11 Best Online Payday Loans of 2022

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For those of us living paycheck to paycheck, emergency situations can be extremely stressful. When you don’t have anything saved, a large, unexpected financial crisis often feels insurmountable. The same can be said for those who need a loan but have bad credit. Poor credit scores can leave you in a financial bind when an emergency hits. Luckily there are solutions to these problems.

Payday loans are loans funded rapidly, providing you with immediate access to cash. They don’t require a credit check, and the funds are often available the same day, making them a quick and easy solution to financial emergencies.

Payday loans are meant to be paid back in a short time frame. They function as a kind of advance on your paycheck. This is why payday loans are risky. They come with hefty fees and high-interest rates, and if they roll over, they can quickly become their own financial burden. SimpleMoneyLyfe does not recommend or support the activities of Payday Lenders. 

We want to help you use payday loans – or rather traditional personal loans – in the most effective manner possible. That’s why we’ve compiled an alternative list of the best payday loans on the market. Let’s examine the best options available to you. These are safe alternatives that offer consumers competitive rates, fairness, and the ability to get the financial help they need. 

Best Online Payday Loans: Alternatives & Safe Options for Consumers 

The following is a list of lenders that are useful and safe to use. While they don’t offer/advertise “online payday loans,” they do offer personal loans with favorable terms, varying interest rates, and different qualification requirements.

Use this information to weigh the pros and cons of each option and choose the best loan provider for your financial situation.

  • RECOMMENDED
  • LOAN AMOUNT
  • MIN. CREDIT SCORE

Legit and Safe Online Payday Lenders

Best for Comparing Online Payday Loans
Best Online Payday Loans
APPLY NOW
On Personalloans's Secure Website
Personalloans.com
  • Est. APR
    5.99% - 35.99%
  • Min. Credit Score
    560
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

Personalloans.com is a leading financial network that provides users access to personal loans. It has variable APRs and loan amounts because they work by connecting you to lenders rather than lending to you directly. Personalloans.com’s APR rates range from 5.99% to 35.99% and can be repaid in 3 to 72 months.

What sets Personalloans.com apart from the prior entries on this list is its much higher loan ceiling. Applicants can potentially borrow $35,000 if need be. This makes Personalloans.com a great choice for those who need help with a rather catastrophic financial situation.

>> More: Personalloans.com Review

Best for Bad Credit Online Payday Loans
Bad Credit Payday Loans
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On CashUSA's Secure Website
CashUSA
  • Est. APR
    5.99% - 35.99%
  • Min. Credit Score
    560
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

CashUSA is one of the most well-established lending networks in America. They function by connecting applicants to lenders throughout the country.

The lenders then make loan offers that the applicant can accept or refuse. This means applicants of a wide variety of financial backgrounds can access loans through CashUSA. CashUSA offers loans ranging from $500 to $10,000, with loan terms range from 90 days to 72 months.

While interest rates can be quite high, CashUSA is upfront about this. Their website even features tools that allow applicants to see how loans will impact them in the long term. Moreover, CashUSA uses industry-standard encryption to keep your information and data safe.

>> More: CashUSA Review

Best for Comparing Bad Credit Online Payday Loans
Safe Online Payday Loans
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On Badcreditloans's Secure Website
Badcreditloans.com
  • Est. APR
    5.99% - 35.99%
  • Min. Credit Score
    560
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

Badcreditloans.com is similar to CashUSA in several ways. Like CashUSA, Badcreditloans.com isn’t a direct lender. Instead, they are a network that operates by connecting you to reputable lenders. The benefit of this setup is that Badcreditloans.com does the preliminary examination for you. They are focused on connecting applicants to reputable and fair lenders, meaning you are less likely to run into issues down the line compared to trying to find a lender on your own.

Badcreditloans.com provides loans for $500 to $10,000 with terms ranging from 3 to 60 months. APRs are variable depending on the lender you connect with and your financial background.

>> More: Badcreditloans.com Review

Best for Online Payday Loans
Legit Online Payday Lenders
APPLY NOW
On MoneyMutual's Secure Website
MoneyMutual Payday Loans
  • Est. APR
    Varies
  • Min. Credit Score
    None
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

MoneyMutual is one of the most reputable and trusted lending networks on the market. Like the other entries on this list, MoneyMutual doesn’t offer loans to you directly. They work with an extensive network of lenders to provide applicants with loans of up to $5,000.

