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Best payday loans and alternatives for 2023

Compare the top 6 legit payday lenders plus some cheaper alternatives

Payday loans are short-term loans which are paid off on your next payday – typically between seven to 30 days. $500 is a common amount for a payday loan– but this varies by state and your paycheck amount. Most payday lenders don’t charge interest, but rather, a flat fee called a finance charge which is usually $15 to $20 per $100 borrowed.

While expensive compared to cash advance apps and other personal loans, a payday loan can provide fast, same-day cash with no credit check required. To help you, we’ve narrowed down 6 of the best payday lenders, plus borrowing alternatives that may be cheaper.

6 best payday lenders:

Best overall: ACE Cash Express

ACE Cash Express Short-term Loans

3.6
★★★★★

Finder score

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In business for over 50 years, ACE Cash Express is one of the oldest lenders on this list and offers payday loans from $100 to $1,500 both in-store and online. It has over 850 locations across the US and offers in–store payday loans in 10 states and online applications in six states.

All fees are listed on its website and presented at the beginning of your loan contract, so you know exactly how much it will cost. While not accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, it has mostly positive reviews from customers on Trustpilot.

  • Only available in: California, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas

Best for comparing short-term lenders: LendYou

LendYou Short-term Loans

2.5
★★★★★

Finder score

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LendYou is a lender connection service that matches users to short-term payday and installment lenders without a credit check. You may apply for payday loans from $100 to $5,000, and turnaround time is the same business day or one business day.

LendYou isn't a direct lender, so the actual loan requirements and costs depend on the lender you're matched with. The lender may run a credit check depending on the loan you apply for. LendYou doesn't have a BBB page, so be sure you're visiting the official site before applying.

  • Not available in: Arkansas, New Hampshire, New York, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia

Best for small loan amounts: Speedy Cash

Speedy Cash Short-term Loans

4.4
★★★★★

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Speedy Cash offers payday loans in-store and online, with amounts ranging from around $50 to $3,000, depending on the state. Funds are issued within one business day on your debit card, in-person or direct deposit. The amount is due by your next paycheck.

You can either apply online or in a store in about 14 states nationwide. You can also apply over the phone. Fees vary by state, but plan to pay $15 to $20 per $100 borrowed. It also offers installment loans, vehicle title loans and lines of credit.

  • Available in: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Best for local availability: Check Into Cash

Check Into Cash Payday Loan

4.5
★★★★★

Finder score

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Check Into Cash is a licensed payday lender that offers payday loans from $50 to $1,500. While terms are typically 14 days long, it offers extended payment plans in certain states. Like other payday lenders, Check Into Cash has a finance charge of around $17 per $100 borrowed.

Check Into Cash has retail locations in 19 states. If you apply at a store, same-day funding is available. You can also check fees on its website before you apply. Check Into Cash is accredited by the BBB with an A+ rating, but has mixed customer reviews on Trustpilot.

  • Available in: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming
For new customers, loan amount can go up to $750 or state maximum.

Best for customer service: Check City

Check City Payday Loan

4.3
★★★★★

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Check City is a licensed lender that offers payday loans, as well as installment loans and title loans and lines of credit. Its payday loans cost around $17 per $100 borrowed with a repayment date between two and four weeks.

Same-day financing is available if you apply at a store, with online applications available in multiple states. Check City gets generally positive reviews on Trustpilot, with many citing a positive experience with employees at retail stores.

  • Available in: Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Best for turnaround time: Check ‘n Go

Check 'n Go Payday Loans

Read review

Check 'n Go offers payday loans, cash advances, installment loans and prepaid debit cards. The payday loan amounts vary state, and it's available in a large number of states. You can apply online and get funds in 24 hours, or in person at a store where you can access funds sooner.

Depending on the type of loan you choose, amounts could be from $100 to $1,500 — but the amount you qualify for largely depends on your ability to repay. Check 'n Go isn't accredited by the BBB, but it has mostly positive reviews on Trustpilot.

  • Available in: Alabama, California, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont

Methodology: How we chose the best payday lenders

Finder’s lending experts review legitimate payday lenders against these key metrics to narrow down the best payday loans:

  • Finance fees
  • Loan repayment terms
  • Number of states served
  • Online application availability
  • Repayment flexibility
  • BBB customer ratings
  • Trustpilot ratings

We didn’t include tribal lenders on this list, as they’re not subject to the same laws and regulations as licensed payday lenders. They’re known to engage in predatory lending practices and rely on tribal arbitration to resolve customer disputes.

