Title loans are a type of loan where you use your vehicle as collateral. This can be risky, as the lender can take your vehicle away if you don’t repay the loan on time. Before getting a title loan, it’s essential to understand the potential risks and drawbacks.
What are they?
Car title loans, or “pink slip loans,” are short-term loans that use your car as collateral. You can borrow 25-50% of your car’s value, and you will need to give the lender the title to your car. These loans typically start at $100 and have 15-30 days repayment periods.
Fast cash loans for those with bad credit are becoming increasingly popular. These loans offer a simple application process and can often be approved within 24 hours. This type of loan is perfect for those who need quick access to funds but may not have the best credit history.
Different states have different laws when it comes to car title loans. Some states limit how much interest lenders can charge, while others have no restrictions. And in some states, lenders are prohibited from offering car title loans to consumers. So depending on where you live, getting a car title loan may be more or less complicated.
You need to own your car outright to get a car title loan. Some lenders may provide these loans even if your vehicle is nearly paid off, but this is less common. In states where car title loans are allowed, you will typically need full ownership of the vehicle to qualify for a loan.
How Do They Work?
There are two types of title loans: single-payment and installment. With a single-payment loan, the borrower must pay the total amount of the loan plus the interest fee within a month. The borrower can spread out payments over three or six months with an installment loan.
Although the term “car” may be in the product name, these loans can also be available for motorcycles, boats, and recreational vehicles. This means that you can use this loan for a variety of different methods of transportation, not just cars.
The best way to get a car title loan is to apply online. However, a few things borrowers need to do before they can qualify. First, they’ll need to show their car to the lender. It’s also essential to have a clear title, proof of insurance, and a photo ID when applying for the loan. The lender may also require a set of keys.
This can be helpful in an emergency when you need cash quickly. For example, let’s say your car is worth $5,000, and you are in trouble where you need $1,000. To illustrate how these loans work, assume you own a car worth $5,000 and find yourself in an emergency and need $1,000. A title loan lets you borrow against your vehicle so you can get the $1,000 quickly.
This is a type of loan where you use your vehicle as collateral. This means the lender can take your car away if you don’t repay the loan. To get your vehicle back, you must pay the loan, including any fees the lender charges.
Remember that with most short-term loans, you’ll pay quite a bit in interest and fees. A $1,000 loan with a 25% monthly finance fee translates to an APR of 300%. So even though you may only be borrowing the money for 30 days, you’ll still be paying $250 in interest. And that’s not counting any late payment penalties that might be assessed.
As borrowing costs continue to rise, many lenders are now charging additional fees for things like origination, processing, and document preparation. In addition, many borrowers are also required to purchase roadside service plans for their vehicles.
These added expenses can quickly drive up the cost of borrowing, making it even more difficult for consumers to manage their finances.
Title loans have some downsides
A title loan may seem like an easy solution to your financial problems. Still, it comes with serious risks and costs, says Graciela Aponte-Diaz of the Center for Responsible Lending.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling reports that many people find themselves in a difficult situation when they cannot repay their loans on time. When this happens, the loan is rolled over into another cycle with additional fees, making it even harder to repay. This cycle of debt can be tough to break out of.
Losing your car is a big downside to taking out a title loan. Lenders can take your vehicle and sell it to get their money back without being able to repay what you borrowed. This happens more often than you might think; a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau study revealed that one in five people who take out title loans have their cars seized by lenders.
Some car title lenders install a GPS device on the borrower’s car. This device, nicknamed a “kill switch,” can prevent the car from starting. This practice can make it easier for the lender to collect the debt or seize the car.
Title loans can be a stressful experience because of the risk of losing your primary means of transportation.
Title loan alternatives
There are serious downsides to using title loan companies. McClary recommends finding less costly options through traditional banks and credit unions or using a credit card for short-term cash needs.
Credit unions are increasingly willing to work with customers who don’t have bank accounts or who have lower credit scores. “There are a lot of credit unions willing to work with unbanked customers,” McClary says. This flexibility can be beneficial for those who have faced financial challenges.
Make an application for a personal loan
It can be challenging to qualify for a personal loan with bad credit, but some options may be available. Some online lenders offer loans specifically for people with bad credit.
As a credit union member, you have access to various financial services that can help you in an emergency. You can speak to a banker about your situation, and they may be able to approve you for a loan based on your relationship and good banking history.
Alternatively, you can ask a friend or relative with a steady income and good credit rating to apply with you as a cosigner, which will increase your chances of approval.
Get a payday loan alternative
Payday loans can be expensive, but some alternatives can save you money. Credit unions offer an option called a Payday Alternative Loan (PAL). With a PAL, you can borrow from $200 to $2,000. The repayment period is one to 12 months. To qualify for a PAL, you must be a credit union member.
Bad credit personal loans can be expensive, but payday alternative loans are more affordable. With a capped application fee of $20 and interest rates no higher than 28 percent, these loans are much better than car title loans.
Using a credit card
When it comes to financial emergencies, using a credit card can be a lifesaver. With a cash advance, you can access the funds you need to get through tough times.
Mindful that the cash advance interest rate is often higher than for purchases – up to a variable 30 percent – and that there is no grace period, so interest starts accruing immediately. Also, expect to pay an ATM fee to withdraw funds.
Credit card debt can be a burden, but it’s often better than taking out a car title loan. With a title loan, you’re likely to pay far more interest than with a credit card.
Consider alternative loans before taking out a costly and risky title loan. More affordable options can help you get the cash you need without putting your vehicle at risk; research all your options before making a final decision.
Before signing up for a car title loan, read the fine print carefully. Title lenders must show you loan terms in writing before you agree to them, and federal law requires that they be truthful about the total cost of the loan. This way, you can be sure you’re getting the best deal possible.