Legitimate Payday Loans

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There are many legitimate online payday loans available to you, but you should take care to avoid bad-apple payday lenders.

When you're faced with overdue bills or an urgent expense you just can't avoid, you may be in a major hurry to find short term loans online. You've probably run across some payday loans online that seem just too good to be true: no credit check, an instant cash advance even if you don't have an income, and guaranteed approval for a loan amount much larger than you asked for. You may be tempted, but beware: chances are that these are not legit payday loans.


Dubious payday lenders often try to rope people with bad credit into what is supposed to be a short-term loan, but ends up being a drain on their finances until well after their next payday. In this article, we'll walk you through some online payday loan best practices that will help steer you towards legit loans.

A Legitimate Payday Lender Will:

  • Run at least a "soft pull" credit check - this doesn't affect your credit score, but gives them some idea of how responsibly you handle credit and what amount of cash you can be entrusted with.
  • Explain their terms and conditions clearly and don't try to fool you with convoluted legalese. Full disclosure of what's involved in a loan is required by law, but not all loan contracts are equally easy to read.
  • Verify your ability to repay the loan, for instance by checking that you have an income from a job or other source. This is not a legal requirement, though, so your assertion that you can afford the loan is sometimes enough.
  • Never ask you for an upfront payment before showing you the best online payday loans. None of the direct lenders DirectLoanTransfer works with does this, nor do we charge any fee for our service.

Other Ways to Ensure that You're Dealing with a Legitimate Payday Loans Company

As with any scam, common sense is your best defense against misleading advertising and other traps. No matter how urgently you need cash, it's always a good idea to investigate further if anything about an online lender seems off to you.

  • The Better Business Bureau is a fantastic free resource for evaluating the trustworthiness of any kind of business, including cash loan companies.
  • Alternatively, you can search online for customer reviews of a given credit provider. You'll need to use your own judgment, though: some reviews are planted by the loan company itself, while others may have been written by customers who're unreasonably disgruntled.
  • Phone them up. Even if they operate online, cash loan companies are real businesses and should have a physical address as well as a customer service phone number. If they're asking you to provide enough information for them to run a credit check, they should at least give you a way to contact them.
  • Check that the advertised loan terms are reasonable and roughly in line with those of similar companies. Many lenders, for example, don't require a credit check or a minimum credit score, but they also charge higher interest rates. If one company seems to be offering low-credit, short-term loans at a discount, this may be just to distract you from the huge penalty fees they charge if you miss the repayment due date.

Payday Loans and State Law

Apart from the Federal laws all financial institutions have to comply with, such as the Truth in Lending Act, payday loans are mostly regulated at the state level. You will not be able to apply for legitimate payday loans, online or otherwise, in the following states: Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and West Virginia. Several other states have restrictive regulations in place that discourage lenders from operating there. Ohio, for instance, prohibits loans with a repayment period shorter than three months except for very small amounts, effectively turning a payday loan into a personal loan.

Before you start searching for a payday loan online, best check what exactly is allowed in your state. You may come across a lender who claims to have found a loophole of some sort and is willing to advance you some cash despite what the law says, but don't be taken in. Some fly-by-night companies basically rely on lax law enforcement in the payday loan arena, but they are nobody you want to deal with.

Legitimate Payday Loans Companies Will Sometimes Turn Down Your Application

One of the hallmarks of legit loans providers is that they don't approve every payday loan. Many have more lenient lending policies than traditional banks and may not require you to pass a credit check, but this does not mean that they'll be willing to issue a cash advance to someone with very bad credit, no monthly income, and a large amount of existing debt. In reality, this would not be doing their customers any favors: a payday loan is supposed to be a short-term solution to temporary difficulties. Borrowing cash in this way without the ability to repay the loan is a recipe for disaster, and responsible financial companies will try to prevent this from happening.

On the other hand, while you're never guaranteed approval, you can improve your odds significantly by searching for payday loans online. Websites like DirectLoanTransfer make it easy to compare various payday loans online, best first. In this way, you could finalize your loan as soon as the next business day even if you have bad credit, and you'll also have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you're only being referred to legitimate payday loans companies. We also record your ZIP code as part of our secure registration process, so you'll only be shown offers that comply with the law in your state.

If You Don't Qualify for Legit Online Payday Loans, Best Look at Other Forms of Credit

Payday loans are often your best option in an emergency: they're very easy to be approved for, you can receive your cash in your bank account on the next business day, and you can usually get one even with bad credit. If, however, you don't qualify for a legitimate payday loan, you should still steer well clear of any lender that seems shady.

In this case, you may be able to get another kind of cash advance. Should you own a car, for instance, you should be able to borrow against it by taking out a title loan. If you're a member of a credit union, you can ask them for details about any installment loans that may be available to someone in your position. You may even have to sell off something you own - this is still a better choice than dealing with a financial company that's just one step up from being a loan shark.

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