Is A Paycheck Advance Right For You?

by Rose Martin

Anyone can run out of money before pay day. Often times, income has little to do with it. Couple that with a flailing economy, and more and more individuals are having trouble making it to their next pay day. It might be more diapers and formula for the baby, or an overdue car payment. In any case, a paycheck advance is an option that more and more people are taking advantage of.

Years ago, these were looked upon as a resource only for the downtrodden, poor unskilled laborers. Nowadays, even corporate managers and other professionals find themselves using this service because frequently it’s their only option. No longer located in dark back alleys and staffed by employees who look like “bikers,” these newer establishments can be found in suburban areas next to professional office buildings.

It’s not that difficult to get approved for this type of loan, though requirements do vary from company to company. In general, you need to have a net income of about $1,000 a month, you must have a checking account, and you can only borrow amounts based on your paycheck. Loan amounts and limits are typically in the $150 – $1,000 range.

As with any type of unsecured personal loan, you can expect to pay a higher interest rate than traditional loans. For a short term loan this could be anywhere from 15% to 25% over the course of 1-4 weeks. This might sound a bit scary, but if you have a choice of taking out a cash advance or handing your car keys over the repo guy, there’s not much to think about.

Many companies have websites where you can apply discretely and handle the entire process almost anonymously. They usually require that you send in some type of paperwork like check stubs but after your application is approved they usually deposit the money into your checking account fairly quickly.

Keep in mind that even though they won’t pull a regular credit report, they will check with another type of credit service that only deals with open pay day loans. They monitor what loans have been paid, which ones are open, and which ones have been defaulted on. If you have no open loans, and if you have never defaulted on a past loan, you’re good to go.

If you choose to use a brick and mortar location, call first to ask what documentation they may need. The forms to fill out are pretty straight forward, and the entire transaction takes less than a half hour. Some places will give you a check on the spot, and others will still want to electronically credit the money to your bank.

Make sure you do some research first in order to compare rates and limits. These companies have learned to aggressively compete with each other.

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