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Advance America

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LAST UPDATED: November 10th, 2023

Advance America was founded in 1997 and has over 1,900 storefront locations in the United States. It is a subsidiary of Grupo Elektra and offers several different types of short-term financing for consumers with bad credit: 

  • Installment loans, also known as a personal loan
  • Payday loans, also known as a cash advance or payday advance
  • Personal lines of credit
  • Title loans

In addition to these credit options, Advance America stores also offer MoneyGram services and NetSpend prepaid debit cards. 

Consumers should know that available loan options, including loan amount, loan term, and rates depend on your state of residence. Advance America's cash advance and lending services are available in 28 states: 

  • Alabama
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Delaware 
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Applying at an Advance America location is a bit different from applying online, but in general, basic requirements for short-term loans include the following: 

  • An active checking account (with income via direct deposit)
  • A steady source of income 
  • A social security number
  • At least 18 years old (19 in Alabama, unless married)
  • A valid email address

The Advance America website says that a credit check may be performed when you apply for its loan products, but doesn't mention whether this is a hard or soft pull, or whether it is with traditional or alternative credit bureaus. Due to this, it's hard to know if applying will affect your credit score. Borrowers should also note that this lender does not report to the traditional credit bureaus as you repay the loan. 

Over the last twenty years, Advance America has issued 124 million consumer loans. 

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The Good

  • Simple Application Process
  • Easy to Extend Payment Plan
  • Scam Alert Page

Simple Application Process

Advance America enables you to apply for its financial services 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 loan 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. The lender 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 for an Advance America short-term loan 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 generally deposited the next business day. Online loans processed before 10:30 AM Eastern, Monday–Friday may be eligible for a same-day deposit of your loan. 

Easy to Extend Payment Plan

With this service provider, repayment of your 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. 

In-store cash advance loans can be repaid via cash, money order, or a cashier's check. Payday loan payments (not installment or title loans) can also be made with a debit card in-person or over the phone, except in Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, or Virginia. 

Online payday loan payments can be made via your Advance America account or by calling customer service. 

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.

As a courtesy, a reminder email is sent 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 increased loan amounts once you have repaid your current loan and applicable fee, and the funds have cleared the bank.

Scam Alert Page

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 getting a payday loan from this lender. You will be relieved of some financial strain if you have to face the hardship of unemployment.


The Bad

  • Lack of Transparency
  • Online Loan APR Higher Than In-Store
  • Possible Additional Fees

Lack of Transparency

Advance America's website is not clear about its loan 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. It is difficult to find a minimum and maximum interest rate for each state's cash advance or personal loans. 

Online Loan APR Higher than In-Store

Like all payday lenders, Advance America payday loans have high interest rates, especially when viewed as an annual percentage rate (APR). This is not a long-term financial solution. 

What we didn't expect is that the online APRs charged for its lending services can be 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.

Possible Additional Fees

The Advance America website says that late payments and other fees, such as insufficient funds fees, will be charged if you dishonor your check or make a late payment. However, specific fees are not listed. The site just said that fees vary by state. 

Be sure to clarify what transaction 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 an unexpected loss of money in your checking account or overdraft fees if you don't have the funds to cover it.


The Bottom Line

Advance America is known to approve and provide money within the same visit. For customers who need short-term financial solutions,  and need them fast, Advance America is a direct lender that can get the job done!

With more than 20 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 some transparency about its rates and fees, as well as customer collection and lending practices. 

Based on this information, Advance America is not a recommended payday lending company. Look for a company that provides more information upfront (especially APR ranges) and makes it a priority to resolve customer issues quickly and completely. 

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21 Reviews

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Walter Smith Ft. Pierce, FL

I needed an emergency loan because I was going up north to visit my daughters I applied and was approved it's simple and easy this is like my 4th loan I love it especially when I need it they don't charge alot i borrow $500 and only have to pay back $555 just $55 more for borrowing the money yes the do take it all out all ate once don't borrow if you can't pay it back they do have smaller loans with smaller interest to pay back like $300 only pay back $330 yes I will recommend only if you can afford to pay back .

5 years ago

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Vickie Blackmon Dallas, TX

Hi,My name is Vickie B.I can say Advance America is simple with their processing.First,I was a Customer in Dallas.I was introduced to the Duncanville Office where I was treated with respect my an agent by the name of Monsie.An issue occured both Monsie and Emily quickly figured it out.Great Team work.

