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PAYDAY LOANS OR CASH ADVANCE: HOW TO SPOT A SCAM

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PAYDAY LOANS OR CASH ADVANCE: HOW TO SPOT A SCAM

Payday Loan Needed

Sometimes life happens. Between dental bills, veterinary bills, car repairs and other assorted emergencies, in order to get out of a financial pickle, a quick cash advance or a payday loan might be the answer. But there are so many scams out there. And some cash lenders and payday loan companies prey on people at their most vulnerable. So how can you spot the good from the bad and the ugly? Here is a list of some of the things to watch for before choosing the right lender for your situation.

Look for Licensed Lenders

Creating a website is childs play these days. So companies will literally “pop-up” online with a new website and announce that they are offering online cash advances or loans. But they might not be licensed to legally do so! In Canada, a lender that offers loans of $1,500 or less for a period of 62 days or less, is required, as per the Payday Loan Act, to acquire a license. Therefore, the first important step to weed out the scammers is to look for the license! A licensed lender will display his license directly on the website for you to consult. And each province requires an individual license. Don’t be shy to specifically ask your lender to provide you with their license number for you to double check!

Look for Direct Lenders too

Many of the online cash advance or payday loan websites are not actually lenders at all! They advertise as such, of course, but their goal is simply to collect your information and send it along to a third-party lender. Before you start filling out the online application form, make sure that you are dealing with a DIRECT lender, meaning that the website that you are currently on is the same company as the company that will lend you the money. This way, you limit the amount of different companies that have access to your personal and confidential information, thereby limiting risk. And be especially cautious of companies that call themselves “affiliates” as they will often send out your personal information to many different companies in order to “shop” your file around.

Customer Service

Making sure that there is a legitimate phone number is not only to verify if there is some customer service available (although that is a nice bonus!). It is also about making sure that you are about to deal with a reputable business. And shouldn’t reputable businesses at least have a phone number? And if you have any questions, any questions at all, don’t be afraid to speak to Customer Service. Any company that you trust with your personal information should be able to take the time necessary to answer any and all concerns you may have.

Click on “CONTACT US”

A valid and trustworthy lender should have a physical address. Double check that your lender has a real office space that employees work from. Any lender that refuses to disclose a real location may have something to hide. And, if you really want to dot your i’s and cross your t’s, plug that address into Google just to make sure it is an actual location and not some vacant lot! Some scammers will also just use a post office box. That should be a HUGE red flag!
But just remember, since much of the world is more and more online, don’t worry if the entire transaction can be conducted online without ever stepping foot into the office space. If you can buy a car completely online, it is safe to say you can borrow some money online as well.

The lender’s site should be secure

A secure and authentic lender should always have a secure website. Make sure that the padlock icon appears next to the website url in the field at the top of the page, and that the website url begins with “https://” Like this:
secure
And NEVER override any pop-ups that appear with a warning that the website security certificate has expired or is no longer valid.

Look for reviews

Any site with a proven track record should have reviews online, even bad ones. Keep in mind that there are probably quite a few people that apply for cash advances and are turned down by legitimate lenders so there may be a few bad reviews. But just the fact that there are reviews is a good, clear sign that the lender is legitimate and can be trusted. Google reviews and BBB (Better Business Bureau) are the easiest ones to consult.

Money up front

Scammers will sometimes ask you to pay some initial fee for a “credit check”, a “deposit” or even a first payment on the loan. Any lender that asks for payment or cash before the loan is to be avoided at all costs.

No Credit Check

Any financial lender that says that they don’t care about your credit isn’t completely on the up and up. All credible lenders at least take a look at your credit report. They may not make it the only criteria for approval and they may be willing to overlook your bad credit, but they at least need an overview of your financial profile. At iCash, for example, there are many other criteria taken into consideration so clients definitely are not turned down simply because of bad credit. But an overview of the credit history is definitely required. Another reason to appreciate the credit check is, if a lender says that they are going to do a credit check into your file, it’s a good sign that the lending company has been verified by one of the two big Canadian credit bureaus. It is an additional reassurance that a legitimate agency, like the credit bureau, has done some background checks on the legitimacy of the lender.

Beware of Payday Loan Scams

While the rise of online lenders has increased the amount of potential scam risk, it has also increased the ability for Canadians in financial crisis to gain quick access to much needed funds in a timely manner. It is unfortunate that scammers have made it so that cash advance lenders, payday lenders and even instalment lenders all have a bad name. Many legitimate lenders have to work all that much harder to prove their trustworthiness. And although it is a constant uphill battle, it is definitely one that iCash is proud to continue.

Sierra Bittany

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