Why You Should Avoid Payday Loans in Utah

Why You Should Avoid Payday Loans in Utah

You may have heard the payday loans are predatory, but why? In this period of economic downturn, more and more people are running into financial trouble. There are many different choices when it comes to choosing a loan to help you get back on your feet, but some options are better than others. 1st Choice Money Center cares about its customers, so we don’t want to see you get coerced into taking out a payday loan in Utah. Here is your guide to understanding the risks of taking out a payday loan.

Why You Should Avoid Payday Loans in Utah

What Is a Payday Loan?

A payday loan is a small, short-term, unsecured loan. The laws surrounding borrowing vary from state to state, but on average payday loans are capped at $500. In some states the limit is as high as $1,000, while in others it’s as low as $300. Payday loans get their name from their original purpose — to get you enough cash to make it to payday. As a result, the payday loan plus its financing is typically due within two weeks, or by your next paycheck, social security payment, or other cash deposit.

Why Do People Get Payday Loans?

An average of approximately 2.5 million households in the United States take out payday loans each year. The reason they’re so common is because unlike many other loans, payday loans often don’t require credit checks, steady income, or any proof that the borrower has the means to pay off the loan. They also allow the borrower to get cash right away. Although there are cheaper, safer alternatives to payday loans, many people don’t know about them.

Why Are Payday Loans Bad?

Payday loans have a bad reputation for a good reason. Payday loans can be extremely costly and difficult to pay off because of their high annual percentage rates (APR). It is not at all uncommon for APR for payday loans to be around 400%. In Utah, the average payday loan APR is 652%. For comparison, APRs on car loans are usually in the single digits or the teens, depending on the credit score of the borrower.

Payday loans also usually involve the borrower writing the lender a post-dated check for the full loan amount (including interest), or granting the lender permission to withdraw the amount from their bank account once the two weeks are up. If you can’t make the payment on time, the lender has the ability to simply cash the check or withdraw money from your account electronically.

Payday loans are so notorious for their predatory nature that they are restricted or illegal in 18 states and the District of Columbia.

What Is the Best Alternative to Payday Loans in Utah?

At 1st Choice Money Center, we offer installment loans as a safer alternative to payday loans in Utah. Like payday loans, our installment loans get you the cash you need right away, even with a bad credit score or no bank account. However, with our installment loans, you won’t feel pressured to pay it off in two weeks — you can take months, or even up to two years, to pay it off.

Beat the Heat on a Budget Without Payday Loans in Utah

Stay Cool on a Budget Without Payday Loans

Utah’s brutal summers combined with the high cost of running the air conditioning can be a big financial burden for Utah households on a budget. Whether you’re in need of expensive air conditioning repairs, or your monthly energy bill is giving you grief, there are ways to beat the Utah heat without breaking the bank.

Stay Cool on a Budget Without Payday Loans

Get Rid of Leaks

Utah summers can get up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the peak of summer, so if hot air is infiltrating your home through cracks in the windows and doors, you’re probably losing money when you run the air conditioning. A good way to tell where air might be leaking in is to hold a candle or lighter up to different places around the edges of doors and windows. If you see the flame or smoke flickering, that’s a sign that precious cool air is leaking out of your home. If getting new doors or windows is too costly right now, you can weather strip your home yourself. Plastic or rubber weather strips are cost-effective options.

It’s also important to seal up leaks surrounding a window air conditioner. Not only will these leaks run up your monthly energy bill, but they can also cause the buildup of moisture, which can start growing mold and deteriorating the window.

Using Fans

Central air conditioning cools the whole house down, even if you’re not using every room. Getting portable fans makes it possible to cool only the rooms that are in use, which will allow you to turn the air conditioning down, or even off. If you already have ceiling fans, opt to use these over air conditioning as often as you can. Unlike with central air conditioning, you can simply turn the ceiling fan off when you leave the room, which will help cut back on your energy bill.

