Advance America Online Cash Advance Review [2021]

Advance America offers both online and in-person financial services and primarily caters to those who need money quickly but don't have perfect credit. Advance America prides itself on full transparency, quality communication with customers, and fast approval times.
Our Rating
3.0
Nerdwallet
Credit Karma
Bankrate

Installment Loan Facts

APR
235% to 785%
Minimum Credit Score
300
Loan Amount
$50 to $1,000
Minimum Age
18
Loan Term
14 to 31 Days
Time to Funding
Three Days
Origination Fees
None
Hard Credit Check
Yes

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • There are almost 2,000 physical locations across the country
  • People with relatively low credit scores can get money quickly
  • Loan repayment is based on your pay cycle
  • Applications are quick and easy
  • Allows borrowers almost instant access to cash
  • Title loans don’t require a bank account or good credit
Cons
  • All types of loans are typically high-interest
  • There are many negative reviews
  • Scammers have been falsely representing Advance America
  • Some consider this type of borrowing a "debt trap"

How Advance America Compares

Opploans Logo
Industry Average
Amount
$50 to $1,000
$500 to $5,000
APR
235% to 785%
79% to 299%
Origination Fee
None
1% to 3%
Minimum Credit Score
300
Any
Time to Funding
Three Days
1 Day
Hard Credit Check
Yes
Yes

Advance America offers both online and in-person financial services and primarily caters to those who need money quickly but don't have perfect credit. Advance America prides itself on full transparency, quality communication with customers, and fast approval times.

About Advance America Loans

William Webster and George D. Johnson founded Advance America in 1997. The company is headquartered in Spartanburg, South Carolina and is a founding member of the Community Financial Services Association.

According to the company's website, Advance America has "helped millions of hardworking Americans." The business targets borrowers who don't have perfect credit but need money quickly in order to handle a short-term financial situation. Advance America operates out of over 1,900 physical locations as well as online, but not all locations offer the full range of services.

Inside our Advance America Loan Review, you’ll learn about:

  • Types of Advance America Loans
  • Amounts You Can Borrow
  • Rates, Terms, and Fees
  • How Borrowers Qualify for Loans
  • Customer Experience and Contact Information

Types of Loans from Advance America

Advance America offers four different types of loans, all of which cater to those with less than perfect credit.

1. Payday Loans

Also known as cash advances, payday loans are short-term loans with high interest rates. Those who are worried about bouncing checks or need a little extra cash before their next paycheck might consider this type of loan for immediate relief, especially in the event of an unexpected financial emergency. 

Payday loans typically carry a two- to four-week term, with the maximum being 31 days. Borrowers can receive up to $1,000, and fees can range from $15 to $87.50. APR ranges from 234.9% to 785.27%.

2. Installment Loans

Unlike payday loans, installment loans aren't used for short-term expenses. Instead, they carry terms of 3 to 36 months, with the APR typically falling between 143.29% and 688.28%. Greater term length means a higher repayment total while offering more time to make your payments.

Your personal information and state regulations will determine how much money you can receive from this type of loan. Advance America will make a decision within 24 hours and release funding within three days if accepted. You must have a credit score between 300 and 640 to qualify for an installment loan.

3. Title Loans

If you have fully paid off your car and there are no preexisting liens on the title, you can use your vehicle as collateral for a title loan. The amount of money you can borrow is based on the value of your vehicle as determined by an employee of Advance America. The company will look at factors like make, model, and condition, and you will work with a representative to establish details like loan amount, term, and payments.

You can continue to drive your vehicle while you make your payments on a title loan. You will typically enjoy lower rates on title loans because you're offering the title as collateral.

4. Line of Credit

A line of credit is different from the above loans in that the funding can be replenished. Once your application for the loan has been accepted, you'll be approved for a certain credit limit. You can then take out any amount up to that limit and transfer the funds directly to your bank account.

As you pay back the money you borrowed and the fees for doing so, the line of credit is replenished. You won't have to apply again; you can just keep borrowing as needed. This type of loan may be ideal for those who need emergency funds now or may need them in the future.

No matter what kind of loan you borrow from Advance America, the conditions will be subject to both federal and state law. Individuals in different states may experience different fees, term lengths, and APRs. Applying for one of these loans in-person typically takes between 15 and 30 minutes. If you apply online before 10:30 a.m. during the business week, you can often receive same-day funding.