MoneyMutual is different than the entries on this list in that the variability is incredibly high. The scope of their lending network means that applicants can receive wildly different loan offers depending on who they are connected with.

While this can be great in some instances, it can also be detrimental to your financial well-being if you wind up with a high APR.

>> More: MoneyMutual Review

Best for Payday Debt Consolidation Loans
Payday Debt Consolidation Loans
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On Payoff's Secure Website
Payoff
  • Est. APR
    5.99% - 24.99%
  • Min. Credit Score
    640
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

Payoff Personal Loans is the first company on this list that only offers loans for a specific purpose. Unlike the entries above, Payoff’s loans are solely for debt consolidation purposes.

The company functions by buying your debt from various debtors. Once they’ve done this, they refinance your debt, and you begin paying them.

This means Payoff might not be a fit for all financial emergencies. However, a Payoff loan can help ease the burden of a financial crisis by reducing the amount you pay monthly on existing debt.

One major downside to using Payoff is that they can charge origination fees as high as 5%. In a time of financial crisis, this might not be viable.

>> More: Payoff Personal Loans Review

Best for Bad Credit Payday Loans
Online Payday Loans Bad Credit
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On Avant's Secure Website
Avant
  • Est. APR
    9.95% - 35.99%
  • Min. Credit Score
    580
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

Avant is another debt consolidation, loan provider. Like Payoff, Avant only offers loans for the purpose of debt consolidation, meaning you can’t directly use the money for a financial emergency. Debt consolidation can be useful in a financial crisis as it can free up money to go towards something else.

You may also choose to use a credit card for a financial emergency, in which case you can then use Avant to lower your interest rate by consolidating. Avant offers loans ranging from $2,000 to $35,000, which can be paid back in 2 to 5 years.

There is a potential origination fee, though Avant states that loans are often offered without a fee.

>> More: Avant Personal Loans Review

Best for Flexible Payday Loans
Online Payday Loans
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On Upstart's Secure Website
Upstart
  • Est. APR
    5.38% - 35.99%
  • Min. Credit Score
    None
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

Upstart is a company that offers personal loans to those with little credit history or bad credit. Upstart works by foregoing the traditional credit report. Rather, they run their own analysis of applicants, factoring in things like education and earning potential.

This allows applicants to qualify for loans they might not get if forced to use their credit score to apply. Upstart provides funding in as little as 24 hours. Your funds can be used for anything, making Upstart a fantastic choice for those facing a financial crisis.

>> More: Upstart Personal Loans Review

Best for Flexible Payday Loans
Flexible Online Payday Loans
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On OneMain Financial's Secure Website
OneMain Financial
  • Est. APR
    18% - 35.99%
  • Min. Credit Score
    660
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

Like Upstart, OneMain Financial offers personal loans to those who might not qualify via traditional methods. OneMain foregoes a credit check in favor of its own evaluation. Doing this means that applicants can qualify for loans through OneMain Financial that they would otherwise not.

There are certain qualifications you’ll need to meet to receive a loan offer. A big factor is the ability to repay a loan. This means that OneMain might still exclude those who have low incomes.

For those who do qualify, OneMain Financial offers loans of $1,500 to $20,000 that can be repaid over 2 to 5 years. APRs at OneMain Financial are quite high. Borrowers can expect to pay anywhere from 18% to 35.99%. Rate like that can make borrowing from OneMain quite costly in the long term. Additionally, OneMain Financial charges origination fees as high as 10% in some cases. All of this makes OneMain one of the costliest options on this list.

>> More: OneMain Financial Personal Loans Review

Best for Long-term Loans
Long-Term Payday Loans
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On Upgrade's Secure Website
Upgrade
  • Est. APR
    5.94% - 35.97%
  • Min. Credit Score
    560
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

Upgrade Personal Loans offer loans using a non-traditional evaluation. Upgrade does this in a unique and helpful manner.

Upgrade’s primary focus is on the amount of free cash an applicant has. They aim to provide applicants with loans they can safely afford.

