Green tribal short-term loans?
As of September 2018, Plain Green isn’t accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and earns a B- rating based on 145 complaints filed against it. Nearly all of its 21 reviews are negative, with borrowers citing poor customer service and outrageously high interest rates that many believed were against the law in their state. Others were upset that the company did a hard pull of their credit when they were just inquiring about potential interest rates.
Am I eligible?
Any application to Plain Green — rejected or approved — counts as a credit inquiry on your credit report. Too many inquiries can affect your ability to get approved for funding in the future, so weigh your options carefully before applying.
Once you’ve compared your options, you can potentially filter out a few more by looking over the minimum eligibility requirements. Here’s the criteria you’ll have to meet to be considered for a Plain Green short-term loan:
Be at least 18 years old — or 19 if you’re a resident of Alabama, Virginia, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
Have a job or proven source of income.
Have an email address.
Have an active and valid checking account.
Reside in a state that Plain Green does business in.
How do I apply?
Applying for a Plain Green short-term loan only takes a few minutes. Here are the steps to follow:
Go to the Plain Green website.
Select Apply now at the top of the page.
Provide your name, email address, Social Security number, date of birth, state of residence and ZIP code.
Create an account.
Wait for conditional approval.
If conditionally approved, enter the loan amount you want to request.
Wait for additional verification.
How to apply step-by-step with screenshots
After your information is verified and approved, you’re sent the loan terms and conditions. You can either accept the loan at this point or reject it. Upon acceptance, the funds will be deposited into your account in as little as one business day. If you choose to have a check mailed, it can take 7 to 10 days.
I got the Plain Green short-term loan. Now what?
Once you get the funds, it’s time to start paying off your loan. Automatic payments are available, and you can set them up over the phone or online by logging in to your account.
Because the interest rate is so high, it will likely cut the cost of your loan significantly if you can pay it off sooner. Take advantage of no prepayment penalties to save your hard-earned cash.
Short-term loans should always be considered as a last resort. Exhausting all other options will likely save you in the long run and could prevent you from getting caught in a debt cycle. Plain Green provides some good features — like no prepayment fees and potential flexibility to change your payment date — but the high APR can cost you thousands of dollars.
Plain Green is a tribal lender based out of the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation in Montana. The Chippewa Cree Tribe operates the business, and loans from them are governed under the laws of their tribe rather than your state.
You can pay off your loan using biweekly, monthly or semimonthly payments.
You can try to work with Plain Green if you think that you’ll be unable to make a payment. If you don’t contact them or can’t reach an agreement, you could be subject to late payment fees.
You can call Plain Green at 866-420-7157 or fill out its online form with any questions.
Image source: plaingreenloans.com
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