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Online loans: making sense of them

The biggest difference between how business was done in the past and now is perhaps the prevalent use of the Internet. Attracting the consumers’ attention is one of the key factors for success and businesses know that. The internet is their main tool of achieving that purpose. Many companies are now offering their services and products online. Lending companies are no exceptions. There are many lenders offering their products online. These online companies are introducing different types of loans which makes it easier for consumers to apply and use them.

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How Payday Loans are used in the USA

How Payday Loans are used in the USA How Payday Loans are used in the USA

Online loans: making sense of them



The issue with the internet is that it gives you everything – from the good, the bad to the crazy. Be it dog training, muffin making or getting a date, we could stay home all day surfing the net and still get things done. The same goes for borrowing money.

With the myriad of online cash loans out there, you can avoid the uncomfortable situation of asking your family or friends for a loan. However, in all honesty, it’s only when you’ve a good idea of the ins and outs of taking out fast cash loans online, have no other alternatives of borrowing and you can’t wait until your next payday that loans online might be viable borrowing options. Let’s start by taking a look at some of the most common cash loans available online.

Payday loans

What: Instant payday loans are short-term personal loans of between $100 and $1000. As the name suggests, these quick cash loans are generally due on your next payday.

Good for: household repairs, utility bills, rental, medical emergencies, funeral expenses.

Title loans



What: these are secured cash loans where the borrower’s possession is held by the online lending companies as collateral. In the US, car title loans are very common. A professional from the online lending company will inspect the condition of your car at your house, take pictures of it and then collect the original vehicle title.

As long as you make prompt repayment, you can continue driving your car without having to turn it into the lending company at all.

Good for: people who have a car and a regular monthly income as loan repayment will usually be on the next payday. As title loans are secured, they generally have a lower interest rate than unsecured loans such as payday loans.

Payday consolidation



What: this consolidates multiple payday loans into one simple monthly repayment at a new interest rate. The debt consolidation company will negotiate with the online lending company on your behalf for a new repayment timeline and monthly amount.

Generally, people are able to repay all outstanding debts with the help of payday consolidation within six or 18 months.

Good for: letting a professional help with negotiation with online lenders. This way, you don’t have to deal with stressful and complicated negotiations yourself and can be rid of the endless debt collection calls. Moreover, with different debts consolidated into one, you now have only one new repayment schedule to keep to instead of several ones.

Installment loans

What: these are fixed-amount loans which people borrow and repay a fixed monthly sum over the loan tenure. Installment loans are usually for larger amounts as their tenures are spread over an extended period of time. One thing to note when considering an installment loan is that the lender will check your credit history, employment arrangement or personal background to determine whether you’re able to make monthly repayments on time.

Good for: big-budget items such as cars, homes, education or luxury goods.

Merchant cash advances

What: Usually lasting for only a few months, these short-term loans for business owners are useful when they’ve difficulty finding funding elsewhere. Repayments are made daily from a fixed percentage of the business’ credit card receipts. So, the daily repayment amount will be lower should the credit card sales for the day are lower and vice versa.

Good for: business owners who want to secure funding quickly without having to deal with time-consuming red tape which application for a business bank loan would have. Moreover, since the daily repayments of merchant cash advances are proportional to daily sales, the business owner can breathe a little easier as he doesn’t have to meet a fixed repayment amount which is prevalent in most bank loans.

Money can be a troublemaker, especially if you don’t know how to control it. With such an array of online cash loans claiming to solve different needs, it’s important that you, the potential borrower, are well aware of borrowing pitfalls before committing to an online lender.

Errant online lenders

Just as there are imitation luxury goods, there are unscrupulous online lenders who may not be doing what they promise. Some may skip explaining the finer points of borrowing to take advantage of their customers’ desperate need for money. Others may grant unlimited credit to borrowers with bad credit history and then sell the borrower’s personal information to collection agencies when they spiral into a debt trap and couldn’t pay up.

What to look out for in legitimate online lenders

Many online lenders dangle the carrots of ‘fast cash’, ‘no credit checks’ or ’24-hour approval’ on their websites. You’re fully responsible for doing due homework and making sure that you’re really dealing with a reputable online lender with a physical office, a working phone number and a team of human consultants to manage customer’s queries. Look up the address in the business directory or make a call using the phone number displayed on the website. If the other line sounds dodgy or have difficulty speaking good English, run!

Inquire about APR (Annual Percentage Rate)

When borrowing, a loan’s APR represents the real annual cost of a loan inclusive of interest, any processing fees or costs involved expressed as a percentage number. For instance, if the rate of a loan is 25%, this means the borrower will have to repay $25 for every $100 borrowed.

When taking out an online loan, you should do yourself a big favor by asking the online lender about the loan’s APR instead of just its interest rate. That’s because some slick online lending companies may dazzle the prospective borrower with a whole host of figures, at times not even quoting the advertised rates at all. Given so many different rates by various online lenders, how do you determine which is the cheaper loan?



The APR can let you know the real cost of taking out a certain loan save for its limitations for some mortgage or credit card loans. To calculate a loan’s APR and decide which loan to take up, the borrower may use an online APR calculator.

