Our guide to getting a loan. An overview of loans and cash options available to you, depending on your credit score, income, and how fast you need the money. Includes an overview of lending from banks, pawn stores, and payday/installment lenders.

If you need cash now today and don’t know where to turn next, this article may provide you with some direction. Our first impulse when we need money is typically to seek out a quick loan, but instant-loans.org advises you to always make sure you’ve exhausted all of your options before doing so.

Before You Consider A Loan

How bad do you need the money? Is this to pay for entertainment, or something more important like getting your car fixed, or medical or vet bills? If you don’t need the money, even in the slightest way, do not take out a loan.

If you absolutely need money and the situation cannot wait, first try borrowing money from a friend or relative, or try to sell or pawn your jewelry/possessions. Pawning items is the same as getting a loan, except your collateral is your property. Chances are high that borrowing money from a friend, or your local pawn shop, will charge you less interest than a more traditional loan.

Your Traditional Loan/Cash Options

If you have good or even decent credit, you can try applying for a credit card. As long as you don’t miss a payment, overdraft, or otherwise violate the credit card’s terms/policies, most credit cards charge anywhere from 14-30% interest. This beats many loans, especially personal loans, payday loans, and cash advance loans.

If you’re in search of a cash loan now, have exhausted all other options mentioned above, try checking with your local bank first. You’ll be able to sit down in person with your bank representative, and go over your accounts, credit history, and financial need. They’ll let you know how much, if anything, they can lend you, and discuss the terms of the loan.

However, since most banks today aren’t lending much, chances are low that you’ll get a big loan unless you have substantial savings and a great credit score (above 680). (Don’t know your credit score? We recommend using FreeCreditScore.com to check your credit score.)

If you have good credit, you could check out sites like LendingTree.com, WellsFargo.com, or CapitalOne.com. Most banks now offer loans online, but again, with credit crunched, you’ll need good credit. But if you have bad credit…

Payday Loans In 2011

If you’ve recently tried contacting a local bank to get a loan , you may have noticed that their requirements for income, savings, or credit have increased, and your application may have been declined. You aren’t alone! As a result, more and more people are choosing small lenders, pawn shops, and payday loans.

An October 2011 Reuters article detailed the credit crunch going on in the banking industry today, and the rise of short-term and small lending, as more and more people are unable to get loans from their banks; demand for loans at credit unions (where there are lower fees) rose 52%!. The article noted that nearly one fifth of the American adult population is under-banked or un-banked – driven by additional fees and heightened lending requirements.

Another October 2011 article summarized the profits and gains of prominent payday lenders in today’s economy; most loan and pawn shop operators have seen their stock prices double in the last year. It is clear that more people are choosing payday/installment loans in this recession.

Even if you have bad or poor credit, you still have options with lenders.

Generally speaking, the more in-need you are, and the less credit you have, then the higher the APR on a loan. Need to get loan today? Lenders will send the money, but there is a cost. Always be wary of this, and always be sure to read the fine print, and understand exactly what you are promising and agreeing to when you cross your T’s and dot your I’s. Always make sure you know exactly what your “final cost” of the loan is, after all payments and interest are tallied up.

The lenders that charge the most in terms of APR are ones that only require a valid checking account and regular income. Be careful, because these lenders can charge interest rates in the hundreds (like we’ll detail below).

Your Loan Options If You Need Cash Fast — And Have No Other Options

100DayLoans.com is a website that searches for the highest loan amounts and best interest rates on a loan. As noted on their application page, they mention that “4 out of 5 applicants are approved on the spot”, and no credit checks are done. Residents of Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Oregon, and West Virginia are not eligible to apply. You are required to have a checking account to complete the application, and need to have at least $1,000 net income each month. Click here to go to their site.

Great Plains Lending offers first-time installment loans up to $500 on their site. The APR for these loans is $448.76; depending on your loan amount you would need to make 8-12 bi-weekly payments of between $47-101 each payment. Despite the high APRs, they mention that their rates are, on average, 25% lower than most payday loans. If your application is accepted, Great Plains will fund next day except for Fridays and weekends. This loan is different from a payday loan: with an installment loan, you agree to make payments at certain points in time, for certain pre-agreed amounts. With a payday loan, you essentially “promise” your next paycheck (or part of it) plus interest over to the lender and get paid in advance. If you would rather pay in installments versus sign (part or all of) your paycheck over, then this type of loan may be for you. Those in Colorado, Maryland, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and West Virginia are not eligible to apply. Click here to visit their site.

PayDay One is a lender that is only licensed in 17 states (MD,TX, DE, KY, LA, MN, PA, RI, TN, IL, AZ, ID, MO, SD, UT, WI, and OH), but actually offers lower APR rates than Great Plains Lending. For example, in Missouri, Pay Day One offers first time installment loans of up to $1500, starting at 448% interest for a $250 loan, and dropping to $198.45 for a $1500 loan. You can pay bi-weekly, twice monthly, or monthly. They can lower the interest rate on larger loans because they actually make (much) more on a $1500 loan than a $250 loan. Case in point: Your “total due” on a $1500 loan in New Mexico would be $3,859.82, and your “total due” on a $250 loan would be $607.67. Each state has different rates, maximum loan amounts, and repayment terms, so be sure to the tool on their site for checking the rates in your state (click on “loan cost and terms” to see a map where you can click your state). Click here to go to their site.

There are a few other payday lenders out there, and we’ll be sure to add profiles to those in the coming weeks and months. But remember that 100DayLoans.com is basically a search engine for loans: they search banks, financial companies, and payday lenders to find best rates/amounts.

Wrapping Up

Like we mentioned above, always take time to think about if you really need a loan. If you absolutely need money now, try borrowing from a friend, visiting a pawn store, or selling your valuable items. Getting a credit card or a loan from your local bank will almost always be cheaper than any other option, but if you have nowhere else to turn, you can get payday or installment loans.

Always do your due diligence before signing any agreements or contracts. Remember that it is unsafe to ever give a lender money upfront, most especially those overseas (but really, anywhere). Make sure to check out any lenders you use with the Better Business Bureau (bbb.org) to see if they are legitimate or not. Always read the fine print, always understand what you’re signing, and always make sure to clarify the “total cost” of your loan. And finally, with any loan or credit card, make sure to pay all of your payments on time (and paying more than you’re supposed to will mean that you actually save yourself interest and additional payments later on.) Good luck!


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