Payday loans are to installment loans as apples are to oranges. The only similarity between these two types of loans is that they are both a specific amount of money that you must pay back by a certain time. Other than that, payday loans and installment loans are vastly different. To help you determine which one is right for you, we have detailed the differences between them and the pros and cons of each.
The Differences Between Payday Loans and Installment Loans
There are several factors to consider when deciding whether to get a payday loan or an installment loan. They are:
- Your desired loan amount
- The time you need to pay back the loan
- Your credit history
- Your income and debt-to-income ratio
- Any loan fees and interest rates
Loan Amount and Duration
The biggest differences between payday loans and installment loans are the loan amount, the loan term, and their effective interest rate.
A payday loan is a short-term loan. This means it is usually a smaller amount of money than an installment loan. There are state laws that set the limits on payday loans. $500 is the limit in most states, but some states allow payday loans up to $1000. Make sure you check out the legislature in your state on GreenStarCash if you are considering a payday loan.
Some states also regulate the loan term for payday loans. A loan term is the amount of time between loan disbursement and due date. For payday loans, it’s typically between two weeks and a month. The full loan amount will be due on the due date with the possibility of extension for an additional fee.
On the other hand, installment loans are long-term loans. They include car loans and mortgages. Installment loan terms can be anywhere from a few months to 30 years depending on the loan amount.
With an installment loan, you can usually borrow more money than you can with a payday loan. This is one of the biggest advantages of installment loans.
For installment loans, underwriters almost always run a hard credit check. This inquiry will appear on your credit report for two years and may negatively affect your credit score.
With a payday loan, while most underwriters perform a credit check, it’s usually a soft credit check. This means it will not appear on your basic credit report. The only time a payday loan will influence your credit score is if you don’t pay it by the deadline and it goes to collections.
The downside of this is that a payday loan doesn’t help build a credit history. To build a credit history, you will need an installment loan. The installment loan will appear on your credit report and affect your credit score. Having the loan can help boost your credit as long as you make payments on time.
When deciding whether or not to approve a loan, most lenders require the following:
- Credit check (hard or soft)
- Proof of ability to repay the loan (pay stub, tax return, etc.)
- Identification (driver’s license, passport, etc.)
- Bank account information to deposit the loan
The difference between the payday and installment loan requirements is which one is the most important to underwriters. For payday loans, the most important factor is the ability to pay back the loan.
If you have a less-than-perfect credit score, you are more likely to be able to secure a payday loan than an installment loan. Installment loan lenders consider your credit score and debt-to-income ratio as prominent factors in loan approval.
Loan Fees and Interest
Many installment loans do not have any fees to apply for or receive a loan. This is another big advantage of installment loans.
The drawback is that you will pay interest on the loan each month that it is not paid off which could be years. Depending on the interest rate, loan amount, and loan term, you may end up paying back a lot more than you would with a payday loan.
Payday loans do not have interest rates because you pay back the entire loan amount in one payment within a month or less. However, payday loans do have fees that you pay based on how much money you are borrowing; however, it’s important to know that those fees can typically result in equivalent interest charges of 300% or more — so you need to be very careful before choosing this type of loan. Some states have laws around how much payday loan lenders can charge in fees.
Which Loan Should I Choose?
Both installment loans and payday loans have their advantages and disadvantages.
Consider an installment loan if you:
- Need to borrow more than $1000
- Want to build your credit history
- Want to boost your credit score
- Live in a state that doesn’t allow payday loans
Consider a payday loan only if you:
- Need fast cash
- Need to borrow a small amount of money
- Don’t have a great credit score
- Were denied an installment loan and have no other available options
No matter which route you choose, always be sure that the loan type you ultimately choose meets your financial needs.
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