Alternatives to payday loans

Payday loans aren’t the only alternative if you have bad credit and need quick cash. These other loan providers also work with lower credit borrowers and may be cheaper to use.

Alternative for building credit: Possible Finance

Possible Finance Mobile Installment Loans

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Possible Finance is a bad credit online lender offering loans of up to $500 that you can pay back in four installments over two months. Like payday loans, APRs can run high, reaching up to 460%. But unlike payday lenders, Possible reports your payments to Experian and TransUnion to help build your credit and gives you longer to repay.
  • Available in: Alabama, California, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington

Alternative for bad credit personal loans: OppLoans

OppLoans Installment Loans

4.7
★★★★★

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Like payday lenders, OppLoans offers personal loans to bad credit borrowers. But It may be cheaper than a payday loan, since its APR is 160%. It also offers higher loan amounts than what most payday lenders offer – up to $4,000. You also have up to 9 to 18 months to repay in most states, and payments are reported to the major credit bureaus.
  • Not available in: Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia

Alternative for lower interest rates: OneMain Financial

OneMain Financial personal loans

3.4
★★★★★

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OneMain Financial offers personal loans to bad and fair credit borrowers. It doesn't have any set credit score requirements, and you can secure your loan with collateral to increase the chances of approval. Compared to other personal loan lenders, its APRs start at a relatively high 18% APR, but they cap out at 35.99% – much lower than a payday lender. But its loans come with origination, late and nonsufficient funds (NSF) fees which could cost you extra.
  • Not available in: Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont
* OneMain Disclosures:

Not all applicants will be approved. Loan approval and actual loan terms depend on your ability to meet our credit standards (including a responsible credit history, sufficient income after monthly expenses, and availability of collateral). If approved, not all applicants will qualify for larger loan amounts or most favorable loan terms. Larger loan amounts require a first lien on a motor vehicle no more than ten years old, that meets our value requirements, titled in your name with valid insurance. Loan approval and actual loan terms depend on your state of residence and your ability to meet our credit standards (including a responsible credit history, sufficient income after monthly expenses, and availability of collateral). APRs are generally higher on loans not secured by a vehicle. Highly-qualified applicants may be offered higher loan amounts and/or lower APRs than those shown above. OneMain charges origination fees where allowed by law. Depending on the state where you open your loan, the origination fee may be either a flat amount or a percentage of your loan amount. Flat fee amounts vary by state, ranging from $25 to $500. Percentage-based fees vary by state ranging from 1% to 10% of your loan amount subject to certain state limits on the fee amount. Visit omf.com/loanfees for more information. Loan proceeds cannot be used for postsecondary educational expenses as defined by the CFPB’s Regulation Z such as college, university or vocational expense; for any business or commercial purpose; to purchase cryptocurrency assets, securities, derivatives or other speculative investments; or for gambling or illegal purposes.

Borrowers in these states are subject to these minimum loan sizes: Alabama: $2,100. California: $3,000. Georgia: Unless you are a present customer, $3,100 minimum loan amount. North Dakota: $2,000. Ohio: $2,000. Virginia: $2,600.

Borrowers (other than present customers) in these states are subject to these maximum unsecured loan sizes: North Carolina: $7,500. An unsecured loan is a loan which does not require you to provide collateral (such as a motor vehicle) to the lender.

Example Loan: A $6,000 loan with a 24.99% APR that is repayable in 60 monthly installments would have monthly payments of $176.07.

Time to Fund Loans: Funding within one hour after closing through SpeedFunds must be disbursed to a bank-issued debit card. Disbursement by check or ACH may take up to 1-2 business days after loan closing.

Alternative for payment flexibility: Brigit

Brigit

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Brigit isn't a loan. Rather, it's a no-credit-check cash advance app that lets you access up to $250 per pay cycle for a monthly fee. Depending on how much you borrow, this can make it more economical than a payday loan. Brigit also lets you to request a free payment extension if you need longer to repay. As long as you've had two previous consecutive on-time payments, you can request an extension.
  • Available in all states

Compare cash advance alternatives to payday loans

Start by choosing your state of residence to see providers in your area. Then narrow down your options by turnaround time, costs and more to find the best for your budget and financial goals. Select Compare for up to four products to see their benefits side by side.

