When you find yourself in a bit of a financial bind, online loans can be the lifeline you need. But if you are unfamiliar with online lenders, how can you be sure that they are legitimate?
Whether you need money for an emergency or for any other reason, an online loan may be the only option open for you if your credit is below average.
To be safe, you should do a little research on a lending company before you apply for a loan. It’s usually pretty easy to find out who’s legit, and who you should avoid, if you follow a few key tips.
One of the easiest places to start is online. People are far more likely to leave a review for a bad experience they’ve had over a good one. Check their website, but also check for reviews and forums.
You can find a lot of information about a company online. Even if it’s a new company, they will have a website that you can browse. Malicious websites do exist, so make sure the site is a secure and begins with ‘https’ in the URL address.
You can click on the ‘contact us’ icon and see their email address. It should have their name as part of the email. If the back part of the email, after the @ sign, isn’t the same as the company name, move on.
Any reputable lender will also include a phone number on their site so you can reach out to ask questions. If you’ve never used them before, it’s wise to call them and ask a few questions.
If anyone tells you to put down a deposit for the loan, that is a scam. Never pay money to receive a short-term loan. There are obviously fees involved, but that is always included as part of the loan repayment.
Interest and processing fees come when you are paying back the loan, not before you get it. There are upfront fees for larger loans, like a home, car, or boat, but not from a small-dollar lender.
Any reputable lender will have their license number displayed on their website or in the store. You can check with your state or the Better Business Bureau to see if they are licensed or if there is a bad history that should be avoided.
Online lenders can be based anywhere, so make sure they are able to work in your state. Some companies have branches in multiple states.
There are companies that advertise loans online but are not a licensed lender. These marketing companies will sell your data to the highest bidder. If you’d rather not have your information sold to numerous companies, there are direct lenders available. The marketing companies are required to provide a disclaimer at the bottom of the front page stating they are not a lender.
Having poor credit is not a deal-breaker to obtain a short-term loan as most small-dollar lenders do not run traditional credit checks. You will be required to prove your identity and provide your banking history.
All of the following events should be avoided:
We have 22 store locations as well as an online loan department. We’ve become the trusted source for short-term lending in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina and Tennesse. So, rather than search for “payday loans”, just come into one of our stores or apply online and you’ll see why Lending Bear is the short-term lender of choice in the Southeast. We are fast, friendly, and one of the highest-reviewed lenders on Google.