When you think about payday loans, you normally think about that little building in the local strip mall that promises “instant cash” and “loans fast” on their windows. They probably use flashy neon signs. There’s a good chance that there are bars on the windows, which are probably designed more to make you feel safe than anything else.
While visiting a payday lender’s retail location is certainly an option, it isn’t the only option. You can also get a payday loan online via a number of different payday lenders on the Internet.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re shopping online for a payday loan to keep yourself safe:
Consider starting with a site that features multiple lenders. There are some online payday loan review sites that look at different lenders and provide reviews. The best ones actually give you the opportunity to write a review for any given payday lender. This also, of course, allows you to read others’ reviews of the payday lender.
Check out the website independently, too. You should check some consumer report websites, as well, to see how the lender’s reputation is. If a given website is operating a scam, you can usually find out about their practices with just a few minutes of research online.
Don’t be in a hurry. The fact of the matter is that the payday loan will come fast enough. You still need to take the time necessary to be able to review the lender and make sure they’re legitimate, and that you’re willing to accept the terms of the loan.
Make sure it’s legal. Not all states allow you to take out a payday loan online. Many do, of course, and it is usually up to the lender to verify that you live in an eligible state. Still, you need to find out if it’s legal in your state before you ever apply for an online payday loan.
Consider alternatives. Before you ever take the payday loan, make sure you’ve exhausted your other options. Borrowing money from family or asking for a paycheck advance from your boss might be a much better option, and a way for you to avoid the dramatically high interest rates that payday lenders charge.
Make sure you can pay it back. Don’t take out the loan unless you’re certain you can pay it all back on time. If you can’t, you’ll wind up in a vicious cycle where you’re taking out loan after loan, all at great expense.