Use the Great Outdoors to Your Advantage to Avoid Payday Loans in Utah

You don’t need an expensive pool membership to stay cool in Utah summers. Utah’s natural creeks, rivers, lakes, and streams are a great way to beat the heat and have fun at the same time. Going for a swim outdoors is a good option for families on a budget in particular, since school is out for the summer. Turn the air conditioning down, put on your swimsuit, and head to the nearest watering hole.

These tips are a good start for saving money in the summer, but they may not be enough for everyone. That’s why 1st Choice Money Center is here to help you make it through the sweltering summer with our short-term loan products. We offer title loans, personal loans, signature loans, and more. At 1st Choice Money Center, we care about getting you back on your feet, which is why we offer these alternatives to payday loans in Utah. The predatory nature of payday loans means that by taking one out, you’re running the risk of ending up in more financial trouble than when you started. Put your mind at ease by taking out a loan with 1st Choice Money Center today.

How to Get a Personal Loan in Utah or Idaho

payday loans

Let’s face it, we all come up a little short from time to time — when there’s too much month left at the end of the money. That’s when you need a personal loan in Utah or Idaho. 1st Choice Money Center can get you the money you need, before it’s too late.

payday loans

Why You Need Money

Making enough money to live keeps getting harder, and it’s not just because of COVID-19. Wages are at a historic low. Minimum wage has not gone up for 11 years, and during this time, the cost of living has gone up 20%. It’s like the economy is rigged against working people.

The result is often that we have trouble paying our bills. It’s upsetting when we’re behind on our bills, worrying that the lights or the water will be turned off. And as bad as those things would be, some others would be worse.

If you’re seriously behind on your mortgage, you could face foreclosure and end up having nowhere to live. If you miss a few car payments, your car might be repossessed, and then you’d have no way to get to work, earn money and pay your bills. It’s a vicious cycle and it’s stressful.

But sometimes putting a little money down on an overdue mortgage or car payment can hold off foreclosure or repossession another month. And in that month, you might be able to figure something out and save your home or car.

Personal Loans in Utah and Idaho

When you need to buy yourself some time — even if it’s just a few days — come to 1st Choice Money Center for a personal loan.

The best part about getting a personal loan from 1st Choice Money Center is that we don’t require you to pass a credit check to be approved. After all, if you had money in the bank and good credit, you wouldn’t need a loan, would you? If you have bad credit, personal loans are still an option for you at 1st Choice Money Center.

Anyone can fall on hard times, and there should be no shame associated with it. Here at 1st Choice Money Center, we offer title loans as well as personal loans. And although most lenders require a bank account to approve your loan, we do not.

Getting Back on Your Feet

We understand the special challenges that can come with living and working in Utah or Idaho. When you live in the city, work is easier to find, but rents and other expenses are unaffordable. When you live in a rural area, your expenses are lower, but if you lose your job or your hours get cut, it can be hard to find a quick and easy replacement for the income you lost.

In the meantime, you might need a helping hand, and that’s what we offer at 1st Choice Money Center. Contact us today to learn more about car title loans or personal loans in Utah or Idaho, or simply apply online today.

3 Facts You Must Know When Applying for a Title Loan in Utah

Facts You Must Know When Applying for a Title Loan

Getting a loan can be difficult if you don’t have a credit history, and it can be even more challenging when you have bad credit. After all, big credit lenders like banks have strict requirements to qualify for a loan. But all hope is not lost is you have a less-than-stellar credit score — you might be able to get a title loan from 1st Choice Money Center in Utah.

Also referred to as auto equity or car equity loans, this is a short-term loan that relies on your vehicle’s value. Just like payday loans in Utah, this type of loan usually has a term of 30 days. But the conditions may differ from one lending institution to another, as they are subject to the lender’s discretion.

Facts You Must Know When Applying for a Title Loan

What Do You Need to Get an Auto Equity Loan?

You need to bring your vehicle, title showing that you are its rightful owner, your driver’s license, and proof of income. Take note that the title must be lien-free, which means the car must be fully paid for. Otherwise, your application may be denied.

You do not need to have a good credit score to apply for a loan at 1st Choice Money Center. However, you do have to make sure that your requirements are complete and free from any issues. For instance, you must have a steady job. This demonstrates your ability to pay back the loan and interest.