Now that the APR has been calculated, take into consideration some ‘what if’ situations such as early loan repayment, opting for a lower interest rate or negotiating for lower closing costs to see how the APR will change. By playing around with these figures on the online APR calculator, you’ll get a clearer picture of what you should be looking out for in the various quotations from online lenders and what aspects of a loan (eg. lower closing costs, shorter term) you can be negotiating for.

Never prepay

You should also be aware that some online lenders may request you to pay ‘registration fees’ or some other fees first via Western Union or other quick funds transfer services. You should never pay for anything before you receive your cash loan. Spend a little more time going through several more online lending websites and request for quotations.


  • Payday loans

A payday loan is certainly one of the fastest and best ways to get instant cash. No matter what your emergency is, applying for a payday loan will get you the needed amount of money in no time. Since the service is really fast and easy to get approval for (and bad credit is almost never an issue), payday loans have very high interest rates which are higher than conventional bank loans.

  • Installment loans

An installment loan is a loan in which the principal amount and interest are paid in equal installments at scheduled intervals over an agreed period of time. Installment loans are considered safer and more affordable than title loans and payday loans.

  • Cash advances

Cash advance is a service provided by a lot of credit card companies that allows cardholders to withdraw cash up to a certain limit from a bank, through an ATM or some other financial agencies. Cash advances usually have high interest rates which could be even higher than the credit card rates itself.

  • Title loans

A car title loan is a secured loan in which the borrower submits the original vehicle title in exchange for a loan. All the vehicle’s documentation, including its title, is returned to the borrower once he repays the loan and all fees in full. If the borrower is unable to repay, he faces the repossession of his vehicle which can be auctioned to pay for the outstanding loan.

How does it work?

The process to apply for a loan online is rather simple. The common process looks like this:

  • Visit a payday loan online lender’s web page. These companies often have physical stores too, but you can almost always apply online or on the phone. However, some lenders only have their businesses online.
  • Normally, applying for an instant cash loan will require you to fill out basic personal information such as your contact details, employment and banking information. The lender may ask you for the contact numbers of a few close friends or family members and may call these references if you don’t pay back your loan.
  • Write a post-dated check in the name of  the lending institution for the amount of money (plus any fees the lender may charge) you want to borrow or pledge to pay the borrowed amount by a certain date. Usually, lenders express their fees in $100s and paying $15 per $100 of a loan is rather common.
  • The lender gives you a check for the loan amount or deposits the money in your bank account.
  • The lender holds on to the check you’ve written throughout the loan term which is usually two weeks.
  • When the term is up, the lending institution cashes the check or debits the loan amount (plus any fees) from your bank account.
  • Rollover: If you are not able to afford to repay in full, you can roll over the remaining amount of the cash loan to another term (usually for another 14 days). The lending company will tack on another fee.

How long does it take?

The online loan application process is fast. It usually takes less than half an hour. After that, you’ll usually get the loan amount deposited into your bank account within one working day.
Convenient application and easy approval are what make quick loans online attractive. One of the biggest advantages that online loan lenders have over banks is their flexibility. Online  loan lenders have more locations and operate for longer hours than most banks. Some companies are open 24 hours daily. How often do you see a bank open on Sunday?


Tips for taking out a loan online

  • Look around

When it comes to taking out a loan online, it pays to look around and compare APRs. The APR is an annual percentage rate that reflects the true cost of a loan by taking into account the interest rate, any other charges that may occur and the payment schedule. Even though your bank may say it offers preferential rates, you may still find cheaper loans available elsewhere.

  • Read the fine print

Before you apply for a loan online, make sure you ask for a full disclosure of all the loan’s terms and conditions and read the fine print. Different online loan companies have differences in the terms they offer.
See if the monthly payment and repayment terms work for you. There could also be fees for late payment. The lender is usually looking to generate a steady stream of interest payments from you over the period of the loan, so there could also be a prepayment fee  or penalty for paying off your loan early.

  • Beware of origination fees

While some lenders seem to offer lower interest rates, you may find that they also tack on an origination fee which effectively increases your interest rate. That means the best online loan for you could be from a lender who offers a higher rate but doesn’t add on any origination fee.

  • Make sure your credit score is on point

Regardless of the overall direction of interest rates in the market, your credit score could mean a significant difference in the interest rate you’re offered on your cash loan.
For example, you could be paying as much as 20 per cent or higher with bad credit, while you could have a much better 8 per cent  rate with good credit. This is why you should make sure  your credit score is accurate and continue to be responsible in your use of credit.


  • Because it’s an online loan, you don’t have the hassle of going to a bank or even leaving your home. This convenience factor is why many people like online payday loans. You simply find a good online loan site and upload  your information.
  • The application process is usually really quick. Most applications will most likely just take about only five minutes to fill out completely.
  • You will usually get approval within a few hours or, in worst case, by the next business day.
  • Perfect credit is not required.
  • Most online payment loan companies will never check any documents, which makes online payday loans even more hassle free.
  • All you need is a checking account for the deposit of your approved loan amount.
  • You can set up the loan payment to be paid simply when you are paid next, as long as you are paid within 30 days.

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