By considering how much money you actually have at the end of the month and offering loans based on that, Upgrade ensures your loan will be within your financial reach. This keeps you from running into issues with repayment down the road.

Upgrade also offers joint or co-signed loans, a feature not common in the personal loan space. Upgrade provides loans ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 that can be repaid over 3 to 5 years. APRs range from 5.44% to 35.47%. Upgrade also charges origination fees falling between 2.9% to 8%.

>> More: Upgrade Personal Loans Review

Best for Short-Term Loans
Short Term Payday Loans
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On Rocket Loans's Secure Website
Rocket Loans
  • Est. APR
    5.97% - 29.69%
  • Min. Credit Score
    580
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

Rocket Loans is a personal loan provider that emphasizes speed and affordability. With APRs as low as 5.97%, Rocket Loans can be a great choice for those who need an advance on their pay but don’t want to be hit with heavy fines.

Rocket loans is also incredibly fast, with payments arriving in as little as 1 business day. They require a minimum credit score of 640. While not very high, this still might disqualify applicants with very poor credit from qualifying. Additionally, Rocket Loans doesn’t let borrowers choose their payment date, meaning you may run into issues when balancing monthly financial obligations. Lastly, you can expect an origination fee of 1% to 10% when you borrow from Rocket Loans.

>> More: Rocket Loans Review

Best for Online Loans
Best Online Payday Lenders
APPLY NOW
On SoFI's Secure Website
SoFi Loans
  • Est. APR
    4.99% – 19.63%
  • Min. Credit Score
    680
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

SoFi is a traditional personal loan provider. SoFi screens applicants using credit scores along with a few other variables to determine eligibility. SoFi offers loans from $5,000 to $100,000 with APRs ranging from 5.99% to 19.63%. These rates are quite low for personal loans.

There are no origination fees for Sofi borrowers, and the flexibility in repayment plans makes it easy to customize your payments to suit your financial situation.

SoFi even offers joint and co-signing loans. This helps applicants who may not qualify on their own access the low APRs on offer with SoFi. Applicants do need to be in decent standing when it comes to credit. This may disqualify those who have poor credit and can’t find a co-signer.

>> More: SoFi Personal Loans Review

How to Choose a Safe Online Payday Loan

Not all payday lenders are safe. Plenty of payday loans are predatory and will do more harm than good in the long run.

Here’s what you need to consider before committing to a loan.

#1. Compare Interest Rates and Lenders

The first thing you should do when looking for a payday loan is to compare lenders.

Interest rates are wildly variable between lenders, meaning a quick comparison can save you significant money in the long term.

Many lenders can provide estimated APRs without doing a hard inquiry. Using this to understand your various options is a good idea. No one wants to wonder if they could have gotten a better deal.

>> More: Best Personal Loan Lenders

#2. Know the Fees

APRs aren’t the only thing to consider when eyeing payday loans.

In addition to the interest rates, many providers charge origination fees. Knowing what these are and comparing your options is a critical piece of minimizing the cost of a payday loan.

#3. Funding Times

If you’re looking for a payday loan, there’s a good chance you’re in a bit of a time crunch.

With the interval between accepting a loan and receiving the funds varying significantly between providers, it’s crucial to know how long you’ll have to wait. If your only reason for taking out a loan is to pay a fine before it increases and you don’t receive the funds in time, it can be a costly mistake.

>> More: Best Quick Loans

#4. Transparency and Honesty

Payday lenders can be very deceptive. You don’t want to get involved with anyone who is trying to trick you out of your money.

When considering your options, look for honesty and open communication. Payday loan providers should be up-front about any fees and make it easy to understand how the loan will affect your financial well-being moving forward.

If a provider doesn’t share this information, take it as a red flag.

Are There Real Online Payday Loans Available?

While there are real online payday loans available, we highly recommend sticking to the providers on this list. Our list only features personal loan providers, but this is for a very good reason. The lenders recommended all offer short-term loans with favorable terms and are known for transparency.

Real payday loans are often extremely predatory. Providers tend to know you’re in a desperate situation, and as such, they capitalize on it.

This means payday loans often hurt far more than they help. Additionally, the internet is rife with payday loan scams. They can be hard to distinguish, and if you fall for one, a scam can be seriously detrimental.