1 - 0 of 0
Name Product Filter Values Max. amount per pay period Turnaround time Costs
Chime SpotMe®
Not rated yet
Chime SpotMe®
Up to $200
Same day
No fee
Access fee-free overdrafts up to $200 when eligible. Plus get your paycheck up to 2 days early with direct deposit. See Chime terms and conditions.
EarnIn
Not rated yet
EarnIn
Get up to $100 per day or $750 per pay period.
1 to 2 business days, or in minutes with Lightning Speed.
Free to use or $3.99 for Lightning Speed transfers.
No mandatory fees, no interest, and no credit checks. Subject to EarnIn terms & conditions
Cleo
Not rated yet
Cleo
$250
3 to 4 days standard transfer. Same day with $3.99 express fee.
$5.99 monthly membership fee to access cash advances
Automatically monitor your spending plus access cash advances up to $100 at a time.
Albert
Not rated yet
Albert
Up to $250
2–3 business days or instant for a fee
$14.99 monthly subscription to access overdraft protection
Get up to $250 overdraft protection if you sign up for Albert's banking app.
Brigit
Not rated yet
Brigit
Up to $250
1 to 3 business days or instant with a fee of $0.99 to $3.99, or a $9.99/mo. subscription with small fee, or free with $14.99/mo. subscription.
$9.99 monthly membership fee, up to $3.99 in express fees
Have up to $250 automatically deposited into your account — for a $9.99 membership fee.
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8 ways to tell a payday lender is legit

The following should help you find legit payday lenders more easily:

  • Accredited by the BBB. The BBB is more than a century-old nonprofit organization that helps identify trustworthy businesses. A high business rating (A+) can indicate the business handles complaints promptly, has adequate licensing and more. However, if it isn’t accredited you can confirm legitimacy using other review sites like Trustpilot.
  • Provides contact details. If a lender provides no more than a contact form or an email address, see how responsive it is before you apply. A legitimate payday lender shouldn’t shy away from providing a physical address, phone support or live chat.
  • Transparent. Direct lenders of legit short-term loans are legally required to be upfront about the fees and costs over the loan term, and must adhere to maximum limits. Your loan contract should clearly set out all applicable fees and charges.
  • Doesn’t guarantee approval. If you encounter a website that claims to provide guaranteed short-term loans, it may be a scam. No legit lender will guarantee approval before you submit an application.
  • Abides by state regulations. With legit payday loans, you don’t have to worry about lenders charging you more than the maximum limits set by the state. Check the regulations in your state to make sure your lender is operating legally.
  • Doesn’t require money upfront. One of the biggest red flags is when the lender requests money upfront. Origination fees are paid out of your loan amount, and you shouldn’t have to pay anything before you borrow.
  • Checks ability to repay. Payday lenders are no longer legally required to make sure you can afford repayments in all states. But legit lenders will still ask about your monthly income and expenses when you apply.

Are payday loans available in my state?

Bottom line

With a payday loan, installment loan or auto title loan, be prepared to cover the fees and pay it off quickly. If you’re unable to pay on the due date, you’ll be charged more fees and extra interest, which can quickly increase the total cost of your loan.

Even if you have bad credit, there are other – and often cheaper – options for accessing quick cash, including loans from bad credit lenders, 0% interest cash advance apps as well as these 11 alternatives to a payday loan.

Recap of best payday lenders:

Frequently asked questions

We understand that you may be cautious when applying for short-term loans. Here are some of the frequent questions our users have asked.

What is a payday loan?

Payday loans are short-term forms of financing that are typically available in amounts ranging from $50 to $500, depending on your state of residence. And they’re expensive — most come with high fees that translate to APRs in the triple digits.

Can I qualify for a payday loan?

To qualify for a payday loan, you typically need to meet the following criteria at a minimum:

  • Steady job or regular income
  • US citizen or permanent resident
  • At least 18 years old
  • Live in eligible state
  • Have a valid US bank account

How long does it take to apply for a payday loan?

Applying for a short-term loan should take around five to 10 minutes, provided you have all the information needed to complete the application close at hand.

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4 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    JohnApril 26, 2018

    Can funds be deposited onto Walmart debit card?

      AvatarFinder
      JhezelynApril 26, 2018Finder

      Hello John,

      Thank you for your comment.

      If you’re referring to the Walmart MoneyCard, according to their website, you can add money to the Card from the website of many banks, credit unions and financial institutions with an electronic funds transfer. This means that funds can be deposited into this account through a bank transfer. I hope this helps.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

    Default Gravatar
    FrankieApril 16, 2017

    I’m in need of a small loan but don’t have a checking or savings account. Is there any other way around it?

      AvatarFinder
      AnndyJune 15, 2017Finder

      Hi Frankie,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you need funds quickly but don’t have a bank account, you may consider getting a payday loan from a lender and have the funds deposited onto a prepaid debit card. You can start comparing debit card loans and checking if you are qualified.

      Please do review the requirements and eligibility criteria when you apply.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

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