Can You be Denied a Car Equity Loan?

The short answer is yes. If, upon assessment, we find that your car’s value is not high enough to be considered collateral, we may not be able to approve your application.

This usually happens to people looking to borrow an amount considerably higher than their vehicle’s equity. Other grounds for getting denied include not having a steady source of income or a problematic title.

Are Title Loans Legal in Utah?

Car title loans are legal in Utah, but both the borrower and the lender still must abide by the state rules and regulations that govern them. You can look into the Title Lending Registration Act in Chapter 24 of the Utah Code to learn more about these laws.

If you are new to auto equity loans or lending products in general, going to a reputable lender will take the guesswork out of choosing the best one for you. At 1st Choice Money, we have a wide range of low-interest loan offerings to cater to every need. We have branches all over Utah and Idaho, making it convenient to visit whenever you need cash fast. Check out the one nearest you!

3 Things to Consider When Choosing a Loan Provider

3 Things to Consider When Choosing a Loan Provider

Acquiring loans is no walk in the park. Whether these are title loans or payday loans, it’s important to choose a lending company that can help you come up with the best financial decision for you. But due to Covid-19, choosing a lender for any personal loans in Utah now poses certain bottlenecks that potential clients have to navigate.

Achieving a seamless loan system with your choice of lender is one those hurdles. While your consultants, family and friends may give you valuable suggestions and advice, the final decision lies in your hands to choose the best lender in Utah. Thus, we’ve listed three things to consider in your hunt for the best lenders.

3 Things to Consider When Choosing a Loan Provider

1. Reputation – Just like other lending companies, lenders leave traces, and most of the time these backgrounds can be validated through crowd sourcing or online research. You may choose to ask friends or even read reviews to see the impression and experience of a particular lender’s past clients. Outstanding customer service is a strong indicator. Your loan officer should provide you with valuable updates throughout the loan process to sustain your trust and confidence about your loan decisions.

2.  Affordability – Whether it’s big or small personal loans in Utah, fees among lending companies in the area may differ from lender to lender. These should not be mistaken for interest rates. Interest rates change over time and are usually related to clients’ financial standing, as well as the current climate of the lending industry. Fees refer to the price of a lender’s services. It is best to choose a lender with no hidden fees, so you can be stress-free throughout the loan, knowing that each payment brings you one step closer to becoming debt free.

3.  Services and Offerings – If you have never taken out loans, you will likely have lots of questions, including, does the lender offer the loan programs I need? There are common loan programs from dependable Utah lenders, but each may have slightly different requirements if the company has imposed additional overlays. There may also be particular loan types that are only available from certain lenders, including title loans in Utah and niche offerings for clients with unique needs who may not qualify for some of the loan programs.

Your choice of lender will have a huge impact on your customer experience throughout the life of your loan. Hence, it’s important to seek expert advice regarding your loan and its structure. Once you find an expert who has the experience and credentials you’re looking for, discuss your financial goals as well as your immediate needs to come up with the best loan services, be it car title loans or even bad credit personal loans. To know more details about our lending services, 1st Choice Money Center.

Being Realistic About Money Management

being realistic money management

For numerous individuals and families, particularly those on a tight budget, money management is a vital theme. Referring to areas like budgeting, investing, saving and otherwise overseeing your financial capital, money management is important for both short-term and long-term financial health.

At 1st Choice Money Center, we’re here to help those who have run into short-term money management issues with a variety of installment loans, auto title loans, signature loans and other alternatives to predatory payday loans (which we refuse to offer to clients). These solutions will help get you back on your feet if you’re dealing with limited financial struggles; there are also several money management strategies we recommend to assist you in this area. Here’s a realistic look at money management for those who do not have the widest budget.

being realistic money management

Handling Raises

If you’ve recently received a raise in your income, firstly congratulations! Secondly, it’s time to be smart about how you utilize that money.

In particular, some who lack money management skills have a tendency to overspend based on a recent raise. They assume they have more money now, so why not treat themselves? And while this sort of thing is okay in moderation, too much of it will become a major issue. Rather than turning a raise into a chance to spend more, save your additional money and put it toward future budgeting needs.