3 years ago

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lacrisha L bowman Muscle Shoals, AL

While visiting the store on Woodward Ave in Muscle shoals Alabama on 07/11/2020 the Employee Brandy was so very helpful and Intelligent and so very Polite she gave us the things that we needed and she was so very Professional about her job that Store alone gets a10+.We will continue to give that store our Business,WAY TO GO BRANDY......

3 years ago

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Katlyn Sidney, OH

I was in the Sidney location. When I went in the store it was busy. The ladies who worked there were very professional and got to me very quickly. They answered my questions to my satisfaction. I was very happy by the time I left. They were very helpful and one sat with me and helped me with my application.

6 years ago

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Brittney Chicago, IL

Just want to say that the Advance America in Speedway #5554 His customer service is awesome every time I come he shows me a great time very respectful and very nice I will always do business with this one.

4 years ago

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LaShunda Young Meridian, MS

The Ladies at Advance America is courteous and polite . And I love that they always will greet you with a smile. So Thanks to Advance America and a special Thanks to Lucretia A

4 years ago

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carol Chesapeake, VA

Advance America in Chesapeake, VA is a good place to go. The staff is always friendly. Even though the interest rate is high on a payday loan, it is still worth it to get you through a rough time.

5 years ago

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Kenneth Hickey Dallas, TX

They were good and Diana got me outta there quickly. I highly recommend them. The one on Matlock in Mansfield.

7 months ago

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Rinna Anakotta Union City, CA

Since when this loan company letting me buying gift cards, there is two guys sending me money letting me buy gifts cards of $500 each for boosting up my credit score and the loan I applied is $10,000 and also the gift cards are for the insurance fees and the insurance fees are $3000 and I had been dealing wheeling with them for one week and half and in the end I never see the money in my Bank ! They are scammers!!! They had also a account team and I thinked all this time, they worked only the two of them ! They only wanted to enjoyed the gift cards and they had Indian accents, be careful for them, they are liars and cheaters !!!

3 years ago

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JD Seattle, WA

I have had mostly negative experience with Advance America in Lynnwood. I find them to be deliberately dishonest and very full of themselves. I dropped my money through the door that they designed to drop money in, and the claimed they never received it. I say claimed lightly because they refused to look at video. The manager SCOTT is the worst manager I have ever met. They agreed to pay half of what I put in the door, but still cost me half. FINE. I agreed to that. Then they were not supposed to have deposited my check . Guess what? They did. and it cost me. The manager again SCOTT would have done nothing. they have a manager Jennifer who is very nice and reversed the overdraft they cost me, but still. Who does business like that??? NOT okay if you ask me. HORRIBLE customer service. lying associates. I get it, they don't get paid well. but did they have to steal from me? I don't get paid well either. I also don't appreciate the attiude. very rude staff. I would quite frankly rather shoot myself then deal with such scum of the earth again

4 years ago

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Crystal Duffy Santa Ana, CA

Friendly staff and fast service. I highly recommended this place for payday loans.

6 months ago

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Tiniqua Harris Allentown, PA

Hi my Name is Tiniqua H I was scammed by two gentlemen today who claimed to be a representative of advance America I am very upset at this that this company allowed someone to use their name and company information to scam single mothers who are already struggling due to the pandemic I have been in distraught all day crying because these two men scammed me for $500 I hope this is a lesson learned for this company

2 years ago

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I have done business in Athens Alabama and Marquetta and Susan are always so helpful. The different types of loans help out so much.

4 years ago

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Frankie Pearson Jr Houston, TX

Had the most great experience from Mrs Mary R G. She's the best very helpful and courteous. Id highly recommend her to friends.

5 years ago

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4 years ago

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Bonnie D Port Bolivar, TX


5 years ago

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Janice Draper Seattle, WA

Badddd....I'm on government assistance and get paid on the 1st and they always get the money before the 1st and my bank account gets overdraft $35....then I'm overdrawn with them among my other bills. For the last 3monthz

2 years ago

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Andrekia H Dallas, TX

I had a great experience! They were very helpful and Philip J has great customer service!

3 years ago

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Jp Lavaca, TX

Great customer service from these ladies. Will be returning. Give these ladies a visit.

4 years ago

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Debbie North Platte, NE

These ladies made it so easy and fast to get a loan. Wish I could give more stars.

5 years ago

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Joan Mansfield, OH

Don’t do it! I originally had A 700 loan, the place is closing down, now I have To make9 payments of 210!

5 years ago