Think you’re safe from overspending now that the holidays are over with and not to return for another several months? Think again. The first few months of the year typically rack up a long list of expenses. From Valentine’s Day and Spring Break to winter home maintenance and heating costs, there’s a bill lurking around every corner, and sometimes you don’t have enough set aside in savings to cover them all. If you’re incapable of making these payments on your own, a small dollar loan can help.
Before you find a payday loan lender in your state, it’s important that you understand the mark of a reliable organization that offers responsible lending opportunities. A quick search on Google will reveal that there are thousands of companies offering financial assistance, but not every lender on Google is created equally. Keep an eye out for the following features to ensure your lending experiences starts off on the right foot.
Clarity & Ease
Your personal finances isn’t the easiest subject to parse through, especially when you have no background in banking or economics. But when it comes to personal loans, the information you find online from prospective lenders shouldn’t do anything to confuse the situation. All copy regarding the size, terms, and conditions of their financial products should be written in clear, easy-to-understand language that you don’t need a dictionary or special degree to comprehend. When a company uses unnecessarily complex language on their website or in their contracts, it suggests they’re trying to conceal hidden fees and other predatory practices in confusing legalese.
Accreditation & Recognition
A lender of small dollar loans should do more than offer a friendly face to financial assistance. They’re also under a legal obligation to have the appropriate licenses. In America, each state regulates the size and terms of payday loans to ensure companies offer reasonable lending opportunities. Only those lenders that satisfy these laws will receive a license, so make sure this accreditation is present.
There are also other qualifications outside the law that suggest a lender’s dedicated to providing responsible loans. Membership with the Community Financial Service Association of America (CFSA) and the Online Lender’s Alliance (OLA) means a company stays up-to-date on new developments in the financial industry. A high customer rating from websites like Trust Pilot and BBB (the Better Business Bureau) offers further proof of a lender’s worth, as these unaffiliated sites host a platform for praises and complaints from former customers.
The majority of small dollar lenders now offer convenient access to their loans online. You can’t expect to apply, sending intimate financial details over the Internet, without some security in place. Your personal information should be protected by secure socket layer (SSL) encryption and Verified Site Certificates, as well as physical measures that keep databases safe.
Remember to keep these features in mind as you shop for a short term loan. When you find a company that satisfies all of them, you can take on their products with confidence. More importantly, you can take on wintertime expenses.