There are a number of safe payday loan companies in the US – and to find these you should check the SEC Register and the OLA website to see their regulatory status. Other things you can do include checking Google, forums, social media and reviews to see what experiences other consumers have had.
Key Points About Finding A Safe Payday Loan:
- There are around 23,000 regulated lenders in the US. When taking out a loan, it is essential for your safety that your lender is regulated.
- Check that your lender is regulated on the SEC registered or OLA website. You can also read about other borrowers’ experiences on the Better Business Bureau website.
- Check that your potential lender’s website is legitimate. Their web address should begin with ‘https’ and their online reviews should be consistent and strong.
- If you think you’ve been a victim of a scam, get in touch with your bank.
How Do I Check If An Online Lender Is Trustworthy?
Ensure They Are Regulated
If your lender is regulated, that means that they have been approved as trustworthy by an official regulator. This means you are in safe hands. You can check whether they are regulated through searching for them on the SEC register, or checking the OLA website.
Check Their Status With The Better Business Bureau
Check the Better Business Bureau website to learn more about whether the lender is reliable. The business will be graded from between A+ and F, and the justifications behind their grade will be explained.
Sometimes, there will be customer reviews, which show you the experience other borrowers have had with that particular lender.
You should also consult customer reviews on community websites like TrustPilot. If you cannot find the lender on any third party comparing and reviewing sites, that’s not a great sign. You could check safety websites that flag online scam. For instance, www.urlvoid.com is there to let you know if a website is a scam or not.
From feedback from Google, forums, social media and review sites like Trustpilot, angry consumers will be quick to voice their frustrations if they have been victims of scams or have had a bad experience with a lender. It is worth spending just a few minutes searching for the lender in question and seeing what feedback there might be, good or bad.
Assess Their Website – It’s Easier Than You Think!
Check The Site Is https:
- Their website should begin with “https” and not “http”- the ‘s’ stands for secure.
- You should also see a padlock symbol on any pages that ask you to provide personal information.
- The padlock means the address is protected from identity thieves.
Check Terms And Conditions
Carefully read the terms and conditions attached to your loan before agreeing to anything. Legitimate payday lenders should be transparent and very clearly display the terms of their loans before asking you to proceed. You will electronically sign a loan agreement before going ahead – and you should take a moment to look at the loan arrangement and payments before agreeing.
If your lender has not detailed any terms and conditions in the contract, steer clear. Legitimate lenders comply with laws that require them to lay out their terms and conditions.
For a second opinion, you could approach a lawyer who deals with these contracts on a regular basis and whose advice you could rely on.
Check They Have An Address And Phone Number
Most legitimate lenders will offer a physical address and contact information. If they have neither, or only one, it could be that they are illegitimate.
If they do have a phone number, give them a call. If your calls fail to go through, this could be a red flag and an indicator that they are using a dummy number. If this is the case, find a better lender!
What Should I Do If I Think I Have Been Scammed?
Your first step should be to contact your bank and freeze or cancel all your cards. This stops anyone from removing cash from your account.
You will also need to contact the police and report the illegal activity. The police will be able to advise you on your next steps, and will work to stop the scammer from swindling other victims.
You may need to purchase a new ID, like passports or driving licenses; anything that was given to the scammers. You can often report these items as stolen, to protect you in the future.
Top Loan Scams To Avoid
Advance Fee Loan Scams – Scammers promise a loan but demand an upfront fee to pay for “insurance” or to “demonstrate good faith,” These scammers will either by asking you to mail them the card, or to read the card information to them over the phone.
Phishing Scams – These scams are intended to discover your personal information, allowing the scammer to steal your identity, and perhaps access your bank accounts. The loan you were promised will never end up in your account, but rather, you become a victim. Beware!