Instant loans can help you deal with unexpected expenses. However, instant loans often have high interest rates and short repayment periods, making it easy to accumulate interest and end up in a debt spiral. Responsible use and management of instant loans is key to providing debt relief, especially if you are unemployed.
Unemployment can exacerbate the financial burden of debt and unforeseen expenses. Fortunately, loans have become more accessible with the rise of financial technology and mobile apps. Choosing the right lender and platform can greatly improve your borrowing experience, while the wrong lender can lead to additional stress and high interest.
In this guide, we discuss the numerous lender options that can be beneficial to those without a job, the pros and cons of each, and expert advice to consider when obtaining a loan.
Understanding instant loans
An instant loan is a short-term loan that grants a small loan amount quickly. While instant loans can be a lifesaver because of their quick access to money, their high interest rates and short loan terms can cause issues down the line.
Instant loans vary in name and the exact loan terms and conditions depend on your lender. It’s a good idea to check the reputation of an instant loan provider on trusted sites such as Better Business Bureau.
Here are common types of fast loans, their benefits and drawbacks, and essentials you need to know before borrowing.
Payday loans have loan terms between two to four weeks as the payday loan provider expects borrowers to repay the loan when they are next paid. Payday loans come with extremely high risks as the short repayment periods and high interest rates make it challenging to pay off the debt in time.
It is often recommended to exhaust your other lender options before turning to a payday loan provider. A payday loan could have an astronomical annual percentage rate (APR) of up to 400 percent, whereas a typical loan APR averages around 15 percent.
Pawn shop loan
Pawn loans are secured by collateral. You can bring an asset with you to the pawn shop and let them appraise it. If they accept the item as collateral, you will be able to exchange the item for a loan.
The main advantage of a pawn shop loan is that you can obtain the cash quickly regardless of whether you have a job or good credit. Pawn shops do not check your credit. As long as you have an accepted collateral item and identification, you should be able to obtain a fast loan.
A drawback to pawn shop loans is the limited loan amount you can obtain. Even if your collateral asset is worth $1000, you may only be able to borrow $500 depending on the pawn shop’s policies and risk tolerance. In addition, the collateral item will be repossessed by the pawn shop if you don’t pay off the debt within the designated timeframe.
Car title loan
Car title loans are another type of collateral loan. To obtain the loan, you will need to offer your vehicle’s title as collateral to secure the loan. This makes it easier to qualify for loans even if you lack stable income or have poor credit.
If you default on a car title loan or miss too many payments, the lender can take ownership of your car. This makes a car title loan a risky choice unless you are confident that you can repay the loan in full, which includes any interest and fees, by the loan maturity date.
Credit card cash advance
If you are a credit cardholder, you might be able to obtain a quick cash advance at an ATM or local branch. A cash advance allows you to withdraw money against your current credit limit. While this can come with fees and a negative credit impact, the accessible funding makes it a popular choice for those who urgently need funds.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms usually don’t grant you funds instantly. However, peer lenders might be able to grant you loan funds regardless of your employment status. The requirements for a loan are typically more lenient as individual investors (as opposed to financial institutions) can choose to lend you money.
While funding speeds vary, cryptocurrency loans can be a relatively quick way to obtain a loan. If you have cryptocurrency holdings, a crypto loan may be a useful way to make use of your crypto to access fiat currency without selling.
However, beware of potential scams, fraudulent transactions, and fluctuating cryptocurrency values. Using your cryptocurrency holdings as collateral could cause issues if your coin depreciates enough to hurt your loan standing.
The speed of a crypto loan will depend on various factors, including:
- Collateralization process of your crypto holdings
- Approval and funding process
- Blockchain confirmation time
- Loan amount
Pros and cons of instant loan apps
Fast funding: Instant loan apps grant you fast access to money. If you’re in a hurry to receive cash, an instant loan app could be the easiest way to obtain fast funds. Many loan apps offer same-day funding if you expedite the process by paying a fee.
Apps are convenient: Many borrowers appreciate the ability to borrow money on the fly using their mobile phones. This convenience can be especially valuable for those who don’t have a job.
Flexible eligibility criteria: Instant loans generally have less stringent eligibility requirements. Even if you don’t have proof of income due to unemployment, you could still be able to obtain a loan.
Potential credit score improvement: Many loans offer the chance for borrowers to improve their credit score. Credit-building loans can also help with establishing credit for those without any accounts on their credit report.
Low doc requirements: Instant loans generally require much less information than a typical bank loan. If you cannot provide standard proof of income or have an unusual type of job, the no-doc or low-doc aspect of an instant loan could be invaluable in helping you secure loan funds.
