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Payday loan alternatives in Pennsylvania

Payday loans in Pennsylvania are illegal, but there are four alternatives to consider.

Good for no-fee, 0% interest cash advances

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  • Borrow up to $750 per pay period
  • No credit check
  • No monthly fees or interest

Good for fee free overdraft

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  • Get up to $200
  • Receive funds on the same day
  • Fee free overdraft
  • No credit check

For money management tools

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  • Borrow up to $250
  • No credit check required
  • No interest on cash advances

Payday loans are short term loans, that need to be repaid in two to four weeks. While they offer cash fast with no credit check, they’re illegal in Pennsylvania. Plus, they're not cheap – costing anywhere from $15 to $30 per $100 borrowed – or up to a whopping 782% APR.

The good news is, there are other ways Pennsylvanians can access cheaper borrowing for emergencies, including no-interest cash advance apps and bad credit personal loans with lower rates. Here’s a rundown of the options available.

Name Product Filter Values Max. amount per pay period Turnaround time Costs
Finder Score: 4.7 / 5: ★★★★★
Up to $750 per pay period, but only $100 per day
1 to 3 business days or instant for a fee
Free to use or instant with a fee as low as $3.99.
No mandatory fees, no interest and no credit checks. Subject to EarnIn terms & conditions.
Chime SpotMe®
Finder Score: 4.2 / 5: ★★★★★
Chime SpotMe®
Up to $200
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.
Finder Score: 4.1 / 5: ★★★★★
Up to $250
3 to 4 days standard transfer. Same day with $3.99 to $9.99 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.
Not rated yet
Based on the amount of accrued PTO
Up to 5 business days for approval and 5 business days for funding, or instant for a fee
No membership fee
Tap your unused PTO for a cash advance so you can access that money early. Available in : CO, FL, IL, MA, NY, NJ, TX, VA, OR, AR, NE, TN, ME, CT, WV
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Dave ExtraCash
Finder Score: 4.2 / 5: ★★★★★
Dave ExtraCash
Up to $500
Up to 3 business days or instant for a fee
Borrow up to $100 to avoid hefty overdraft fees.

Payday loans are illegal in Pennsylvania

Payday and auto title loans have been illegal in Pennsylvania since the Check Cashier Licensing Act passed in February 1998. This was done for a few reasons, but perhaps most importantly, to prevent payday lenders from charging consumers excessively high rates.

In addition, Pennsylvania’s Loan Interest and Protection Law (LIPL) prevents lenders without a CDCA license from charging more than 6% per year on loans under $50,000. But broad exceptions and loopholes in the law make these rate caps meaningless. That’s why credit cards and loans from unlicensed lenders outside of Pennsylvania have rates far exceeding 6% APR – sometimes into the triple digits.

As always, read any loan contracts carefully to make sure you understand the APRs and fees you’re paying, including late fees and prepayment penalties. If you believe a lender is violating the law by charging excessively high rates, you can file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities.

4 short-term loans you can get in Pennsylvania

If you have bad credit and need cash, you have plenty of other options. Consider these cheaper alternatives:

Cash advance apps

A cash advance app is a convenient way to borrow against your next paycheck – typically from $20 to $250 or more – and without interest charges on what you borrow. You can also borrow money without a credit check. Instead, to qualify for advances, you typically need to establish regular direct deposit activity from an employer or other source.

While some cash advance apps charge a monthly fee between $1 and $10, some are free, and you can usually get your money in a few business days. But if you need same day advances, you’ll pay an instant transfer fee. Be sure to compare instant transfer fees across apps to find the cheapest one for your situation.

Personal loans

A bad credit personal loan from an online lender or local lender like Mariner Finance can also provide fast cash in Pennsylvania – you could have your money as soon as same day. And unlike payday loans, bad credit lenders like OneMain Financial, Oportun and Mariner Finance cap their rates at 35.99%. But unlike payday lenders, you usually need a hard credit check to qualify.

To qualify for a personal loan in Pennsylvania, you may need a credit score of around 620, although some lenders go as low as 300 and some have no credit score requirement at all. As long as you can prove you have sufficient income coming in from an employer or other source, you could qualify.

Payday alternative loans (PAL)

PALS are small, unsecured loans offered by some federal credit unions. Regardless of your credit score, you might qualify for a PAL with an amount between $200 and $1,000. PAL APRs are capped at 28% and repayment terms range from one to six months. But they’re not for people who need fast funding. You need to be a member of a PAL credit union for at least a month before you can qualify.

Employer paycheck advance

Instead of turning to a loan, you can see if your employer offers a paycheck advance. Some companies offer paycheck advances or short-term loans to employees, typically at lower rates than what you get on a bad credit personal loan.

How much do short-term loans cost in Pennsylvania?

As mentioned earlier, licensed lenders in Pennsylvania aren’t allowed to charge more than 6% on loans under $50,000. But banks and unlicensed lenders that operate outside of Pennsylvania can charge rates that far exceed 6% – up to 35% or more – and some charge origination fees of 1% to 10% on top of that.

