Online Payday Loans & Alternatives

Have you ever had a large expense come up, but your payday is still one week away? Those are the types of situations payday loans were invented for. The best payday loans lend you money so that you can get to your next payday. And with options being available online, getting a payday loan has never been easier.

The money that you get comes with interest, of course. So if you are considering a payday loan, you’ll need to shop around for the best rate. Below we’ll cover some further basics of the payday loan, some of the top providers and alternative options.


Best Payday Loan Lenders of 2020

*Payday loan interest rate varies by credit, state, loan amount and length.

LenderCurrent Interest RateStates Served
CashNetUSA228.13% APR for a 28-day loan and 638.75% APR for a 10-day loan16
Check Into Cash651.79% APR33
RISE60 – 299%34
Speedy Cash456.25% APR for a 14-day loan26
Check ‘n Go661.80% APR for a 14-day loan and 314.14% APR for a 30-day loan28

What is a Payday Loan?

A payday loan is a short-term loan for usually a small amount of money. For instance, the loan usually covers anywhere from $50 to a few hundred dollars.

The best payday loans can come in handy when an unexpected expense comes up and you don’t have any other available means of credit or money in a savings account. People often use payday loans for sudden car repair bills, medical bills that need paying off immediately or an emergency home repair.

However, due to the high APR on even the best online payday loans, this should only be a last resort for emergency situations. Never get into the habit of using payday loans for luxury expenses or normal bills. The interest can build up and then you’re stuck in debt.

Payday Loan Alternatives

Payday loans are beneficial because they’re easy and quick to apply for. However, look into these alternative options before going that route.

Payday Loans vs Low APR Credit Cards

Of course, the largest benefit of a low APR credit card is going to be the lower interest rate. Even the best payday loans have a very high APR, often in the hundreds of percentage points.

Meanwhile, a credit card can have an interest rate that’s closer to around 15% on average. Some credit cards even have a 0% interest on balance transfers and purchases for 12 months or longer. Pay the card in full every month, and you often have no interest fees, according to Bankrate. Plus, some credit cards have cash-back programs and other rewards systems. Credit cards are the first place you should check for a payday loan alternative.

Payday Loans vs Online Personal Loans

A personal loan usually comes in larger sums and is often used to pay for major home repairs, large unexpected medical bills and even to consolidate debt. Also you have to borrow a set amount upfront.

Because the amount you borrow is usually larger and in a preset plan, personal loans aren’t the best option if you have a smaller payment amount before your next paycheck. However, if that sudden expense is fairly high, this might be a worthwhile option to look into.

Payday Loans vs Credit Union Payday Loan Alternatives (PALs)

Credit Unions couldn’t help but notice that people were subjecting themselves to outrageous APR rates through even the best online payday loans. So credit unions now offer basically the same services as payday loans at better rates. Credit union PAL loan amounts usually go in the $200 to $1,000 range, according to

Check with your local credit union to see if you qualify for a PAL loan with lower fees. However, many credit unions require you to be a member for one month or more, so this payday loan alternative could take some extra planning.

The Best Online Payday Loans

CashNetUSA Payday Loan

Current interest rate: Varies by state, loan amount and loan length, around 228.13% APR for a 28-day loan and 638.75% APR for a 10-day loan common.

CashNetUSA offers payday loans up to hundreds of dollars, with amounts depending on the state. You can receive an immediate decision when applying for the loan. You can even get same-business-day funding.

Due dates for your loan are typically on your next pay date. So that’s a level of debt that you’re not carrying for too long. However, different loan contracts could specify different due dates. Also, there is no penalty for paying your loan off early.

CashNetUSA also has some additional benefits, like their savings program. Through CashNetUSA, you can get discounts on dining out and even taxes. Also, all customers get access to the online financial education courses and tools.

As you can see, CashNetUSA has low interest payday loans for longer loan periods.

Check Into Cash Payday Loan

Current interest rate: 651.79% APR, could vary by state.

With Check Into Cash, you could get $50 to $1,000, depending on what state you are in. The company offers easy online application in states that qualify. This company has locations all over the country if you don’t want to do it online, making it easy to stop in and apply for the loan near you. Approvals are instant. In store, you can walk out with the cash. Or online you receive the money within 24 business hours.

Check Into Cash also states that qualifications to apply for its loans are less stringent than traditional loans. You can apply for free to see what amount you could borrow, as well.


Current interest rate: APR based on credit – varies by state, but typically 60 – 299%

RISE doesn’t advertise itself specifically as a payday loan service. However, the company allows you to borrow $500 to $5,000. You can apply and receive cash as soon as the next day.

The company advertises flexible payment scheduling that you can set on your own terms. You can even pay off your loan early with no additional fees. Payment terms vary by state, but it’s common to see anywhere from around seven to 26 months.

Also, since the APR is based on your credit score, this option can mean low interest payday loans if your credit is in good shape. As mentioned above, some states advertise APR as low as 60 percent, which beats other conventional payday loan rates.

Speedy Cash Payday Loan

Current interest rate: Varies by loan amount and state, but around 456.25% APR for a 14-day loan is common.

Through speedy cash, you can apply for the best online payday loans, apply over the phone or apply at in-store locations throughout the country. Amounts you can borrow from Speedy Cash varies by state, but it’s often in the hundreds of dollars.

You can usually get your loan funds online within 24 business hours. At the store, you can typically receive cash right away. However, Speedy Cash can also deposit the money to the Opt+ Visa prepaid debit card the company is partnered with. Speedy Cash can also deposit money into a bank account.

Loan due dates are typically on the next payday.

Check ‘n Go Payday Loan

Current interest rate: Around 661.80% APR for a 14-day loan and 314.14% APR for a 30-day loan, depending on state and loan amount.

This is one of the places to get the best payday loans because of the convenience of just how many locations there are across the nation, but you can also get loans online.

The company also states that they follow strict lending guidelines to protect the consumer. Cash ‘n Go also isn’t pushy about forcing you into a loan you are not comfortable with. It states right on the website, “Still, only you can decide if a payday loan is right for you. Before making a decision, be sure to consider whether you can afford to repay a payday loan and its fees on time… Check `n Go is an industry leader and a founding member of the Community Financial Services Association, which promotes responsible lending practices and monitors consumer protection.”

As you can see above, Check ‘n Go also offers discounted, low interest payday loans for a longer loan period.

The Impact of Payday Loan Fees

It can be one thing to see an APR that’s as high as around 600%. When most credit cards have an interest rate of around 15%, that’s obviously quite high. But unless you see how the APR impacts how much you’re paying, it can be hard to visualize what that really means.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) puts payday loan fees in stark terms. For every $100 borrow, you might be paying anywhere from $10 to $30. These rates can vary because different state laws affect how much people can borrow with these terms.

$10 to $30 might not seem like much, but $15 per $100 borrowed is actually around a 400% annual percentage rate for a two-week loan. That’s where those high APR rates come from. So if you borrowed $300, a $15 payment per $100 would cost $345 to pay pack, according to the CFPB.