February 22, 2013

The differences between payday loans and cash advances

Payday loans and cash advances are very similar at what they accomplish – they provide you with money during times which you need it the most. Even though they both achieve the same goals, there are still some key differences between them. While they are both methods for getting the money that you need, quickly, your personal situation may make one of them a better or more plausible option than the other. By knowing the differences between these two different solutions to your cash flow problems, you will be able to learn what you need about these types of loans and be able to use this information to decide which one is best for you and the situation you currently find yourself in.

The ease of obtaining the loan

Thanks to advances in technology over the past few years, it is much simpler than ever to get a payday loan. Thanks to digital banking, many people obtaining a payday loan are able to do so online, without ever needing to leave their home. Most brick and mortar payday loan centers require you to come in, bring pay stubs and personal checks, and if you qualify they will either offer you cash or transfer the money do your bank account. Most online payday advance websites will deposit the money directly into your checking account electronically and within twenty-four hours. There is minimal paper to fill out if you go in person, and even less information needed online.

For nearly all cash advances, you need to go in person to a retailer or financial institution which provides the service. Depending on the amount of money which you need, you have a number of options. Small amounts, up to $100 or so, are often able to be obtained through locations such as convenience stores and grocery retailers. Larger amounts will generally require you to visit a financial institution or lending center which possess the cash funds to offer such a service. For lending centers or banks which you are not an account holder of, you will often be charged a small fee for their assistance.

Difference in paying the loan back

With payday loans, you have a set time frame for paying the money you borrowed back. In most circumstances, it is within two to four weeks from when you accept the loan. As the name implies, most payday loans are set to be paid back to the lender on the date which you receive your next paycheck. If you find that you are unable to pay back the loan in time, additional interest charges and fees will be added to the amount which you owe. You will not be able to obtain another loan from this lender under your balance is paid in full.

For those obtaining the money they need through a cash advance, the process is entirely different. For most credit cards which offer cash advances, the amount borrowed does not need to be paid off in full at any given time. Instead, most credit card companies are happy if you only pay the interest that is accumulating on your balance each month. As long as you are within the limit of your credit card, and your lender doesn’t have any specific regulations against it, you can often borrow additional cash funds even without paying off prior advances.

One key difference to note here is that defaulting on your cash advance payments may have much bigger implications on your financial future than failing to pay back your payday loans can. Cash advances on your credit card are tied in to your credit score and a default there can cause your financial profile to plummet. Failing to pay back most payday loan agencies can result in civil action, but should not affect your credit report.

Taking a payday loan or a cash advance provides you with short-term money which you can use for any of your personal expenses. As long as you are able to pay them back, both sources are able to give you the money you need to get through the week until your paycheck comes. Depending on your situation and financial needs, one of the options may be more beneficial to you. Be sure to analyze all of the similarities and differences between payday loans and cash advances in order to make the most informed decision possible.

Kevin Craig is a full time finance blogger and an economist. He writes for UK Payday Loans and contributes on various online publications.

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