AWL loan review: Emergency loans for short-term borrowing

Man sitting on the couch in his living room, reading a review of AWL loans on his phoneImage: Man sitting on the couch in his living room, reading a review of AWL loans on his phone

In a Nutshell

If you’re approved for an AWL loan, you may be able to get money the same day you apply and cover an emergency expense like a car repair. But AWL isn’t transparent about its interest rates, making it difficult to compare to other lenders.
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Pros Cons
Mobile app for returning customers Not transparent about interest rates until after you apply
Potentially fast funding Possible wire transfer fee for same-day funding
  Not available in all states

What you need to know about an AWL personal loan

American Web Loan, or AWL, is an online tribal lender operated by the Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians. It offers short-term loans — with six-, nine- and 12-month repayment terms — in amounts ranging from $300 to $2,500.

The lender says you may qualify for a loan with bad credit or no credit. And you can pay off the loan early without a penalty.

But there are some negatives to consider about this lender before you decide whether to apply.

Hidden interest rates

Unlike many lenders, AWL is not transparent about its interest rates upfront — there’s no specific info about interest rates on the AWL website. There’s also no opportunity to prequalify, so you won’t know how high your rate might be until you actually apply for an AWL loan.

With no prequalification option and no published information about interest rates, you can’t compare the terms of an AWL loan to potential offers from other lenders that are more transparent.

High interest rates are common among lenders like AWL, which target people who need emergency loans. If you get a loan offer from AWL, make sure to read through the terms carefully so you’ll know what the APR will be.

Potentially fast funding

With AWL’s wire transfer option, you could receive loan funds in your bank account the same business day you apply. Not all lenders offer this option, which can be helpful if you need to cover an emergency expense right away.

Possible wire transfer fee

AWL doesn’t charge a fee for a same-day wire transfer — but your bank or financial institution might charge a wire transfer fee. Fees for incoming and outgoing wire transfers can range from $0 to more than $30 depending on your financial institution.

A closer look at an AWL personal loan

Here are some more details to consider before deciding if an AWL loan is an option for you.

  • Live chat — There’s a live chat feature on AWL’s site if you prefer that type of communication to email or phone calls.
  • Mobile app — If you’re a returning customer, you can use the AWL app to apply for a loan, update your personal info, schedule extra payments and make your final payment.
  • Not available in all states — AWL loans aren’t available in Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, New York or Vermont.
  • Past impersonators — AWL says there have been reports of scams where companies have posed as AWL to try to get the financial information of its borrowers. If you apply for an AWL loan, make sure to verify it’s through the official site.

Who an AWL loan is good for

This lender isn’t transparent about its interest rates upfront, making it an option to consider only as a last resort.

If you can’t qualify for a lower-cost personal loan but you need money as quickly as possible, an AWL loan might get you cash in hand.

But, if possible, apply for loans from other lenders that are transparent about rates and terms. That way, you’re less likely to get caught off guard — and in greater debt — by interest, fees or other costs.

How to apply with AWL

To apply for an AWL loan, visit the lender’s website and go through these steps on the loan application. (If you’re a returning customer, you can apply for a loan through the AWL mobile app.)

  1. Select how much you’d like to borrow.
  2. Enter your full name, email address and the last four digits of your Social Security number.
  3. Click “Apply Now.”
  4. Fill out the form with your date of birth, driver’s license number and state, address, phone number and full Social Security number.
  5. Enter your income and banking information.
  6. Select how much you want to borrow again and read the terms of use.
  7. If you agree with the terms of use, click “Apply Now” again.

Not sure if AWL is right for you? Consider these alternatives.

  • Rocket Loans: With Rocket Loans, you can apply for prequalification for a personal loan before going through the full application process.
  • NetCredit loan: If your credit isn’t great but you need a larger emergency loan and think you can pay it back pretty quickly, a NetCredit loan may be an option. NetCredit offers loans of up to $15,000. (You may see different terms if you apply through Credit Karma.) But with interest rates potentially in the triple digits, you’ll need to pay it off fast to avoid sky-high costs.

About the author: Anna Baluch is a freelance personal finance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. You can find her work on sites like The Balance, Freedom Debt Relief, LendingTree and RateGenius. Anna has an MBA in marketing from Roosevelt Un… Read more.