You are likely familiar with cash advances. The industry has experienced a boom since 2000, with increasing numbers of lenders popping up across the United States. These businesses thrive on offering low dollar, short-term loans to consumers who are strapped for cash. However, as an increasing proportion of Americans gain computers and Internet access, cash advance providers have began to operate online, either as extensions of traditional, physical payday loan locations, or as completely internet-based entities. If you have taken out an advance the traditional way, in person, or even if you are considering on for the first time, you may not feel comfortable with the safety and legitimacy of online lending. However, you can be rest assured that the vast majority of cash advance sites are indeed safe and legitimate. Here are some tips and advice you can use to make sure that (a) your online lender is a legitimate and trustworthy business and (b) it is safe to give personal information on the website without the fear of identity theft.
Tips to Watch For
- Research several cash advance sites before choosing one. Look for lots of advertising, information, and reviews of these sites. This usually indicates a legitimate business.
- Beware of sites that ask for some kind of up-front payment. While some may do so legitimately, this should typically be a red-flag that you may have stumbled on a bogus site that is attempting to steal your information.
- Avoid lenders that guarantee approval. It is fairly easy to get approved for a cash advance, but no one is ever guaranteed without possessing a way to pay the loan back (i.e. bank account, place of employment, etc.)
- Make sure that you have a secure Internet connection. Public computers such as those at libraries or schools are generally NOT secure. If you must use a public computer be sure to close the browser and reboot the computer to ensure your information is not easily retrievable by a stranger. Also, if you use a wireless internet connection from home or elsewhere, make sure it is a secure connection (secure connections require that you know the name and password of the network).
- Familiarize yourself with the settings and functions of your Internet browser. Most will tell you if you are on a secure website with a security icon or some other symbol. Many times the site will tell you that it is secure but always check your browser to make sure.
You Are Ready to Borrow?
These tips will help you make sure that you are secure when taking out a loan or when making any kind of internet based transaction where you give out personal information. If you have made the decision to take out an online payday loan, please borrow responsibly, and take care with your personal information.