High interest rates: Instant loans are notorious for their sky-high interest rates. There is an extreme risk of accruing significant interest, making it difficult to successfully repay all of the debt on time. If you are currently unemployed, make sure you carefully consider your repayment capacity and the loan’s total borrowing cost before making a borrowing decision.
Overdraft fees: When the loan becomes payable, lenders may have permission to directly withdraw the money from your bank account. If you don’t have the necessary repayment funds, the withdrawal can result in significant overdraft fees.
Short repayment periods: Other than high interest rates, instant loans have short loan tenure. This limits how much time you have to gather the funds necessary for repayment. When obtaining a loan, check the loan maturity date and total repayment amount to see whether you can reasonably afford the loan.
Risk of scams and predatory lenders: The world of instant loans is rife with risk. Regardless of the type of instant loan, it’s easy to encounter lenders and scammers who try to trap borrowers in unfavorable financial situations.
Limited loan amounts: Compared to traditional financing methods, an instant loan typically grants you less funding. Instant loan apps usually only lend borrowers a few hundred dollars maximum depending on what requirements are met. This could result in the need to obtain multiple loans, making it even easier to accumulate debt.
Overreliance on loans: It is easy to fall into an overdependency on instant loans. This can result in paying excessive fees, credit damage, and other negative consequences. These concerns can follow you well into the future.
Potential credit damage: With certain exceptions like a pawn shop loan, instant loans can cause severe credit damage if you fail to pay back the loan (plus interest and fees). The risk of an instant loan is often exacerbated by the borrower’s turbulent financial status, debt, or unemployment.
Expert advice on choosing loan apps
Thorough research can help you make informed decisions when choosing a loan app. It’s important to perform careful research, which includes reading reviews from confirmed customers online and comparing the expected interest rates for your type of loan.
Security features of loan apps aim to protect your data and sensitive information. It’s important to find an app that implements up-to-date security measures to safeguard your account. Here are some key points to keep in mind to protect yourself from fraudulent loan apps:
- Apps should have an SSL ((Secure Socket Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security) encryption certificate
- The instant loan app should be downloaded from a trustworthy source (e.g. official app store)
- The app description or website should talk about how user data privacy is ensured
Transparency in terms and conditions
Lenders and applications that obfuscate key terms and conditions should be avoided. If you are confused by any part of the loan terms or the app’s usage, reach out to a representative to receive clarification. A suspicious lender might refuse to answer or rush you to obtain the loan quickly.
User reviews and ratings
User reviews can help you get a clearer idea of how well the loan provider treats their customers and whether the application for the instant loan is secure. Make sure that the user reviews originate from a legitimate site.
Legitimate review sites include Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot.
Recommendations from financial experts
Contacting a financial expert or credit counselor could be a good idea. Expert consultations allow you to receive individualized guidance, which can be beneficial if you’re facing financial challenges.
Consider funding speeds
Different lenders have their own loan processing and funding speeds. Before applying for an instant or other type of loan, consider how quickly you can realistically obtain the funds you need. This can be an important determinant of which lender you go with.
Top apps offering instant loans without a job
Chime is a financial technology company that offers an online banking app. Their service lets you overdraft without paying an extra fee or monthly maintenance fees.
The downside to Chime is that the account options are fairly limited. If you have more complex financial needs, circumstances, or goals, Chime might lack the flexibility and features you require.
MoneyLion offers cash advances as well as a credit builder program. If you have poor credit or struggle to obtain loans from traditional lenders, MoneyLion can be a valuable option.
A downside to MoneyLion’s services is that some customers report limited Instacash amounts, which makes it difficult for them to obtain enough funds for their needs.
Albert Instant lets you cash advance up to $250 from your next paycheck if you meet their eligibility requirements. However, it is similar to a payday loan, since it is an extremely short-term loan. You will be expected to pay back the loan using your next paycheck, which could be impossible if you are currently unemployed.
Possible Finance is known for having low fees and flexible loan repayment options. Even with borrowers who have poor credit or no established credit, Possible Finance aims to make borrowing possible.
However, Possible Finance typically offers high interest rates. This increases your cost of borrowing, which can be a huge risk if you are unemployed and have low cash flow.
Future trends in instant loans
As new fintech emerges, the loan industry has changed considerably over time. The payday loans service market is expected to grow in the next decade despite more borrowers becoming wary of the high risks of payday loans.
The good news is that more consumer protection regulations may be put into place over this time. Digital lending should see easier access, faster funding, and various quality-of-life upgrades to improve loan management. However, many states have cracked down on payday loans by banning them entirely, which could restrict borrower access to instant loans.
Resources and references
Here are some popular online lenders that could be helpful when you need quick cash. Remember to carefully consider your options.
- Best Egg
Personal Loans Company Reviews
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