State laws for payday loans in Georgia
While high-cost payday lending is a felony in Georgia, small-dollar loans are regulated. According to sources online, licensed lenders aren’t allowed to charge more than 10% interest on loans of $3,000 or less with terms of 36 months and 15 days or less.
But we called multiple installment lenders in Georgia ourselves and found that the rates on their installment loans, both under and over $3,000, often start over 20% APR, regardless of credit score, and can hit up to 36% – and apparently this is due to the laws changing over the past couple years.
And be aware that auto title lenders in Georgia don’t have to abide by these rules at all. Because they’re classified as “pawnbrokers,” auto title loan lenders in Georgia are allowed to charge interest up to 25% per month plus fees, resulting in APRs that can reach up to 300% annually.
3 short-term loans you can get in Georgia
If you’re a Georgian looking for a payday loan, these options are cheaper than using a payday lender and can often get you funds quickly – sometimes as soon as the same day you apply.
While payday loans are illegal in Georgia, licensed installment lenders in Georgia offer loans from as little as $200 to over $10,000. Rates on these loans appear to range from 10% to 36% APR depending on the loan amount and your creditworthiness. You can also apply for an installment loan online, but rates may be much higher and possibly illegal in Georgia.
To qualify for an installment loan in Georgia, you’ll need to be a Georgia resident of at least 18 years of age with a photo ID. You’ll also need to show proof of income by check stubs, tax returns or other qualifying documents. A hard credit check may be required.
You can get a personal loan from banks, credit unions and online lenders and they are typically capped at 36% APR. These loans may range from $600 to $100,000 and can be used for almost any purpose except for college tuition, a down payment on a home or for business expenses.
To qualify for a personal loan you’ll generally need a credit score of at least 620, although some lenders accept scores of 300 or lower, as long as you can show proof of income. Also, be prepared to show at least $25,000 a year in income and debt-to-income (DTI) ratio of 43% or less. Hard credit checks are required when you apply for a personal loan.
Cash advance apps
With cash advance apps you can get small, no-credit-check loans between paydays – typically from $20 to $500. Unlike installment, title or personal loans, cash apps never charge interest or financing fees on what you borrow. Instead, you might have to pay a monthly subscription fee from $1 or $10 to get advances, although many apps are free.
To qualify for an advance with a cash app, you generally need to show regular direct deposit activity from a qualifying source like an employer. Repayments for cash advances come out of your next paycheck, which can help keep you out of a cycle of debt.
Most cash apps come with other useful features like budgeting tools, credit monitoring and free overdraft protection which can be helpful in tracking your spending and keeping on top of your finances.
Beware of high APRs on auto title loans
While auto title loans are also available in Georgia, and you could possibly get a loan up to $50,000 – APRs on these loans can hit the triple digits, making them difficult to pay back. According to georgiawatch.org, one in five borrowers that get an auto title loan end up with their vehicle repossessed – so only consider this type of loan if you can pay it off within 30 days.
How much do short-term loans cost in Georgia?
While online sources state that lenders in Georgia can’t charge more than 10% interest on loans of $3,000 or less with a loan length of 36 months and 15 days or less, and origination fees can’t exceed 8% on the first $600 and 4% of the rest – this is not what our experience shows.
After speaking with several lenders in Georgia, we were told that rates on their installment loans can reach up to 36%, even if the loan is under $3,000 and the term is under 36 months. And auto title loans can have APRs between 150% and 300% annually, resulting in extremely high monthly interest payments.
The actual cost you might pay on a short-term loan depends on the lender, the type of loan and your creditworthiness. Always read over your loan contract carefully and make sure you understand the costs you’re responsible for, including any prepayment penalties and late fees.
Assistance programs available in Georgia
While getting a payday loan in Georgia is not possible, you can get credit or cash in other ways. Georgia has quite a few public assistance programs that you may want to apply for. These include:
While you don’t have access to a payday loan in Georgia, you still have other options to help with financial emergencies including installment loans, personal loans and cash apps. Our payday loan alternatives guide has 11 other ways to access cash and get out of debt faster too.