So the actual cost depends on the lender and the loan product. The higher the rate and the longer the term – the more interest you’ll pay back over time. To minimize the cost, try to find the lowest rate and choose the shortest repayment term you can afford.

Assistance programs available in Pennsylvania

There are several programs in Pennsylvania that provide financial assistance to low-income individuals and their families.

You can find more resources by visiting the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services website.

Bottom line

While you can’t get a payday loan in Pennsylvania, you still have other options that can help you out. These include zero interest cash apps, bad credit personal loans, PALs and government resources. See our guide on other short-term loan options or installment loans that can help you get the money you need.

Megan B. Shepherd's headshot
To make sure you get accurate and helpful information, this guide has been edited by Megan B. Shepherd as part of our fact-checking process.
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Written by


Kat Aoki was a personal finance writer at Finder, specializing in consumer and business lending. She’s written thousands of articles to help consumers make better decisions on their home loans, bank accounts, credit cards, cryptocurrency and more. Kat is well versed in working with leading brands in the real estate, mortgage and personal finance industries, and her expertise has been featured on Forbes Advisor, Lifewire and financial comparison sites like iSelect and She holds a BS in business administration from California State University, Sacramento and enjoys hiking and yoga in her spare time. See full bio

Kat's expertise
Kat has written 198 Finder guides across topics including:
  • Mortgages
  • Home equity loans
  • Mortgage refinancing

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18 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    DominiqueJune 17, 2019

    Good morning,
    Looking for an installment loan in Pennsylvania., is that available?

      EzraJune 17, 2019Finder

      Hi Dominique,

      Thank you for contacting Finder, a general information service. Yes, installment loans are available in Pennsylvania. You can usually borrow between $500 and $5,000, and pay back the loan between as short as 3 months and as long as 3 years. You can learn more about installment loans in our guide.



    Default Gravatar
    JustinFebruary 25, 2019

    Looking for a loan in pa but got no bank account just prepaid card. What are my choices?

      johnbasanesFebruary 26, 2019Finder

      Hi Justin,

      Thank you for reaching out to Finder.

      We are on the right page for you to check the available lenders that could assist you in your state. Please indicate the state you are in on the table provided on the table to see your options. Once the results are populated, you may want to check on the “Requirements” column to see which lender does not require a bank account to apply. Kindly review and compare your options on the table displaying the available providers. Once you have chosen a particular provider, you may then click on the “Go to site” button and you will be redirected to the provider’s website where you can proceed with the application or get in touch with their representatives for further inquiries you may have.
      Before applying, please ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria and read through the details of the needed requirements as well as the relevant Product Disclosure Statements/Terms and Conditions when comparing your options before making a decision on whether it is right for you.Hope this helps!


    Default Gravatar
    DrusilllaNovember 12, 2018

    I need a direct lender someone who gives the loans not a broker type person who finds the lenders . I live in Butler County Pennsylvania and I DESPERATELY need a loan now today can you help me with this?

      Default Gravatar
      AshNovember 13, 2018

      Hi Drusillla,

      Thank you for reaching out to us,

      You are on the correct page as the Lenders listed on the table above a direct ones wherein you will submit your application directly to them then once approved they will be the one who will provide the loan to you. You may compare the Lenders available in your state as well as their eligibility requirements.

      You may also read above the alternative loan that you may apply to in Pennsylvania.

      Kindly read the Lender’s Terms and Conditions as well as their eligibility criteria before submitting your application. To apply, you may click on the green “Go to site” button to be redirected directly to the Lender’s site.

      I hope this helps.

      Please do not hesitate to reach out again to us if you have additional questions that you need assistance with.


    Default Gravatar
    NinaJuly 2, 2018

    Trying to get a pay day loan for 500 and pay back in installments

      Default Gravatar
      nikkiangcoJuly 3, 2018

      Hi Nina!

      Thanks for leaving an inquiry on our page.

      Though Payday loans are not legal in Pennsylvania, you can get an installment loan and other payday loan alternatives. Installment loans have longer repayment periods so typically, you can pay the loan back in as short as 3 months or as long as 3 years.

      You can use the table above to compare installment loan options in Pennsylvania that you may be eligible to apply for. Once you’re ready, simply click on the ‘Go to site’ button and process the application from the main page of the lender or get in touch with their representatives for further inquiries you may have.

      Make sure to check all the eligibility criteria and read through the loan terms and conditions before making a decision on whether it is right for you.

      Hope this helps!


    Default Gravatar
    CarolynApril 24, 2018

    Can i get an installment loan without a checking account?

      RichApril 24, 2018Finder

      Hi Carolyn.

      Thanks for your question.

      The quick answer is yes. Typically lenders will be able to determine whether you can service the loan or not with your checking account, however, it is not the only requirement to be eligible for an installment loan. This, of course, could differ from one lender to another.

      While typically, lenders will usually deduct payments from your bank account on the day the payments are due, some lenders will also give you the option of repaying the loan online, via a check, or through an app.

      To fully understand how their installment loans work, you may contact your preferred lender and so you would know whether they could approve your application without having a checking account or not and for any other inquiries you may have.



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