Plenty of websites offer short-term loans, but how do you know if you’re dealing with a real lender?
Fortunately, there are plenty real and legitimate short term lenders in the US. In the states where payday loans are legal, you can expect lenders to abide by all relevant state regulations. Here’s how to find real payday loans and lenders, and how to avoid the ones merely looking to take your money.
- Easy online application
- Quick approval
- Fast funding
- Long repayment terms
OppLoans Installment Loans
Installment loans with competitive rates from a top-rated direct lender.
- Minimum loan amount: $500
- Maximum loan amount: $5,000
- Turnaround time: 1 business day
- Loan term: 9 to 36 months
- Must have direct deposit and meet minimum income requirements
What is a “real” short term loan?
Simply put, a real short term loan is one you get through a direct lender. A direct lender has its own underwriting department and makes its own lending decisions.
This is in contrast to a loan matching service or an aggregator that collects your information and passes it on to a pre-selected bunch of lender. This can lead to you receiving scores of unsolicited offers, some of which might be scams. Searching online is also likely to turn up dubious operations alongside the legitimate ones.
With a real short term loan, you can expect to find out if the lender approves your application almost immediately. If approved, you can expect access to funds soon after. The time it takes depends on the lender you choose as well as whether you apply in-store or online.
A selection of real short term loans you can apply for
How can you identify a “real” short term lender?
Distinguishing a real short term lender from a potential scammer is easy if you go through the following steps:
- Interest and fees. A real payday lender has required licenses and permits in place, and is operates in accordance with applicable laws. Such lenders will display their interest rates and fees clearly. You also won’t have to worry about hidden charges.
- No guarantee of approval. If you encounter a website that claims to provide guaranteed short term loans, you should be wary. While it is true that most short term lenders have more relaxed lending criteria than banks, they always look at a borrower’s ability to repay before approving the loan.
- Loan amount. State regulations govern the maximum amount you can borrow through a payday loan. If you find a payday lender that’s providing loans beyond this limit, you can be certain that it’s operating outside the law.
- Reputation. Seeing what previous borrowers have to say about any short term lender should give you some indication of how good or bad it may be. Don’t limit yourself to reviews on the provider’s website, because these can be faked. Use Google to find comments about the provider on other sites, or use a source such as finder.com where reviews and short term information are provided as well as being able to find lenders.
Tips to identify a “real” short term lender online
These clues can help you be confident that you’re dealing with a real online short term lender:
- The fine print. Review the website of any short term loan provider before submitting an application. Look for any mentions of affiliates or lender partners to know whether you’re dealing with an aggregator or a loan matching service.
- License information. You can expect a real short term lender to display its licensing information on its website, you will also find details of relevant accreditations. Real lenders have to abide to payday loan regulations in the states they operate.
- Contact details. Look for contact details no matter which short term loan provider you select. If you find no more than an email address, you might want to consider moving on to your next option. Some direct short term lenders offer customer service via live chat and some offer support over the phone. Look for a physical address for the lender’s headquarters or registered office as well. If a website operates from outside the country, it can remain out of the reach of US law enforcement agencies.
Is there anything to consider before applying?
If you think you may not be able to repay the loan or that you might make your repayments late, reconsider applying for the loan in the first place. This is because you may have to pay additional fees and the lender can report your late or defaulted payment history to credit bureaus.
Before the lender sends you the funds, it will give you a loan contract. Go through this document carefully because it tells you how much you may have to pay as fees.