There’s an endless number of reasons why you may need a quick cash loan — maybe a home appliance isn’t working or you need a textbook for a class. In any case, don’t fall prey to seemingly easy, quick loans that feature high interest rates.
These types of easy loans (sometimes called cash advances or payday loans) can get you money without a long wait — but cost a ton. In fact, you may not realize how truly pricey these loans are until it’s too late. So, make sure you consider all of your options before you take out an “easy” loan.
In this article, we’ll go over the true cost of these loans and what you should be looking for. Plus, we’ll go through safer alternatives and show you how to get up to $250 deposited instantly in your account with MoneyLion’s Instacash, a low-cost MoneyLion Credit Builder Loan, and flexible installment loan options.
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What are easy loans?
An easy loan is a type of loan that has a very short term, a high-interest rate, and multiple fees. Easy loans refer to a specific type of personal loan commonly known as a payday loan. Though there is no universal definition of a payday loan, financial experts agree that most payday loans share a few common characteristics:
- The lender expects the loan paid in a single lump sum instead of installments.
- The lender doesn’t seem to care about your income or ability to pay the loan back.
- The lender charges exorbitant fees and interest.
- The lender may or may not allow you to rollover your loan on the due date (you’ll only pay interest and fees that have accrued).
- Most payday loans come from independent payday loan centers. These payday loan centers often also offer other financial services, including pawn broking and check cashing. You usually won’t be able to get a payday loan from a traditional bank or credit union.
High-cost, payday lending is legal in 32 states. However, most states have laws in place that limit these types of loans. You may face limits on the amount of money you can borrow, your loan’s term, and the number of times that you can roll your loan over. Some states ban payday loans altogether under excessive usury laws. Online payday loans are subject to the jurisdiction of the state you live in.
Payday loans are appealing to consumers because they offer a fast and simple way to get money quickly. You usually only need a working bank account and the time to fill out a quick application to get an easy loan. There are also no limits to how you can use the money from a payday loan. Unlike an auto loan or a mortgage loan, you don’t need to tell the lender how you plan to use the money. These factors lead you to take out an easy loan — only to trap you with high fees and excessive interest rates. This cycle is why payday loans are known as predatory loans.
How Do Easy Loans Work?
Payday loans are available through payday lenders. In most cases, you’ll have to visit the lender and request a loan for the amount of money you need. Depending on your state, there may be a limitation on how much money you can get for a payday loan. Your lender will then draw up a contract with the terms of your loan. Contract information typically includes:
- How much money the loan is for
- Your annual percentage rate (APR), or the amount of interest you pay each year on your loan
- Any flat-rate fees you must pay in addition to your interest
- Information on your rollover options if you can’t repay your loan
- Information on what happens if you default on your loan
- Where and how to pay back your loan
- The loan due date
To agree to the loan, you’ll sign the contract and the lender will give you the money. You’ll also need to write your lender a check or offer authorization to take money from your bank account if you don’t pay back your loan. When you return to pay your loan, your lender will release the hold on your bank account or return your check to you.
Most financial experts don’t recommend taking out an easy loan because they often charge very high-interest rates. You might pay anywhere from 300% to 780% APR to take out a payday loan. These high rates result in interest compounding faster than you can repay. For example, you might borrow $500 for two weeks at 500% APR and will owe your lender a total of $596 when you pay the loan back — $500 in principal and $96 in interest.
Data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that 80% of people who take out a payday loan re-borrow or roll over their loan at least once. One in every five borrowers defaults on a payday loan and more than 50% of people who take out an online easy loan default.
Things to look for in an easy loan alternative
“Easy” loans aren’t exactly so easy on your wallet. Thankfully, there are plenty of other easy loan alternatives that you can use to get the money you need. Here’s what to look for in safer, easy loan options.
No impact on your credit
Easy loans can be appealing because they don’t require credit checks before you get a loan. However, there are other, safer lenders that offer loans without a hard check on your credit report.
A hard check is when a lender pulls your credit report to look at your past credit usage and credit score. Hard checks hang around on your credit report for a short period of time and temporarily lower your score. This can be frustrating if you’re working to improve your credit.
Lenders like MoneyLion don’t require credit checks on financing products. That means you could access up to $250 at a 0% APR cash advance, credit builder loans, and buy now pay later installment loans without having to worry about your score taking a hit.
Chances are that you don’t have time to schedule a trip to the bank to get a loan. Look for a lender that offers online loans and makes applying for an account or loan simple.
One of the most appealing things about easy loans is that you don’t need to wait days or weeks to get your money. However, lenders like MoneyLion also offer instant deposits as soon as you get loan approval.
A high-interest rate can make it feel impossible to pay your loan back on time. Remember to read the loan’s terms and analyze the APR. Do the math and figure out how much money you’ll owe by the time your loan is due — and don’t be afraid to compare lenders before you make a commitment.
Like high APRs, high fees can make it difficult to pay back your loan on time. Fees are another crucial reason to read through all of your loan’s terms before you agree to them. Opt for lenders that offer loans with minimal fees to save as much money as possible.
Easy loan alternatives from MoneyLion
Know that easy loans aren’t for you but can’t seem to find the best alternative? Consider MoneyLion. MoneyLion offers 3 distinct financing products that are the ideal payday loan substitutes. Take a look.
We know that bills sometimes pile up faster than your paycheck comes in. Instacash gives you early access to your next check without high fees or credit checks. It’s the safe, simple, and easy way to get up to $250 instantly deposited into your account when you need it. Just open up the app, choose how much money you need, confirm your transaction, and see the money in your account.
Instacash has 0% APR and you don’t need to pay back what you owe until your next payday. Fast and convenient, Instacash is here for you when you need money quickly.
Credit Builder Loan
MoneyLion’s Credit Builder Loan helps you access up to $1,000 in financing at a low-APR and offers you a real chance to improve your credit score. Payday loans don’t report your on-time payments to credit bureaus. This means that even if you’re staying on top of your payments, your score won’t improve and you won’t have a better chance of securing more affordable financing the next time around.
MoneyLion’s Credit Builder Loan doesn’t do this. This loan comes with real, helpful credit monitoring tools and manageable payments that are designed to give your score a boost. Learn more here.
The latest financing initiative from MoneyLion is a zero-free installment loan for up to $600. It allows you to break up large purchases into smaller, management payments. At this time, there are no monthly fees and no interest rates associated with this product. However, access is invite-only – so make sure to reserve your spot here.
Ditch “easy” payday loans for safer quick loans from MoneyLion
Ready to ditch predatory, so-called “easy” loans for better financing solutions? Download the MoneyLion app onto your phone or tablet to get started. You can find the MoneyLion app on both the Apple App and the Google Play store. Remember, here’s no credit check to qualify for Instacash, a Credit Builder Loan, or Overtime.
You can use the money you get from MoneyLion for anything that you need, including repair bills, fines, credit card payments, and college textbook expenses. Plus, you’ll also be able to access smart banking tools to help you stay on top of payments and make smart financial moves.