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Are Short-Term Money Loans a Good Idea?

Everybody sooner or later faces a financial emergency. Whether it be due to a car accident, healthcare expenses, unemployment or something entirely different, most people are not equipped to handle a sudden and unexpected period of financial hardship. In fact, around half of households do not have a few hundred dollars available in the event of such an emergency.

This is why short-term money loans are quite popular with millions of people. Mostly designed as a means for people to bridge gaps in income for a few weeks, short-term loans can assist families in their most difficult times.

With that being said, many wonder whether these short-term loans are right for them. As with any loan, it is always important to consider your own personal circumstances and the terms of the loan being offered before making a decision. However, let’s take a look at whether these loans are a good idea for you or anyone who is struggling to make ends meet.

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How Short-Term Money Loans Work

Before you agree to any terms of a loan, it is vital to understand how the process of short-term loans work.

One major difference between these loans and more traditional ones is the length of time given to repay the loan. Depending on the exact amount borrowed, a short-term loan can have a repayment period of anywhere from two weeks to a year. Most, however, involve terms of three months or less.

For most short-term loans, the amount borrowed is more manageable than that of traditional loans used to purchase homes and vehicles. In most situations, short-term loans can range from as little as $100 to several thousand dollars, depending on your exact needs and income.

In most situations, lenders will insist on verifying specific criteria (more on that below). However, most people will have no trouble finding a lender if they have one or more forms of identification and proof of income.

Depending on this and other factors, the specifics of a short-term loan may be more or less favorable. Interest rates can vary considerably from lender to lender, but most are entirely manageable given the short repayment periods involved.

Who Can Be Approved for a Loan?

Before determining whether a short-term loan is the right course of action, you must first figure out whether you’re eligible for one in the first place. The good news is that most people are. You’ll only need a few pieces of information to successfully obtain a loan in most situations:

  • Proof of income. First and foremost, proof of income is required for practically any short-term loan. This is no different than when obtaining a traditional loan, so the process shouldn’t feel unfamiliar or excessive. Most lenders will want to see proof of employment or income for a period of time comparable to or exceeding that of the loan itself, so six weeks’ worth of income or employment proof will likely be required for a six-week loan. Examples of proof of income include pay-stubs, as well as other forms of income such as Social Security, unemployment or welfare benefits.
  • Bank account statements. Most lenders insist on depositing money loans directly into a bank account. As such, providing proof of your bank account via bank statements is often required. This also helps corroborate proof of income and/or employment, as most sources of income are deposited directly into bank accounts these days. Generally, it is recommended that you bring two to three months of bank statements when applying for a short-term loan.
  • Credit reports and scores. While not always required, some short-term lenders will want to inspect your credit reports and scores before lending you any money. Even in situations where it may not be required, those who do have decent credit scores and reports can provide this documentation as yet another example that they are a worthy borrower. For those whose scores are not great, then providing this information could be counter-intuitive if the lender doesn’t explicitly require it. Nevertheless, having it ready and available is a good idea.
  • Identification. Lenders can’t just accept at face value that you are who you say you are. As such, you’ll need to provide one or more forms of government identification to verify yourself. Generally speaking, government identification is required. Some common examples include driver’s licenses, Social Security cards, US passports, military IDs, tribal IDs or college IDs. Many lenders will insist upon at least one of many forms of photo ID, so be prepared. Depending on where and how you apply for a loan, you may need to present these documents in-person or transmit them digitally.

What Kinds of Short-Term Money Loans Are Available?

You could be forgiven if you assumed that all short-term loans follow an identical business model or process. In actuality, there are multiple types of short-term loans available to borrowers depending on the amount needed, their overall financial situation, and other critical factors. Some are based on your actual weekly or monthly earnings, while others are based on the value of assets you can afford to offer as collateral.

There are four main types of short-term loans that cover practically any situation imaginable:

Payday loans are the most common form of short-term loans and usually what many think of when discussing this broader subject. Payday loans are generally the easiest type of loan to procure. They rely almost exclusively on proof of income to secure approval. This means that if you have a stable job and proof of income, your chances of being approved are very, very high.

Secured bad credit loans are another option available for those seeking short-term financial assistance. In theory, these loans may be procured by anybody – regardless of employment status – as long as they can provide collateral to cover the amount of the loan. When traditional lenders are not willing to lend based on bad credit, these secured loans are a viable alternative. Generally speaking, these loans can be both short-term or long-term, and provide borrowers with lower interest rates. However, lenders may evaluate additional criteria based on your current situation and decide not to offer you a secured loan even if you have collateral.

Installment loans are similar in nature to payday loans. In a variety of cases, payday loans and installment loans are offered by the same lenders. So, what’s the difference? Installment loans tend to have more competitive interest rates, longer terms and cover larger amounts than payday loans. In many situations, installment loans are offered to borrowers with a history of using payday loans responsibly. They can also be a bridge of sorts between smaller payday loans and secured loans that require collateral.

Microloans are another oft-overlooked example of short-term lending available to borrowers. Microloans are generally offered only through online mediums and often require specific defined purposes for their use in order to be approved. Platforms such as Kiva, LiftFund and even the Small Business Administration offer microloans for predefined purposes. However, the use of these short-term loans is limited: most are restricted to small business use. If you are looking for short-term funding for a specific business opportunity, though, then microloans are another option to consider.

How Much Can I Borrow?

Knowing what options are available with short-term loans is crucial when bridging the gap between your current financial emergency and the future. There is a wide variety of borrowing options available as previously mentioned, but how much can be borrowed is a big concern for many people.

To a certain degree, it depends on which loan option you use. Many payday loans offer flexible terms based on a combination of your income and the desired length of the loan. Amounts from $100 to $2,000 are the most common extremes offered by lenders. For installment loans, amounts of several thousand dollars are common (with income affecting maximum borrowing amount as well). Secured loans can vary considerably, again affected by your personal income and how much collateral you are able to offer at the onset.

Generally speaking, short-term lenders are not willing to provide borrowers with a loan exceeding one-third of their total income over the duration of the loan. Not only is this a smart tactic on the part of the lender, but a good reminder for borrowers not to attempt to borrow more than they can realistically pay back in a short amount of time.

Why Use Us?
How much do you offer?
$100 - $5,000
No charges
Approval Chance?
High approvals!
Is poor / bad credit accepted?
All can apply
How do I get a loan?
Apply Online
2 min Application
Do I pay it all back at once?
Easy repayments

The Verdict

For those who need a bit of help making ends meet due to unexpected expenses, short-term loans can be a life-raft. Whether illness, injury, accident or surprise is the fault of your money problems, these short-term solutions can be vital in maintaining your day-to-day expenses until better days arrive.

If you are fiscally responsible, then using short-term loans to cover irregular or unexpected costs is a simple and generally risk-free solution. Especially for those who cannot secure loans from traditional lenders, these lifelines make it possible to pay bills and cover costs you wouldn’t otherwise be able to pay.

As such, if you have the means and the intent to pay back these short-term loans, then they can most definitely be considered a good idea when tough times arise.