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Online Payday Loans

Updated November 06, 2019

2019 Online Payday Loan Rankings

Online payday loans are known to be quick and easy loans. Many lenders are able to get cash into your bank account overnight. They do not require good credit or collateral but when compared to other options they are generally more expensive. If banks, credit cards, friends, or family are an option getting cash from them is generally cheaper. If you are able to put off the expense until your next pay check this is probably the best option as borrowing money can be ver expensive.

These loans are best used for emergency, short-term cash situations and when full repayment can be done with the next paycheck. We review direct loan providers and rank them according to our Sniff Test (reputation), costs, licensing, and ease of use. Inclusion in our rankings is not an endorsement. We aim to rank every lender who provides online payday loans online.

Filter lenders by state:
Company Name Description Sniff Rating
Loan By Phone
  • Online site powered by Check Into Cash
  • Member of CFSA, Live chat.
  • Governing Law: State Lic.
Check Into Cash
  • Direct lender online or at stores.
  • Founding member of CFSA. Live chat.
  • Governing Law: State Lic.
Ace Cash Express
  • Large online established lender. A+ BBB Score.
  • Multiple loan options. Physical store fronts too.
  • Governing Law: TX
  • Large, publicly traded online lender.
  • Use promo code: NEWCASH25 to save 25%
  • Governing Law: State Lic.
  • Single-payment and installment loans.
  • Rates improve and higher loan amounts over time.
  • Governing Law: State Licensed
Cash Central
  • Discounts for repeat customers. Live chat.
  • B BBB rating. All credit types.
  • Governing Law: State Lic.
Cash 1
  • Nevada Licensed storefront and online lender.
  • Payday loans for NV only. Same day cash pick up at stores.
  • Governing Law: State Lic.
Check City
  • A+ BBB Score and accredited. $30 referral credit.
  • One of the few payday lenders who are BBB accredited.
  • Governing Law: State Licensed
Quik Check
  • State licensed lender. Pricing shown based on Utah.
  • Competitive pricing. They have store fronts.
  • Governing Law: State Lic.
Speedy Cash
  • State licensed lender. Pricing shown is based on TX rates.
  • Pricing appears high. They have store fronts
  • Governing Law: State Lic.
Check 'n Go
  • State licensed lender.
  • A+ BBB rating. Has physical storefronts.
  • Governing Law: State Lic.
Big Valley Financial
  • This is a tribal lender. A+ BBB Rating.
  • Wholly owned and operated by Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians
  • Governing Law: Tribal Based
  • Revamped website. Up to $600 1st time.
  • Been in business over 10 years.
  • Governing Law: Costa Rica
Tremont Lending
  • Appears to be basic tribal based lender.
  • Site updated with pricing. States not listed.
  • Governing Law: Tribe
Cash Advance Now
  • Tribal lender. Upfront disclosures and pricing.
  • Purchased name and domain in Sept 2012.
  • Governing Law: Tribe
  • One of the simplest applications.
  • No BBB Rating, Based in Costa Rica.
  • Governing Law: Costa Rica
East Side Lenders
  • Offer loans in all states.
  • C- BBB rating. Dispute settled through arbitration.
  • Governing Law: DE
Wells Fargo
  • NO LONGER OFFERED. Phased out May 24th, 2014.
  • Advance limit is lower of $500 or 50% of direct deposit amount.
  • Governing Law: State Lic.
  • F BBB Rating and strong warning.
  • The Payday Hound suggests avoiding this one.
  • Governing Law: Tribe
Cash in a Wink
  • Settled in 2012 with California for excessive fees.
  • Bare website. They do list their fees.
  • Governing Law: Not clear.

* Rates and fees vary by state. Not all lenders operate in all states. Check each lender's website for up-to-date information.

What Are Online Payday Loans

These loans are based on your pay check. Once approved for a loan, the typical process is for the lender to deposit funds directly into your checking account. At your next pay date the lender will automatically deduct the principal and fees from your checking account. These fees range from around $9 to $45 per $100 borrowed. For example, if $300 is borrowed and deposited into your checking account, on your next payday $327 to $435 will be automatically deducted from your account depending on the fee for your particular loan. If the full deduction can be made then the loan is paid in full and you are done. If you are unable to make this full payment some payday lenders allow you to renew the loan. The extension usually is at the same rate and you will pay fees on the unpaid fees from the previous loan. This means at your next payday (now the second payday since you took the loan) $356 to $631 will be automatically deducted from your account. As you can see, the fees add up fast and one can end up owing in fees significantly more than the original loan. Please be careful with these loans. If you think you will be unable to pay the loan off in one or two pay periods, an installment loan may be a better option.

These loans are also referred to as pay day loans online and online cash advances.

Why Are Online Payday Loans So Expensive

Online payday loans are unsecured loans and not based on credit history. Traditionally, when lenders make loans they evaluate a person's credit history and take collateral, e.g. a home mortgage loan. Evaluating credit history and taking collateral helps lenders predict the likelihood of being repaid and, in the event of not being repaid, helps lenders recoup losses by seizing the collateral. Online payday loans have neither credit history checks nor security. This makes them risky loans for lenders so they charge more to cover the losses from people that do not pay back their loans. In addition, there is adverse selection. This means individuals who do have good credit history and collateral are taking other types of loans so people applying for online payday loans are already, on average, high risk. So one of the reasons these loans are expensive is the structure of the loan and average profile of the borrower.

Another reason they are expensive is the lack of consistent regulation, enforcement, and transparency. This is why pricing varies so much. The market is very inefficient. See Payday Loans Too Taboo To Touch for more information on improving the payday lending space. Finally, these types of loans can be very expensive because some lenders take advantage of the emergency nature of these loans and charge very high rates.

Avoid a Vicious Debt Cycle

Online payday loans are a very expensive form of borrowing. As described above, if one is unable to pay off the loan at the next payday, costs can quickly spiral out of control. This is what is often referred to as a debt cycle. One starts off in a bind with a small amount of debt but within weeks the debt quickly escalates into an unimaginable amount. For this reason The Payday Hound believes these loans should only be used for emergency situations. This means one should almost never use one of these loans. See Don't Use A Payday Loan for Summer Vacation Cash or Borrow Money Options to determine if there are other options.

How Online Payday Loans Work

If you do decide you need emergency cash, the application process typically takes 5-15 minutes and approval is often instant. To qualify one must be employed, have direct deposit, and be over 18 years old. These loans are not available to members of the military so you must be a civilian as well. If approved, the money is generally deposited into your checking account by the next business day. The deposited cash is a loan and is due in full your next pay period plus fees. These loans can sometimes be renewed, but additional fees are incurred. Renewing is generally not a good choice, so if you believe you are unable to pay your loan in full at your next pay period, consider an installment loan.

Installment Loans Versus Payday Loans

The difference between these types of loans is that installment loan payments are spread out over time. This reduces the amount of individual payments and APR for an installment loan but the absolute total fees paid may be higher. See Payday Loans or Installment Loans for more information. Many consumers prefer installment loans because paying the entire loan at your next pay period, as payday loans require, is often too difficult or impossible and renewing becomes extremely expensive.

Payday Loan Lenders

Companies offering these loans vary greatly. There are numerous stories in the press of individuals being taken advantage of by unscrupulous lenders. The Payday Hound strongly prefers using established state licensed lenders. See Payday Lenders to learn more about lenders.

Find Loan Lenders by State

Online payday loans are state regulated so not all lenders make loans in all states. Select your state below to find available lenders in your state.