Terms and Rates

Terms

Advance America loan terms vary based on the type of loan you decide to take out. payday loans typically have a lifespan of just 2 to 4 weeks, while installment loans are designed to last between 3 and 36 months. Title loans are usually paid monthly, but terms vary by state. A line of credit can stay open as long as the consumer desires, but only a certain amount of funding will be available.

Term length will always depend on the type of loan you take out, state regulations, and individual circumstances. Advance America specifically states that "short-term loans are not intended to be long-term financial solutions" and warns against using them "over a period of months, which can be expensive."  

Rates

The APR of your Advance America loan will also depend on the type of loan. Payday loans typically have higher interest rates and can range from 234.9% to 785.27%. Installment loans have a similar spread at 143.29% to 688.28%. Your credit score will also help determine your APR, with higher scores qualifying you for lower rates.

Refinancing Options

Refinancing can allow you to lower the interest rate on your loan, making it easier to make payments on time while keeping the total balance as low as possible. However, refinancing is one of many aspects of Advance America loans that will depend on the state in which the borrower lives.

You'll have to contact your nearest Advance America location or call the service number to find out if refinancing is an option in your area and if you qualify. Borrowers who reside in Texas will be subject to additional charges if they wish to refinance their loans.

Fees

Advance America won't subject you to origination or early payment fees, but you will be responsible for late fees. Depending on your state, you might have additional fees to consider.

Loan Amounts

Loan minimums and maximums are different by state.

  • Payday Loan amounts typically fall between $50 and $1,000
  • Installment Loans vary entirely by state regulation
  • Title Loans are based on the value of your vehicle, which is determined by an Advance America inspector
  • Lines of Credit require application approval and depend on the consumer's finances and credit trustworthiness

Installment and payday loans are approved or denied the same day. If approved, these loans are funded within three business days. Applying for a title loan in person takes 15 to 30 minutes and will be funded immediately. Once approved for a line of credit, you can typically have the chosen amount transferred to your bank account in one business day.

Advance America Loan Requirements

Qualifying

In order to qualify for an installment or payday loan from Advance America, you'll need a minimum credit score of 300. You must also be 18 years of age or older, have a steady income, and be a permanent US resident or citizen. If you have filed for bankruptcy, you will not be able to borrow from Advance America.

Before submitting an application, you'll need to provide proof of income and proof of citizenship or residence permit. You'll also need an active checking account and a driver's license. Advance America may require a credit check for payday loans and will require a credit check for installment loans.

You'll typically find out if your application was approved or denied within 24 hours for installment loans and within an hour for payday loans. An in-person title loan application can be handled in as little as 15 minutes. Like many aspects of Advance America's services, loan qualification requirements vary by state.

Repayment

Advance America accepts cash, cashier's check, or money order for in-person repayment on the specified due date. Some states also allow debit card repayment for payday loans. You can also make payments over the phone or online. If you want to make an early or additional payment, call Advance America or contact your nearest location. In some cases, you may be refunded part of the loan fee when you make early payments.

Customer Experience

Contact information

Hours of operation:

Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST

Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST

Phone:

(800) 937-3437 or (844) 562-6480

Email:

comments@advanceamerica.net

Physical Address:

135 N Church St

Spartanburg, SC 29306

You can also use the website contact form. A representative will typically respond in one business day.

Customer Feedback and Reports

Although Advance America is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, the company still receives an A rating. However, customer reviews through the BBB give Advance America less than 1.5 stars, and there have been 126 customer complaints in the past three years. There have also been reports of scammers that claim to be representatives of Advance America sending consumers fraudulent loan documents, even using the BBB name and seal illegally.

TrustPilot gives Advance America a perfect five-star rating. Among the 27,795 reviews, 89% were "Excellent" and 6% were "Great." According to TrustPilot reviews, Advance America is:

  • Trustworthy
  • Quick and easy to work with
  • Professional
  • Convenient

The Consumer Affairs report, on the other hand, looks more like the BBB's customer analysis with 327 reviews averaging a 1.25-star (out of five) rating in satisfaction.

Summary

If you need money quickly, don't have perfect credit, and don't mind paying higher interest rates, then Advance America might be a lender to consider. Payday loans are designed to hold you over until your next paycheck, while installment loans carry a greater term but a higher repayment total. Title loans allow consumers to use their vehicles as collateral, and a line of credit can provide some safety and security for the future.

Although Advance America might use third-party resources to verify your finances, the company will not report payday loans to any of the three major credit bureaus. If you decide to borrow from Advance America, avoid fees, penalties, and distress by making your payments on time.