You’re in need of a loan and you’ve got equity available from some of your assets, including your vehicle. You’ve heard of car title loans, and that they can often be completed in just a few business days (or even a single day). That means you can have cash in your bank account within a few hours or days. Compare that to a personal loan company who wants to verify dozens of documents and may take weeks to complete your underwriting. You make your way online and see there are many ways to apply for an online title loan. There are the instant-apply options guaranteeing cash in minutes or hours, and the more traditional personal loan lenders with a guaranteed safe and easy application process. Which should you use?
Before you even begin to narrow down the options, you may already be wondering if it is even a wise idea to apply for online title loans. After all, there is that endless array of news stories that discuss this breach of security at one credit or lending service and another breach at a major retailer, and it can start to make it seem foolhardy to apply for anything online, let alone to apply for a car title loan online.
The long and short of it is this: Just as you would apply for any variety of financial service online (a credit card, personal loan, and even a mortgage), it is entirely safe if you work with a legitimate company that licensed to offer online title loans in your state. View the latest state by state updates on recent regulatory changes before you move forward with an offer. That takes us to the next step in answering the question posed above; whether it’s safe to apply for any type of short term loan online. That step is to determine just what it means to describe a car title lender as legitimate.
There are few ways you can protect yourself. Here are some tips on ways to make sure you’re working with a legitimate company:
- They ask for a payment in advance of granting the loan – This is a big red flag and a clear indicator that you’ll want to work with a different lender.
- They do not appear anywhere in your state’s required agencies – Contact your state’s Attorney General or a financial registration agency (sometimes called a banking oversight agency). If that lender is not registered with ANY state agencies, they are not legitimate and working, technically, outside of the law.
- They don’t provide a loan contract for you to review – If the lender is of the “sign it now,” variety and does not allow you any time to review a loan contract (or take it for review by a lawyer), it is best to steer away from them. They may be legit, but the use of high-pressure methods that force you into signing immediately are often signs of trouble.
- Be aware of copycats – Does a lender’s website share a distinct resemblance to that of a familiar financial entity? It is not unusual for scammers to take names and build websites that seem legitimate. In cases like this they’ve branded themselves as the direct company by copying the site and legal contracts
- Be aware of the “sales pitch” – A professional website full of informational articles, blogs, and other features can make even the most dubious lender look good. Don’t judge a book from its cover, and take the time to perform a bit of due diligence before you apply for a car title loan online.
- They use a PO Box – This, initially, seems irrelevant, but if there is no street address listed for a lending company, it can be a warning sign of larger potential problems.
- Online Review Services have nothing or bad things to say- The Federal Trade Commission is a free and easy resource in your search to find a reliable company that offers online title loans. If the company has negative issues assigned to it, or there is no information, avoid the lender
In addition to these issues, it is a good idea to call any phone numbers provided to test out their customer service and the legitimacy of the company. Look for an email address with a corporate connection. For example, if the email an address that might be a traditional email, think Hotmail or Gmail, it is one to avoid. You can also go to consumer affairs sites like BBB and Ripoffreport to see what they have to say about the firm.
Look up your title loan company’s complaint history online
You can safely apply for a car title loan online if you ensure it is not with a scammer. Trust your instincts, but also use the different tactics above. That old adage still applies – if it looks too good to be true, it most likely is. It’s be easy to fall for a slick website and well-written pitch. Ignore the gloss and do the investigating. You never want a scammer to obtain information like a social security number, Vehicle Identification Number or various financial information.
Once you know what a reputable title loan company looks like you’ll then want to see who makes the best offers (rates, turnaround times, and so on) Check our directory of instant lenders online to find an offer in your state. That way you can make best of your situation to take out an online title loan using the equity in your vehicle. We know there are much safer and cheaper options out there. You can turn to a large bank or nationally known installment lender. But many of these firms won’t take your car as collateral and they certainly won’t work with someone who has bad credit!