Payday loans in Pennsylvania: 4 alternatives

Man using his laptop at home, looking thoughtful as he reads about alternatives to payday loans in PAImage: Man using his laptop at home, looking thoughtful as he reads about alternatives to payday loans in PA

In a Nutshell

Payday loans aren’t legal in Pennsylvania, but you may have other options if you need emergency cash. We’ve rounded up four lenders that offer alternatives to payday loans. Having bad credit won’t necessarily disqualify you, but you’ll want to carefully review your loan terms and budget before accepting any offer.
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The Check Casher Licensing Act of 1998 made payday loans illegal in the state of Pennsylvania.

Payday loans are small, short-term loans that you typically have to repay by your next payday, along with fees. These fees are usually very high, which can trap you in a cycle of debt.

Even though payday loans are illegal in Pennsylvania, you may have other options if you need a loan for an emergency or unexpected expense.

We’ve selected four alternatives to payday lenders in Pennsylvania. Keep reading to see if one of them may be right for your financial situation.

Earnin: Good for early access to payday funds

Why you may want to consider Earnin: If you just need a little extra cash to hold you over between paychecks, the Earnin app allows you to cash out up to $750 that you’ve already earned per pay cycle, without being charged mandatory fees or interest.

You’ll repay Earnin automatically with a deduction from your bank account once you receive your paycheck.

  • Job eligibility — Even with a steady income, not everyone will be eligible to use Earnin. You’ll have to meet several requirements, which includes having a regular pay schedule, and having a fixed working location or electronic timekeeping system.
  • No interest or fees — While you won’t be charged mandatory interest or fees, Earnin encourages you to tip an amount you think is appropriate.
  • Fast funding possible — If you sign up for Earnin’s “Lightning Speed” feature, the lender says you may receive the money “the same day you”within minutes” of requesting it. If you don’t have Lightning Speed, your money will typically be available within one to three business days, according to Earnin.
  • No credit check — To qualify for a cash out, Earnin won’t ask for your Social Security number or check your credit.

Read our Earnin app review to learn more.

OneMain Financial: Good for people with bad credit

Why you may want to consider OneMain Financial: If you were considering a payday loan because you have shaky credit and haven’t been able to qualify for a traditional loan, OneMain Financial may be an option for you.

The company offers secured and unsecured loans ranging from $1,500 to $20,000 and will look at other factors beyond your credit scores to determine whether to offer you a loan. (The lender may offer different terms on Credit Karma.)

If you’re worried that you won’t qualify for a loan on your own, you can also add a co-applicant, which may improve your likelihood of being approved or help you qualify for a lower rate.

  • Loan terms — OneMain offers loan terms ranging from 24 months to 60 months, so you won’t have the stress of trying to repay the loan by your next payday.
  • High APRs — The company’s starting interest rate is higher than what you’ll find with some other personal loan lenders, though it’s significantly lower than the fees and interest you’d pay with a typical payday loan lender.
  • Prequalification available — If you want to check your potential rate before applying, you can apply for prequalification, which won’t affect your credit scores. But qualification isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be approved for a loan — and if you are approved, your rate and terms may change after you officially apply.
  • Branches — You can apply online, but if you’d like you can also visit a branch. OneMain has more than 1,500 branches in 44 states across the country, so check its website to see if there’s a branch near you.
  • Potentially fast funding — Once you’re approved for a loan, OneMain says you may receive your loan funds as soon as the next business day.

For more details, read our OneMain Financial personal loan review

Kashable: Good for employer-based financing

Why you may want to consider Kashable: If you have a stable job but a less-than-stellar credit history, Kashable might be able to offer you a personal loan. But there’s a catch: You have to work at certain employers that Kashable partners with to be eligible. In some states, certain federal government employees may also be eligible to use Kashable.

  • Loan repayments via direct deposit — Kashable offers personal loans between $250 and $20,000, with loan terms ranging from six months to 24 months. The company will deduct your loan repayments directly from your paycheck, which may be a pro or con depending on how you like to handle your bills.
  • Competitive starting APR — Kashable has a competitive starting APR, but the lender says that rate is available only to “high-credit borrowers.” Its rates can go much higher, and its highest rates are more in line with what OneMain Financial offers — both are still likely better options than a payday loan, though.
  • Quick funding promise — If you’re approved for a Kashable loan, the company says you should receive the funds in your bank account within three business days.
  • Prequalification available — Kashable also offers the option to apply for prequalification to check your potential rate. But keep in mind that prequalification isn’t a guarantee of loan approval. And if you officially apply and are approved for a loan, your rate and terms may change.

Read our Kashable review to learn more.

Mariner Finance: Good for satisfaction guarantee

Why you may want to consider Mariner Finance: Mariner Finance offers personal loans between $1,000 and $25,000. (If you apply online, those loan amounts change to between $1,500 and $15,000.)

Mariner has a 15-day satisfaction guarantee: If you aren’t satisfied with the loan, you can return the money within 15 days and you won’t have to pay any finance charges or penalties.

  • Secured and unsecured loans — Like OneMain Financial, Mariner Finance offers both secured and unsecured loans. But remember that if you default on a secured loan, you may lose the property you used as collateral.
  • Soft inquiry for prequalification — Mariner Finance offers the ability to apply for prequalification. This process is done using a soft credit inquiry, which won’t affect your credit scores. If you accept an offer and officially apply, the company will perform a hard credit inquiry to check your credit again, which could lower your credit scores by a few points.
  • Unclear APRs — Mariner isn’t very transparent about its personal loan rates. The company doesn’t post its full range on its website — only its maximum rate, which is on par with the other lenders mentioned here.
  • Co-signers allowed — If you aren’t sure if you can qualify for a loan on your own, you can apply with a co-signer, which may improve your odds of being approved.

Read our Mariner Finance personal loan review for more info.

How we picked these lenders

We examined lenders that may offer personal loans to people with less-than-perfect credit and allow a co-applicant or co-signer. We also looked at other eligibility requirements, loan amounts, ease of application and prequalification options that may make these personal loans an appealing alternative to payday loans in Pennsylvania.

If you don’t think any of these lenders will work, you may also want to consider applying for a payday alternative loan from a federal credit union. With these short-term loans, the credit union can’t charge you more than $20 to process your application, and there’s also a cap on interest rates.

About the author: Erica Gellerman is a personal finance writer with an MBA in marketing and strategy from Duke University. She’s also the founder of The Worth Project: a weekly money newsletter you actually want to read. Her work has b… Read more.