Check ’n Go installment loan review: A payday loan alternative with high interest rates

Young man sitting on couch in living room and looking at tabletImage: Young man sitting on couch in living room and looking at tablet

In a Nutshell

Check ’n Go offers installment loans for people facing financial emergencies. If you qualify, the lender may be able to put money in your pocket quickly. But the company’s interest rates are likely to be high. Depending on where you live, you can apply online or at one of its locations.
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Pros Cons
Funds could be available as soon as the next business day if approved Potentially high APRs
Might be approved even if your credit isn’t great Loans aren’t available in all states
Longer payoff term than a payday loan Limited loan amounts

What you need to know about a Check ’n Go installment loan

Check ’n Go is a storefront and online lender based in Ohio that has nearly 1,000 locations in the U.S. The company offers payday loans, installment loans, cash advances, check cashing and more.

Installment loans from Check ’n Go are marketed as payday loan alternatives, with terms that typically last from three months to 18 months. That’s a longer repayment period than what you could get with a payday loan, which is usually due within a few weeks. In comparison, some companies offer installment loans that give you around 24 months to 60 months to repay.

Here are some other features to keep in mind if you’re considering a Check ’n Go installment loan.

High APRs

You don’t need good credit to be considered for an installment loan from Check ’n Go, which says the minimum FICO® credit score to be considered is 500 on a scale of 300 to 850 points.

Even though Check ’n Go’s installment loans are marketed as an alternative to payday loans, interest rates are comparable to payday loan interest rates, which are notoriously high.

Check ’n Go’s loan rates and terms can vary by state, but the maximum APRs we found included 260% in South Carolina, 360% in Delaware and 370% in Missouri. With the potential for an interest rate in the triple-digits, you’ll need to consider if a Check ’n Go loan is worth the high cost.

Potentially fast funding

If you apply and are approved for a loan, Check ’n Go claims to get you your money quickly: Your funds could be deposited into your bank account as soon as the next business day.

If you prefer working with someone in person, you may be able to visit a physical location to apply for the lender’s “Choice Loan.”

Loan amounts are limited

The maximum amount the lender offers is $5,000, but can vary by state. Check ’n Go’s online installment loans are available in Alabama, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.

The loan amount you’d be eligible for will depend on factors like where you live, your income and other criteria.

A closer look at a Check ’n Go personal loan

Check ’n Go opened its doors in 1994 claiming to help underbanked consumers who weren’t able to qualify for other bank products. Here are a few more features and conditions of a Check ’n Go loan that you should know before applying.

  • Repayment terms — Loan terms for Check ’n Go installment loans typically range from three months to 18 months. Electronic payments for an installment loan are withdrawn from your checking account on your payday. But you can also opt to pay with a cashier’s check, debit card, money order or MoneyGram.
  • Active checking account required — You won’t get approved without an account that allows direct deposit.
  • Late payments and returned payments — Check ’n Go may charge a fee for a late or returned payment. Fees vary by state, so you need to pay attention to the fine print if you get a loan offer.

Who a Check ’n Go loan is good for

If you have an emergency financial need, like a sudden car repair, a Check ’n Go installment loan could be a good choice for you if your credit isn’t great. But your APR will likely be high.

If you’re more interested in shopping for debt consolidation loans though, this probably isn’t the loan for you. Check ’n Go’s installment loans come with APRs that are likely higher than your credit card APRs, which could make it more costly than sticking with the debt payments you already have.

If you do end up borrowing from Check ’n Go, try to make extra payments to pay the loan off early — doing so could save you money in interest. There isn’t any mention of Check ’n Go charging a prepayment penalty for paying off the loan early on its website, but it would be a good idea to confirm whether they charge this fee by calling beforehand.

How to apply with Check ’n Go

Check ’n Go loans aren’t available in all states. But if they’re available in yours, you can apply by visiting a location or going online.

Check ’n Go will ask for basic personal information if you apply online. If approved, you’ll get your loan offer and payment due dates to review. You can upload supporting documents like pay stubs directly to your online application. Final documents can be reviewed and signed online.

Here’s what you need to apply for a Check ’n Go loan.

  • Full name
  • Mailing address
  • Email address
  • Date of birth
  • Driver’s license or state ID number
  • Social Security number
  • Verifiable income from approved sources
  • Active checking account that allows direct deposit

Not sure if Check ’n Go is right for you? Consider these alternatives.

  • Earnin:
  • Earnin is an alternative option for emergency cash. It’s an app that allows you to borrow against your paycheck without fees or interest.
  • Upstart:
  • Upstart might be ideal if you want a lender with a prequalification option that considers more than just your credit scores.
  • Payday alternative loans:
  • Federal credit union members can consider these emergency cash options, which have limits on fees.

About the author: Taylor Medine is a freelance writer who’s covered all things personal finance for the past seven years. She enjoys writing financial product reviews and guides on budgeting, saving, repaying debt and building credit. … Read more.