Our list of payday lenders includes only legit and safe providers.

Are Payday Loans Legal?

Payday loans are legal in many states. The legal status of payday loans varies from state to state. Most states consider payday loans to be predatory and have made them illegal – rightfully so.

Even among states where they are legal, the specific parameters vary.

Do I Need a Bank Account to Get an Online Payday Loan?

Yes, payday loans almost always require a bank account.

It is extremely uncommon for a legit lender to offer a payday loan in cash. Payments are typically made to a bank account. Which is why payday lenders and payday loans (direct deposit loans) require most applicants to have a verified bank account.

Without a bank account, your lender won’t have a way to deposit your funds.

What Are the Disadvantages of Online Payday Loans?

  • Sky-High Rates: Payday loans tend to be short-term and born of desperate situations. Knowing this, lenders set rates very high compared to other loans.
  • Mind-Boggling Fees: Again, lenders tend to include rates that you wouldn’t otherwise pay, playing off of the desperation. This can make your loan incredibly expensive.
  • Lack of Transparency: Payday lenders are often vague about the loan terms. This can wind up costing you far more than you anticipated when it comes time to pay the loan back.
  • State and Federal Regulation: As stated above, payday loans aren’t universally legal. This means not everyone has access to the same options in this arena.

Alternatives to Payday Loans: What Options Are Available?

  • Personal Loans: Personal loans are loans that you can use for whatever you’d like. When personal loan providers payout quickly, these can be a great alternative to payday loans.
  • Bad Credit Personal Loans: Besides standard personal loans, many providers offer personal loans to people with bad credit. This is typically done by underwriting your credit score with other metrics. Be aware that these loans usually come with more fees and higher APRs. (See our roundup of the Best Bad Credit Loans).
  • Credit Cards: Credit cards can be a great fallback when you don’t have the money you need in a financial emergency. The interest rates tend to be high, especially on cards you can qualify for with bad credit.
  • Borrowing Money: Borrowing money from someone you know is one of the best options you have, as they may let you pay back the exact amount you borrow.
  • Credit Union Loans: Credit unions tend to offer cheaper loans than payday lenders. You’ll typically have to join a credit union before you can qualify. This might take longer than is feasible in a financial crisis.
  • Pawn Shop Loans: Pawnshop loans are loans you take from a pawn shop. You provide the shop with a valuable item that serves as collateral for the loan. This can be a great option for those who don’t want to run a credit check to qualify for a loan. These loans tend to be expensive.
  • Cash Advance: A cash advance is taken out against your credit line. This can be an option for those who already have a credit card, but these tend to come with high rates and fees like most of your options.

Are Payday Loans Safe?

Traditional payday loans are unsafe and not a smart financial decision. They can come with tons of hidden fees and high rates that make them a seriously risky ordeal.

We highly recommend using the providers on our list or going with an alternative to protect yourself.

How Are Payday Loans Regulated?

Payday loans are regulated differently depending on which state you’re in. Some states have declared them illegal altogether.

However, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and State Governments serve as the regulating bodies over Payday Lenders.

Summary: Online Payday Lenders (Alternatives)

Bottom Line: Best Online Payday Loans

While no one wants to wind up in a pressing financial emergency, sometimes it happens. In those scenarios, payday loans may be your best option. All in all, payday loans are generally quite risky. If you consider taking a payday loan, make sure you do your research and select an honest and fair provider.

The 11 providers on our list are safe and secure. We highly recommend comparing them and selecting the one that best suits your financial situation to ensure you don’t wind up worse off than before the loan.

Methodology

SimpleMoneyLyfe currently does not recommend or partner with online payday lenders. To select the best online payday lender alternatives, we reviewed credit score requirements, origination fees, online experience, industry reputation, income requirements, funding times, and security. Read our editorial guidelines and personal loan rating methodology to learn more about our review process.

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Bradon Matthews
Bradon Matthews

Bradon Mathews is a personal finance writer & product analyst with a breadth of experience. He enjoys analyzing market information and trends to help you make sense of the complex and ever-changing world of finance. His passion is providing practical advice so you can feel more confident managing your money. Bradon attended Colorado State University where he studied Philosophy.