- Direct Lender
- Title Loans Up To $25,000
- Payday Loans Up To $1,000
- No Prepayment Penalty
- You must have a regular source of income
If you need money fast and a lot of it, you don’t want to jump through the hoops of the traditional lending process, either. These scenarios are where payday and title loans become a viable solution.
Check Into Cash is a leader in these types of loans. The company has more than 1,200 brick and mortar stores across the United States. It has numerous affiliates, like U.S. Money Shops, Nations Quick Cash Title Pawn, and LoanbyPhone.com. Regardless of where you live, there’s a good chance you have a Check Into Cash nearby.
We’ve researched and reported on Check Into Cash’s payday and title loan services. Our goal is to provide customers the information they need when it comes to choosing a financial service provider. If you are considering Check Into Cash, here’s what you need to know.
What Check Into Cash Offers
Check Into Cash is a financial services provider based in Cleveland, Tennessee. The company got its start in 1993 as a pioneer in the payday lending business. Today, founder W. Allan Jones owns the largest payday lending chain in the country.
The company offers three different types of loans: payday, title loans, and installment. Cash Into Check payday loans provides a form of short-term borrowing that typically comes with high interest rates in exchange for convenience. Check Into Cash title loans also involve borrowing, but use the title of a piece of property, usually a car, to secure the transaction. Meanwhile, installment loans let individuals borrow a set amount of money in a lump sum as opposed to fixed payments˙ over time.
Generally speaking, Check Into Cash targets consumers with below-average credit ratings and who need relatively small loans. That range is approximately $50 to $1,000. Depending on residency, first-time borrowers can receive up to $750.
Check Into Cash also offers several non-loan products. For instance, people can establish lines of credit or convert physical cheques into prepaid debit cards or cash. Other services include:
- Gift cards – Check Into Cash will buy new and used gift cards. The company accepts most major retailers. Customers must have a minimum balance of $20 and confirm their identity with government-issued identification.
- Cellphone minutes – Customers can purchase cell phone minutes without a contract. Check Into Cash supports most carriers, including AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and TracFone.
- Money transfer – Many of the brick and mortar locations have a partnership with Western Union. People purchase money orders or transfer money. The transfer typically takes three to five days to process.
- Flex loan – A flex loan is an open line of credit that lets people borrow up to $2,500, and the investment is renewable. Borrowers can take out money from their line of credit at any time and repay the principal while the available credit refreshes.
- Prepaid cards – Check Into Cash offers prepaid debit cards through Visa. These cards are reloadable so that users can control or limit spending as necessary. The minimum balance is $10, and there are no overdraft or interest fees.
How Do I Apply?
Prospective borrowers can apply for a loan online or in-person. The company is legally approved to lend in 30 states. You can find locations near you with the Check Into Cash store locator.
If you would prefer to borrow online, you can start the application process by visiting CheckIntoCash.com. The first step is to determine the qualifications for the loan. This information will indicate whether Check Into Cash will approve the application and its terms and rates.
On the pre-qualification page, you fill out fields, including your name, email, phone, address, date of birth, Social Security number, and financial information. For instance, Check Into Cash will ask about your total income and pay frequency.
A direct lender wants to make sure it is lending money to reliable people. Therefore, they require baseline qualifications and that you meet more specific guidelines. For instance, Check Into Cash typically loans money to people with credit scores between 300 and 700. Borrowers must meet the following criteria to qualify for Check Into Cash services:
- You must be at least 21 years old
- You must live in a qualifying state
- You must have a regular source of income
- You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- You must have an open checking account
One potential caveat is a hard credit check, also known as a hard pull. Check Into Cash does this to see where else you have credit, such as with a car, home, or other types of loan payments. Hard credit checks can reduce a credit score by five to ten points per inquiry, which can be especially detrimental for people with poor credit histories.
Once an applicant submits the appropriate qualification forms, Check Into Cash reviews the information. The company will reach out to you within hours or days of submission. If you qualify for the loan, a Check Into Cash representative will call or email you to complete the loan process and set up a repayment structure.
If you do not qualify, there are two potential reasons. First, you may not live in a state that offers Check Into Cash services. Second, you may not have a strong enough credit history.
Credit history measures an individual’s financial strength. It is a permanent record of their loans, debts, and line of credit, as well as opened and closed bank accounts. Your first step should be to get a credit history report from one of the three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. Consumers are legally entitled to one free credit report per year per company.
Your credit history can serve as a blueprint for improving overall credit, and the results will pay dividends in the future. People with stronger credit scores will get more favorable loan terms, which makes it easier to repay the loan and build credibility. Therefore, if you do borrow again, you have an elevated standing in the eyes of lenders.
If you see any errors in your credit history, make sure to file a correction with Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. For instance, a misattributed or unpaid credit card will damage your score and must be fixed before you apply for your loan. Whether you contact the bureaus online, on the phone, or via snail mail, make sure to have the pertinent documentation to prove your claim.
There are several other steps you can take to improve your credit score. Perhaps the most useful tip is to focus on your credit utilization ratio. This figure represents the total number of credit expenses divided by the entire line of credit.
For instance, let’s say you spend $1,500 per month. If your line of credit, or the maximum amount of money you can borrow, is $10,000, your credit utilization ratio would be 15 percent. The rule of thumb is to have a rate under 30 percent, though 20 percent is ideal.
A lower number suggests that the consumer is responsible for their money and understands how to manage spending and repayment. You can improve your credit utilization ratio by becoming the sole owner of your financial account instead of sharing it. Paying off existing balances and debts will also go a long way to improve your ratio.
