Advance America was founded in 1997 and has over 2,400 locations. It is a subsidiary of Grupo Elektra.
- Simple application process
- Easy to extend payment plan
- Scam alert page
Advance America enables you to apply for a loan either in-store or online. If you are applying in-store, you will need to bring two forms of ID, your most recent proof of income, your checkbook, latest checking account statement, and verification of your social security number. The application process only takes a few minutes to complete. If approved, you will write a personal check for the loan amount plus the fee, which will be held as collateral. Advance America will then give you cash in return. Repayment is due on the agreed-upon date, at which time you will need to return to the store to pay back your loan and fee in cash. Advance America will then return your check to you.
Applying online with Advance America is even simpler. For online applications you will need your social security number, checking account number, routing number, and income information. Approval takes a few minutes and the funds are deposited the next business day. Repayment of the loan is also easy: Advance America will automatically debit your account on the agreed-upon date for the full amount of the loan plus the fee.
If you are unable to make your full repayment on the scheduled date, Advance America makes it easy to do a partial payment or extend the schedule. You can log in to your account and fill out a request form at least two days before your due date. Advance America sends out a reminder email as a courtesy before your payment is due.
The customer login area of the Advance America website is easy to navigate; you'll be able to see what you owe or when you paid your loan off. It also gives you the option to renew your new loan if needed: you can renew or ask for an increased loan once you have repaid your current loan and applicable fee, and the funds have cleared the bank.
A benefit of using Advance America's website is their Scam Alert information page. When you open the "Apply for A Loan" page, there is a yellow box that says Scam Alert. Clicking it brings you to a page with information to help you learn about how to recognize fraudulent loan offers and collections actions, and how you can protect yourself.
Advance America's Worry Free Advance policy guarantees customers that their loan fees will be waived if they lose their jobs while they have an outstanding loan with Advance America. This is a benefit of using their service; you will be relieved of some financial strain if you have to face the hardship of unemployment.
- Lacking transparency
- Online APR is higher than in-store rates.
- Possible additional fees
Advance America's website is not clear about their terms, fees or interest rates. The APR rates vary based on your state and whether you are applying for the loan in person or online. Online APRs are higher than in-store rates. There is a tool on the site that can estimate rates. As an example, the maximum loan amount of $1,000 in the State of Utah would incur a finance charge of $185.01. If not paid within 14 days, the APR rate for the loan would be 482.34%. Customers should clarify what their finances charges and interest rates will be before taking out a payday loan.
The Advance America website says that late payments and other fees, such as a Non-Sufficient Funds fees, will be charged if you dishonor your check or make a late payment. However, specific fees are not listed - the site says they vary by state. Be sure to clarify what fees you may be responsible for before finalizing your loan - incurring unexpected charges could make it difficult to manage your finances responsibly and effectively.
Advance America's website states that your check will be held as collateral and returned to you upon repayment, however there are no other details about what they may do with your check if you extend your payment schedule, renew your loan or even miss a payment. It is recommended that you confirm what may be done with your check throughout the life of your loan and your repayment schedule so you don't face unexpected loss of money in your checking account or overdraft fees if you don't have the funds to cover it.
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The Bottom Line
Advance America is known to approve and provide money within the same visit. For customers who need cash and need it fast, Advance America can get the job done! With 18 years of experience, Advance America has done a good enough job that they have stayed in the payday loan game.
With that much experience, it is surprising that Advance America lacks transparency with their information. Little is known of there APR Range and availability. These are two vital pieces of information that people should know before agreeing to loan terms.
Based on this information, Advance America is not a recommended company. Look for a company who provides more information upfront (especially APR ranges) and makes it a priority to resolve customer issues quickly and completely.
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