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Urgent payday loans

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Sometimes life throws you a curveball and you don’t have the financial capacity to cope. It could be an illness or injury, expensive car repairs or a short-term cash flow problem when several unexpected bills drop into your inbox at the same time. When this happens, you might need a quick payday loan to help pay your bills and get your finances back on track. This guide covers quick payday loan options in South Africa available when you need money in a hurry.

How does an urgent payday loan work?

A quick payday loan is a short-term loan designed to provide the funds you need in an emergency. You can use this money for just about any purpose, from urgent car repairs to paying essential bills, and you must repay it during a term ranging from 1 day to 3 years. Although a good credit history makes it easier to gain loan approval, some lenders in South Africa are also offering quick payday loans to borrowers with bad credit.

Features of urgent payday loans

Quick payday loans in South Africa usually include the following features:

  • Short-loan terms. You typically have between 1 day and 3 years to pay back the money you borrow.
  • A loan from R250. If you choose a loan from a payday lender, loan amounts typically range from R250 up to R350,000. If you can offer collateral and are eligible for a loan with an established provider, you may receive higher amounts.
  • High fees. Quick payday loans also tend to attract higher fees than traditional payday loans. Look for establishment costs and ongoing monthly charges when you compare loans.
  • Fast application and approval. As these loans usually involve borrowing a small amount for a short period, many lenders offer quick and easy online applications. Some lenders can also provide instant loan approval and transfer the funds into your bank account within one business day.
  • Missed repayment penalties. One final feature you should be aware of with quick payday loans is that lenders usually impose strict penalties if you miss a repayment. These fees can be substantial and could lead you further into debt.

Things to avoid with quick payday loans in South Africa

Quick payday loans can help you to get out of a tight spot and provide the money you need to get your finances back on track. However, they also come with a few risks attached, and it’s essential you are aware of these dangers before signing for a loan.

Problems to be wary of include:

  • Taking on too much debt. If you’re already in debt, borrowing even more money may not be the best solution to your financial problems. Make sure you’re aware of all the associated risks when taking on additional debt, and that you can afford to repay what you borrow.
  • Applying for too many credit products. Asking for multiple credit products in a short time can hurt your credit file. Keep applications to a minimum and only apply for loans that offer a good chance of approval.
  • High fees. The penalty charges and fees attached to quick payday loans in South Africa are typically high, so, make sure you can afford to make each repayment on time before you apply.
  • Short repayment terms. Quick payday loans have short repayment terms – you can repay some in just one day. Before applying for a loan, you need to be sure you can pay the full loan amount, plus any interest and fees, within the specified time frame.

Pros and cons of an urgent payday loan in South Africa

Before deciding whether a quick payday loan is the right solution for your financial needs, consider the benefits and drawbacks of this option.


  • Easy to apply. Urgent loans are quick and easy to apply for, with many lenders offering a simple online application process.
  • Quick turnaround time. You can receive approval for an urgent loan very quickly, and it can give you access to funds within one business day, which guarantees fast access to money when you need it most.
  • Bad-credit borrowers accepted. A bad credit history won’t necessarily stop you from getting a quick payday loan, as some payday loan lenders offer finance to bad-credit borrowers.


  • Expensive. Short-term loans, especially quick payday loans in South Africa, have high fees and high-interest rates. Even if you only borrow a small amount, the total cost to repay the debt in full could be much higher.
  • High-risk way to borrow. The high cost of a quick payday loan can end up leading you deeper into financial difficulty. The payday lending sector is also notorious for attracting unscrupulous lenders, so you need to carefully read the terms and conditions before applying for a loan.

    How to apply for an urgent payday loan in South Africa

    Many quick payday loan lenders offer online applications to make it as quick and easy as possible to apply for a loan. You need to check that you meet a few simple criteria before applying, eg:

    • You must be at least 18 years of age
    • You need to be a South African citizen or permanent resident
    • You must be in paid employment and earn a minimum income
    • You must have a local cellphone number and bank account (will differ across providers)

    If you meet these criteria you can then apply online by supplying:

    • Your name, date of birth and contact details
    • Proof of ID, eg passport or SA ID
    • Recent payslips and bank account statements
    • Information about your income, employment, assets and liabilities

    Lenders typically assess applications quickly, with some transferring the loan funds into your account within 24 hours.

    Frequently asked questions

    Do I need to provide an asset as security to qualify for an urgent payday loan in South Africa?

    Not necessarily. There are short-term lenders in South Africa that offer unsecured payday loans, but you may increase your chance of loan approval if you’re willing to provide an asset as security.

    Am I better off using a cash advance on my credit card instead of a payday loan?

    There are benefits and drawbacks to using a credit card cash advance instead of a payday loan. Before making a decision, you should clearly understand each option at hand. You can start by checking out our guide here on payday loans in South Africa.

    How long do I have to pay back an urgent payday loan?

    Most loans are available for terms ranging from 1 day to 3 years, but some lenders may offer terms for as long as 6 years.

    Are there urgent payday loans available for businesses?

    Yes, payday loans for businesses allow you to borrow higher amounts for corporate usage.

    There are several viable options to choose from if you need money in an emergency. However, make sure you carefully consider each potential loan option to make sure the one you choose is a good fit for your financial situation.

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