Payday loans in Georgia: 2 alternatives

Woman sitting on sofa looking up payday loans in GeorgiaImage: Woman sitting on sofa looking up payday loans in Georgia

In a Nutshell

Payday loans are generally illegal in Georgia, and there are no lenders licensed to issue payday loans online for state residents. If you need money to pay for an emergency expense and can’t wait until your next payday, we’ve rounded up some alternatives to consider that may give you quick access to cash.
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Georgia has strict laws regulating payday loans — they’re generally illegal unless they meet very specific requirements.

With payday lending, a lender typically takes a post-dated check or your electronic banking information and charges you fees or interest to advance you money before your next payday. But this type of payday lending — which is usually so expensive it can lead to a cycle of debt — is illegal for the most part in the state of Georgia. While out-of-state lenders may provide payday loans, subject to certain exceptions, it can be helpful to know your alternatives.

We’ve rounded up a couple of alternatives to payday lenders in Georgia. Keep reading to see if one of them might be right for your situation.

Earnin: Good for early paycheck access

Why you may want to consider Earnin: Earnin pays eligible workers for the time they’ve worked before their next scheduled payday and automatically deducts the borrowed amount from their next paycheck. Unlike the other lenders on this list, there are no mandatory fees or interest charges to use the Earnin app to get the money you need. (Instead, you can tip what you think is fair.)

Here are some more details to know before you download the Earnin app.

  • Small advance amounts — Earnin is best for relatively small emergencies. When you first start using Earnin, you can only borrow up to $100 per pay cycle. As you use the app over time and establish a track record of successful repayment, Earnin may raise your limit up to $500.
  • Accessibility — If you need money fast, Earnin may be a good option for you. Some Earnin users may qualify for the lender’s “Lighting Speed” feature. With this feature, Earnin says your money will be deposited into your bank account within minutes. If you’re not eligible for Lightning Speed, your money will typically be deposited into your bank account within one to two business days.
  • Eligibility — Not everyone is eligible for Earnin. To use the Earnin app, you must have more than 50% of your direct deposit sent to a checking account and a regular pay schedule (weekly, biweekly, semi-monthly or monthly). You also must have a fixed work location or an online timekeeping system at work.
  • App download required — You’ll have to download the Earnin app to request a loan. The app is compatible with both Android and Apple’s iOS mobile devices.

Read our Earnin app review to learn more.

Kashable: Good for loan prequalification

Why you may want to consider Kashable: Kashable offers personal loans to workers at select employers. (Keep in mind that if you’re a federal employee in the state of Georgia, Kashable won’t be available to you.)

If you have good credit, Kashable will consider you for its lowest interest rates, which are competitive. And you can use its prequalification tool to check your potential for approval and get an estimated interest rate without affecting your credit scores. Just remember that if you officially apply after your prequalify for a personal loan, you’ll face a hard credit check — which could still result in loan denial or different loan terms. A hard credit check will also lower your credit scores by a few points.

Here are some more details about Kashable loans.

  • Loan amounts — Kashable loans range from $250 to $20,000.
  • Interest rates — While Kashable notes the lowest interest rates available on its site, the lender isn’t clear about the higher end of its rates for people who don’t have great credit. The little information available shows that Kashable’s range of rates goes well into a double-digit zone that’s on the high end of traditional personal loans (though still likely a better option than a payday loan).
  • Repayment terms — Unlike payday loans, which typically have to be repaid within two to four weeks, Kashable loans have loan terms between six months and 24 months. But keep in mind that your repayments will be automatically deducted from your paycheck.
  • Funding time — If you’re approved for a loan, Kashable says it will deposit the funds into your bank account within three business days.
  • Availability — Kashable isn’t available to everyone. Only employees of participating employers in certain states qualify for its loans.

Read our full review of Kashable to learn more.

How we picked these alternatives

To create this list, we looked for lenders that are licensed to work with people in Georgia, and that position themselves as payday loan alternatives or say they may lend to people with bad credit. When choosing lenders, we focused on factors such as how quickly loans are issued, loan amounts, fees, interest, prequalification applications, loan terms and lender transparency.

If you need a small loan, you also may want to consider a payday alternative loan, which is a type of short-term loan offered by certain federal credit unions. With a payday alternative loan, a credit union can’t charge you more than $20 to process your application and there’s a cap on interest rates.

If you have any open credit card accounts, you should also check the APR to see if using a card to cover an emergency expense is a more affordable option for you.

About the author: Kat Tretina is a personal finance writer with a master’s degree in communication studies from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Obsessed with her many side hustles, she focuses on helping people pay down their … Read more.