Pros / In some states, it offers lower-than-average fees.
Cons / Its physical locations don’t offer check cashing services.
Verdict / Advance America’s services are widely available, and depending on the state you live in, you may get a better rate there than at other lenders. However, it doesn’t offer the additional financial services other lenders do.
Advance America lends in 28 states, placing it among the more widespread lenders we looked at. You can get loans at its retail locations or by applying online. Online and in-person loans have the same rates and the same application requirements. When applying, you need to provide ID, a Social Security number, proof of income and information for an active checking account.
The main difference between an online loan and an in-person loan is how quickly you get the funds. An online loan takes one to two business days, though if you apply online before 10:30 a.m. Eastern time, you may get same-day funding. Other online lenders, like CashNetUSA, don’t have same-day funding options.
Because each state regulates payday loans differently, where you live determines how much you pay in fees more than any other factor. Most states set a maximum amount payday lenders can charge, and in those states, Advance America charges that maximum. For example, in California, you pay $17 on every $100 you borrow.
Some states have more stringent restrictions. In these highly regulated places, we saw Advance America charge lower rates on average than other lenders in those same states. Even in the laxer states like Wisconsin, Advance America only charges $22 per $100 borrowed, which is still costly, though less so than other lenders in the same state. Depending on where you live, a loan through Advance America may be less expensive than one from a competitor.
Advance America also offers installment loans. These loans are available in higher amounts and have longer repayment periods than payday loans. However, over the life of the loan you end up paying a lot more in fees than you would for a personal loan through a bank.
Another option Advance America offers is a line of credit. This gives you some control over how much you need to pay back, and you only have to pay interest on what you use, not the entire amount. A line of credit may be the least bad option if you need immediate cash.
Though Advance America has store locations in many states, it doesn’t offer some of the additional financial services some other lenders do. You can apply for loans in-person, but you can’t cash checks or get help with taxes at an Advance America location.