Overview: best for returning customers, and low fees
Advance America is one of the largest lenders for payday loans in the U.S., with a presence on the market since 1997. It provides a broad spectrum of quick financing solutions, including installment loans, personal lines of credit, title loans, prepaid debit cards, loan refinancing in some states. All of these products are especially aimed at borrowers with far less than good credit.
The company does its best to serve its loans with the fastest turnaround possible, so you will find an easy source of money when you need it for emergencies.
Payday loans are the product we are examining in this article: they generally carry high interest rates, and Advance America makes no exception. Compared to personal loans, the APRs for a payday loan are in the triple digits, but the very short term of repayment makes the loan still affordable.
Advance America operates through 1200+ physical locations across 28 states, while also offering online loans. The available loan amounts, rates and terms will all vary depending on when you live: in some states, you can borrow as low as $50. For instance, California, Oklahoma, Texas, North Carolina, Nevada, and Florida tend to have the highest interest rates in regard to payday loans.
You may want to know that Advance America is a licensed lender, agreeing to all the current regulations. You can also apply for a short-term loan from Advance America online if you live in one of the following states:
And here are all the states where Advance America is operating: AL, CA, CO, DE, FL, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MI, MS, NV, OH, OK, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, WA, WI, WY.
|Loan terms||14-30 days, vary by state|
|Interest||$15-$20 fee for every $100|
|Additional fees||Late/missed payments penalty, no prepayment fee|
|Requirements||18+ and US citizen/resident, operational checking account with direct deposit, steady source of income, at least $1,000 monthly income, no past or current bankruptcy|
|Minimum credit score||N/A|
Rates, terms, and the loan amount are going to vary depending on your state of residence, this is because every state has its own regulation on the matter of loans; how much you can borrow is also going to depend on your income. But generally, you have to expect a 150%-460% APR (annual percentage rate) averagely, with the possible exceeding of 700% for some cases in a few states like California and North Carolina. Terms are the time it takes to receive a payday check, so it’s 2-4 weeks.
The applied interest is $15 or $20 fee for every $100 borrowed, whereas other well-known payday lenders can reach even a $45 fee cost.
By borrowing in-store, you can get even $50, while the minimum limit allowed for online loans is $100.
We can point to two main edges of Advance America over other payday lenders: you can qualify with a lower than usual credit even for a payday loan, and you have a potential quicker turnaround than most other lenders for this product. That’s probably why so many people are already choosing Advance America, and are reporting mostly positive experiences.
It will be also possible to roll over loans, depending on states: many customers renew their first payday loans over the months to come, which usually is done to keep up with recurrent expenses, such as bills. However, this solution brings to a substantially increased cost of the loan, accounting for interest and eventual fees.
Advance America charges a small fee for late payments, but none for early repayments. In some states, it’s even possible to have a refund on interest if prepayments are done.
To answer this question, we summarize here the main advantages and drawbacks.
Your transactions with Advance America won’t be reported to any of the three major credit bureaus, so taking a payday loan won’t harm your credit history. The lender seems to have all the benefits one may seek into a quick loan: easy qualification, low borrowable amounts, a possible low cost (if eligible), and a rapid disbursement.
Payday loans from Advance America or any other lender can’t be recommended over traditional personal loans, unless you are in an emergency, because of steep interest rates. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) makes you aware that you can easily put yourself in a perpetuating debt, and many financial experts suggest creating a budget before approaching these loans. Personal loans carry lower rates with more stretched terms to repay while setting more limits for qualification, above all higher credit scores and incomes.
The company is a member of the Community Financial Services Association, which has to do with the legitimacy and transparency of lending procedures. Indeed, we also found that it has been sued because of its very high rates and fees in the past, but it eventually overcame the issue. Advance America is not accredited from the BBB, but it must be said: almost no payday lender is, probably because of the intrinsic nature of business.
That said, with more than 23 years of experience, and thousands of satisfied consumers praising the company, Advance America is definitely legit.
With more than 100k Google reviews and 50k+ from Trustpilot, you won’t find a lender with so many feedbacks. Plus, it gets an overall positive reputation: a whopping 4.8/5 on 56k reviews from Trustpilot, which is quite uncommon for any company.
What is most appreciate is the professionalism and politeness of the staff, alongside the ease and speed of obtaining the funds. However, there are also complaints here and there: several of those are about higher than expected costs of the loan, and some people perceived the customer service as not efficient all the time, which is common when a huge amount of reviewers are involved.
Although there won’t be usually a credit check from Advance America, some eligible cases will require it. There are two ways of applying: either at a physical store (where present) or online. In the former case, it is likely that you will come out of the shop with the money in your hands, but you’ll have to wait in a queue. If you choose to start your application online, you’ll also get the loan the same day, provided you began the process before 10:30 am EST on business days. The documentation to submit will be basically the same, and approvals may occur in minutes.
The overall process is straightforward and hassle-free, regardless if you apply in-store or online since the procedure is identical. You’ll need the following documentation:
– A valid ID;
– an active checking account;
– proof of income.
The whole process will take only some minutes, and you can even start online and resuming your application with a loan officer later. Once you go beyond the first approval step, you may need to disclose additional information about your income status.
When you apply in-store, you might be able to obtain cash in 15 minutes, as claimed from Advance America itself. With an online application, if you’re approved, your funds will be deposited directly into your bank account, as soon as the same day.
Repayments are made by bank transfer (deduction from the balance at the due date), or some states also allow returning the loan in cash.
Advance America’s payday loans are a temporary solution to obtain money when you need it fast while having bad credit, provided that you can repay with your next payday check. Compared to other lenders offering the same product, it boasts the highest numbers of feedback by its consumers, with mostly a positive experience: several of them are repeated “buyers”, so if you plan to take multiple payday loans over time, Advance America might be the right fit.
However, if you can tolerate longer payoff periods, a personal loan is definitely a better move, because you’ll get much lower interest rates.
As always, we recommend comparing your options: look also at our selection of payday lenders or personal loans, if you think that Advance America is not for you, or you have a specific priority to fulfill.