Lenders reward consumers for practical uses of credit. That can mean only opening as many lines of credit as necessary and not closing other lines only when you stop using them. Lenders want to see that consumers have a diverse mix of credit sources as a way to prove their credibility. Additionally, do not apply for new credit too often as hard credit checks will hurt your score.
Prospective borrowers may know whether or not they can receive a loan in a matter of minutes. You can attribute part of that understanding to the streamlined application process. If you get the green light, here are a couple of pros and cons to consider before you make your decision to accept the loan.
Speed and convenience. These are the two main factors that come into play when people select Check Into Cash. Lenders have a structure that lets people go through the loan process promptly.
Part of that is because Check Into Cash requires relatively little information to approve borrowers. Secondly, they do not perform in-depth credit checks the same way a large bank might. This system makes it possible for people with poor credit or no bank account to receive a loan.
The convenience also makes Check Into Cash a convenient option for people who need a significant amount of money in a short timeframe. Borrowers can receive money the same day, whether they apply in-person or online. Even if you have never taken out a loan before, Check Into Cash representatives will walk you through the process to ensure you secure financing.
Furthermore, you can use the money however you want. That can include, but is not limited to, rent, paying off debt, weddings, bills, auto payments, or medical expenses. Having broad discretion may make payday loans more appealing.
While Check Into Cash does not charge an application fee, the company’s product does come with high service fees and unfavorable terms. Think of these features as the price of convenience. More often than not, borrowers need the money urgently enough that they are willing to accept less than ideal terms.
The best example of this is the 299.99 percent simple interest rate. It’s hard to overstate how high this percentage is. Most personal loan interest rates come with an annual interest rate of 10 to 28 percent. That’s why many people consider payday lending institutions a last resort.
The question is, “Why would anyone effectively pay 300 percent interest on a loan?” Because they can’t get a loan anywhere else. People who receive interest rates of 10 to 28 percent, also have “good” or “excellent” credit scores, which range from 660 to 720 or higher.
Banks, credit unions, and other direct lenders view people with robust credit scores as reliable and trustworthy with money. That’s why these institutions are willing to lend more money with more favorable terms. People who accept 300 percent interest don’t have the luxury of shopping around for loans because they know they can’t get the approval they need.
Additionally, customers do not have a long time to pay back their loans. The advance is seven, 14, or 30 days. If someone borrows $500 at 399 percent APR, they have to repay $625 by the end of the loan term. This figure does not include any potential fees or the fact that borrowers will have to pay $20 more for any late payments.
In theory, a loan with a more extended repayment period would be easier to repay. The direct lender can earn more interest over time while giving the borrower more leeway to gather funds. It’s worth noting that some states offer 14-day loan terms, which are due on the subsequent payday.
Also, consider the inherent risk of title loans, beyond the high interest rates and possible fees. Title loans require a form of collateral as a way of honoring the repayment. Many people use their vehicles. If a person is unable to repay their title loan on time, Check Into Cash can take legal ownership over their car.
Fees/Locations/Available States They Work In
Check Into Cash does not explicitly list its fees, so it’s difficult to say where or how much you can expect to pay. The modus operandi of payday loan providers is to charge higher than average rates for their products. The average fee of a payday lender is $55 per two-week loan. Some potential additional charges include penalties for insufficient funds and late payments.
If borrowers cannot make the payment when due, they may enter into an extended payment plan. Borrowers can enter into it once per 12 months, though they need to select this option before they miss payments. The program does incur interest until you pay the principal and fees in full.
Note that if you still can’t pay back the principal, interest, and fees, Check Into Cash may turn the balance over to a collections agency. This third party will assume responsibility for collecting the money you owe. This stage is the most extreme and would negatively affect your credit history and score.
Additionally, customers are subject to fees based on their location. This origination fee is meant to cover the expenses of processing the loan. Check Into Cash operates within the following states:
- Delaware (online only)
- Utah (online only)
- Washington (online only)
Let’s look at an example of a Check Into Cash payday loan. Say you need $1,000 to finance bathroom remodeling, and you have no existing credit history. Check Into Cash approves your application and provides the $1,000 for the maximum period of one month.
Check Into Cash may set the annual percentage rate or APR at 399 percent. This figure determines how much to charge borrowers for the duration of the loan. In this case, the repayment amount would be $1,250. Therefore, borrowers are paying $250 for the privilege of having disposable income.
The Bottom Line
Payday and title loans are risky. While the short-term loans are easy to receive, they can ultimately put you in a deep financial hole. According to Lendedu.com, the average person ends up paying $520 in fees for borrowing $375 initially.
Criticism of payday lending tactics is not new. Many states outlawed the practice altogether. However, Check Into Cash Chairman and CEO W. Allan Jones made several strategic donations to state legislators in past decades as an incentive for more favorable laws.
That said, for all the payday lenders in the industry, Check Into Cash is one of the reputable ones. It has locations in most U.S. states and is one of the most well-known names in the industry. While the terms may not be in favor of the borrower, there are plenty of shady companies that will put you in even worse debt.
People that need money quickly look to Check Into Cash, and with good reason. The company makes it simple to procure a loan without the requirements or inspection associated with the traditional loan process. Borrowers can have the money they need the same day they apply.
That said, there are some alternatives to payday lending. Even if you don’t want to sit down with a bank or credit union, you can find other sources of financing. The best place to start is with friends and family or organizations within your social network, like a sports team or church.
You may also consider peer-to-peer lending. Peer-to-peer lending offers fixed interest rates and a set monthly payment schedule for people who don’t qualify for loans elsewhere. Some of the most popular platforms include Lending Club and Peerform. Other possible alternatives include asking your employer for a paycheck advance or using credit cards to pay off your current expenses.