Life has a way of throwing you a curveball when you least expect it. It’s why you end up having to take your car in for repairs only after you decided to pay your taxes in full, wiping out your savings in the process. Without enough money left over, a cash advance is a great way to bridge the gap between your mechanic’s bill and your next paycheck. When taken from the right source, a small dollar loan is a responsible way to solve momentary cash shortages of any kind — whether or not it includes your taxes and car. But before you sign any contract you need to confirm a lender can provide financially healthy assistance.
You can do that by playing the role of a spy charged with the task of snooping on your local lenders. Don’t worry, you won’t have to commit any daring feats of espionage like wiretapping any microwaves. You can collect your research during a comfortable Sunday afternoon or weekday evening. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, only requires a laptop or phone with access to the Internet and the time to read up on your options.
Step Number One: Primary Research
Your first course of action is to explore the financial assistance available to you by visiting the lender’s website directly. While it may not be possible to review every single lending organization that comes up in a Google search, focusing on the top 5 should give you a good idea of what’s available. It should be clear immediately whether or not these sites are easy to find, navigate, and read.
Anything that complicates your task could simply be bad business habits or it could be an indicator of nefarious practices intent on concealing hidden fees and other important information. In either case, consider it a warning sign. Either they’re an inept organization that’s liable to make mistakes or they’re a predatory scam intent on trapping unsuspecting customers with unmanageable loans.
Each state regulates the lending opportunities that limit the size, terms, and conditions of the loans available within their borders. That means you may not have the same choices in Ohio as your friend in California does, so it’s best to familiarize yourself with the direct payday lenders in your state to confirm what’s legally at your disposal. While clicking through their site, verify that they have the appropriate accreditation to confirm they follow your state’s lending laws.
Step Number Two: Secondary Research
Once you have a rough idea about the assistance each lender offers, your next task is to see what other people are saying about their products. Speak with co-workers, friends, or family members who have used cash advances recently and ask them about their experience. They’ll give you an insider’s look at how a company operates that you may not find anywhere else, and you can use their suggestions to test out a lender for yourself or to steer clear of one entirely.
If you don’t know anyone in your life who you can ask directly, don’t worry. The Internet is full of people offering their unsolicited advice on any given subject, so you’ll find recommendations on lenders quite easily. You can use Google Reviews and websites like Trust Pilot to read uncensored reviews on lenders to understand aspects of their products and processes in ways that aren’t outlined anywhere else. You can read the comments or stick with the cold hard numbers and look at the breakdown of each rating level.
Though it may take some time, doing this research now before you sign a contract can help you in the long run. It will save you the financial hardship of accepting a short term loan that’s outside of your means to repay. Instead, you’ll be able to locate a practical loan that helps you prepare for life’s curveballs in a responsible way. So set aside an afternoon, evening, or early morning to devote to your search and get the scoop on your choice of lender.