First, let’s tackle who Advance America is, and the suite of loans they offer.
At one time—about seven years ago—Advance America was said to be the largest payday lender in the United States. But there is a lot more competition now, and it continues to grow.
Advance America has approximately 2,000 physical locations spread across many, but not all states.
Here is a list of states where they are available, and the number of each location in each state:
|Alabama (105)||Missouri (65)|
|California (230)||Nebraska (17)|
|Colorado (19)||Nevada (11)|
|Delaware (12)||Ohio (129)|
|Florida (222)||Oklahoma (62)|
|Idaho (4)||Rhode Island (19)|
|Illinois (29)||South Carolina (97)|
|Indiana (76)||Tennessee (63)|
|Iowa (32)||Texas (162)|
|Kansas (43)||Utah (2)|
|Kentucky (25)||Virginia (65)|
|Louisiana (63)||Washington (7)|
|Michigan (142)||Wisconsin (21)|
|Mississippi (37)||Wyoming (11)|
It’s important to note that each location does not offer the same amounts for either payday loans or title loans.
Founded in 1997, Advance America is a fully licensed and nationally recognized financial company. They are also one of the founding members of the Community Financial Services Association.
What is the Community Financial Services Association, you ask?
They are a trade association that stands in place to protect the interests of short-term lenders. Lenders who have fought for the right to offer short-term, small-dollar, and payday loans to Americans. But they also protect borrowers by holding the industry accountable.
However, it’s important to note that the Community Financial Services Association is run and governed by the lenders themselves, so there may be a conflict of interest between lender and borrower.
Advance America History
Advance America was co-founded by William (Billy) Webster in 1997, in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
According to a company profile found on Owler, their current CEO is Patrick O’Shaughnessy. They have about 104 employees, and their estimated annual revenue is $13.4 million.
In 2012, Mexican billionaire Ricardo Salinas Pliego, the man behind Grupo Elektra, a Mexican financial and retail corporation, acquired Advance America for $780 million.
Claims that Advance America is a Scam
Chances are you’ve heard allegations that Advance America are scammers.
Is it true? What is the Advance America scam?
To set the matter straight, Advance America is legit. Unfortunately, they are plagued by scammers who pose as Advance America representatives, tricking consumers into giving them money.
One specific scam is where someone contacts a consumer claiming to be from Advance America, telling them they are pre-approved for a loan. But in order to get the loan, they must make a “good faith” deposit or pay a processing fee.
Another scam is where people are posing as Advance America debt collectors and demanding payment of unpaid amounts.
Avoid financial fraud and scams by following these rules:
- Never give out personal information—such as your Social Security Number, bank account info—either over the phone or online, without first verifying who you are speaking to.
- Educate yourself about phishing emails.
- When applying for a loan online, always verify the company’s license.
- Never give money or to anyone claiming you have been pre-approved for a loan.
Advance America Loans Review: Getting Cash
As mentioned above, when it comes to getting cash, Advance America offers different types of loans.
- Payday Loans
- Installment Loans
- Title Loans
- Personal Line of Credit
What’s the difference?
- Payday Loans. These are also referred to as payday advances, payroll loans, salary loans, small-dollar, short term, and cash advance loans. They are small, unsecured, short term loans. These loans are giving based on the borrower having verifiable payroll and employment records.
- Installment Loans: These loans are set up to be repaid over a number of scheduled payments, typically monthly. Advance America has options to pay back your debt over 3 to 36 months.
- Title Loans. This can also be referred to as a car title loan and is secured by a borrower’s vehicle as collateral. A temporary lien is placed against the car, and if a borrower defaults on the loan, the vehicle can be repossessed.
- Personal Lines of Credit. This is a revolving credit account with a set limit. You are able to withdraw funds as you need them. The interest rates are variable but typically lower than fixed loan rates or credit card rates.
Be aware that when it comes to getting cash, Advance America may not approve everyone for any type of loan. Certainly not unsecured loans.
Clearly, you’re not going to get one of the best student loans here but if you’re in need of some quick cash, Advance America makes that possible. If you’re in a state where they are located, simply walk into one of their locations and make the necessary arrangements. It will only take as long as you need to stand in line.
And a whole lot of people either stand in line or use Advance America online or another payday lender. According to statistics, more than 12 million Americans use payday loans annually.
Advance America Loans Review: Fees
Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all answer here.
Depending on the state and store you visit, fees will vary, but you can visit Advance America online, key in your location, and find out the fees specific to you.
Using a random Florida zip code, here is an example:
Regardless, paying the fees will likely be less than the fee you get from a late bill or overdraft fee from your bank.
Other than being location-based, the fee you pay will also be based on the amount of your loan.
The maximum amount for payday loans ranges from $100 to $1,100 and the maximum for title loans ranges from $300 to $10,000, again, depending on state and store location.
Even if you have less than perfect credit, you still have a good chance of being approved for a loan, as they are not as strick as a bank or other types of lending companies.
Advance America Loans Review: Eligibility Requirements
Need cash? Advance America has the following requirements for their cash advance or payday loans.
When applying in-store, you will need:
- A government-issued photo ID
- Proof that you have an open and active checking account (a current statement will do)
- Recent proof of income, such as a pay stub or direct deposit information
- Verification of your SSN (You can also use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) but only instore)
- Some states may also require a void check, but many states are okay with a debit card or ACH authorization if you do not have a personal check
If you have visited Advance America online @ advanceamerica.net to apply, you will need:
- A valid email address that you can reply to
- Source of income
- Valid Social Security Number
- Active Checking Account
Advance America Review: Is it Worth it?
So you’ve read the Advance America reviews. Ours, and likely others.
Are they worth it? Given some situations, absolutely.
If you have bad credit, you may not be able to get approved for a loan through more traditional means. Even if you can, you can often get your funds within the same day when getting a payday loan. If you are going into one of their stores, you can literally walk out with your money in hand.
Traditional banks and lenders may also have a minimum loan amount that’s more than what you need, so you may decide a payday loan is the way to go.
So, if you have no other means of borrowing, and you’ve come up short between paydays, yes, an Advance America loan is worth it.
However, if your circumstances allow it, it might be wiser to borrow elsewhere.
The rates to borrow from a payday lender a high, and even though the vary across the country, they are still in the triple digits most of the time.
To give you an example, a payday loan in some parts of the country will have an APR of 460%!
Based on the above, you decide if it’s worth it for you.
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