Track Your Money

Throughout any area where you budget or utilize money regularly, keep track of your spending, debts, assets and more. This starts with tracking your accounts and other funds through online banking and related methods, but continues with the use of things like spreadsheets, check registers or even newer phone apps that are meant to help you track spending and budget. One advantage of modern technology here is the ability to not only note your past spending, but also lay out how you expect your finances to be arranged in the future.

Use Lists

Speaking of tracking, utilize lists for this and similar purposes. Many of us keep a grocery list when we shop to keep us on-task – this same theme can be applied to numerous other spending areas to ensure you don’t go over budget and aren’t tempted by eye candy at the various stores or locations you enter.

Know Your Triggers

Finally, smart money management involves knowing yourself. Are you unable to resist the urge to spend money at a certain store, on a certain kind of food or in any other setting? Look for the areas and triggers that are causing you to spend above budget, and look for ways you can limit this behavior – whether it’s not going by these locations on your way home, putting limits on certain cards or other tactics.

For more on how to be realistic about money management, or to learn about any of our short-term loan programs, speak to the staff at 1st Choice Money Center today.

Holiday Expenses: Discounts, Limiting and Secret Santa

holiday expenses discounts

In parts one and two of this multi-part blog series, we’ve been going over holiday budgeting and shopping tips for those with tight financial situations. This season can be stressful for those in this position as they look to buy great gifts for their friends and family despite budgeting concerns, but the right basic techniques will help you find great presents and bring in holiday cheer without breaking the bank.

At 1st Choice Money Center, we’re here to help those who are in temporary financial binds. We offer several short-term loan products, from signature loans to car title loans and many other high-quality alternatives to predatory payday loans (which we do not offer). Today’s final entry in our series will dig into a few more themes for keeping your holiday spending within reasonable ranges while still maximizing your enjoyment of the season.

holiday expenses discounts

Discount Events

There are a number of potential locations for buying holiday gifts, and these are not limited to stores or malls. Particularly for those looking for discounts and deals, there are a few other options.

One is the yard sale, which is less common during the winter but does still happen. Be sure to take proper COVID precautions if you do attend a yard sale, including wearing a mask and distancing from others. You may also consider flea markets and related locations, which you can search on Google and Facebook Marketplace. These are often great resources for finding quality gifts without spending a ton.

Gift Limiting

In other cases, you may have to consider limiting your gift numbers or budget for certain areas. If your extended family typically buys gifts for one another, for instance, but you and some others in the group are tight on funds, the family as a whole should discuss some general limits so no one feels embarrassed about purchasing a less pricey gift. Setting a reasonable limit helps eliminate any of this shame, plus ensures everyone gets a gift that’s at least somewhat similar in value and there’s no jealousy to worry about.

Secret Santa

One specific method for limiting gifts that many families, office groups or others take: Secret Santa, which involves each person in a given group being assigned someone else to buy a gift for – but this is the only person in this group you buy for. This is another area where the group will typically place a dollar limit on the purchase, and then everyone will be randomly assigned their person to buy a gift for.

For more on how to save money during holiday shopping and budgeting areas, or for more on our installment loans and other short-term loans for those with budgetary concerns, speak to the staff at 1st Choice Money Center today.

More Ways to Lower Your Holiday Gift Expenses

lower holiday gift expenses

In part one of this multi-part blog series, we went over some basic tips for those on a somewhat tight budget this holiday season. While the holidays involve increased spending for many in areas like gifts and special meals, those struggling with their finances are regularly looking for ways to celebrate the season without going overboard on their costs.

At 1st Choice Money Center, we’re here to help. Not only do we offer a variety of short-term loans, from auto title loans to signature loans and several other personal loan types, but we also provide our clients with basic expertise and tips on how to manage their money throughout the year, including during holiday season. Today’s part two of our series will dig into a few more areas to keep a close eye on with regard to holiday spending.

lower holiday gift expenses

Cards Over Gifts

Are you the type who likes sending some kind of holiday greeting or gift to a large number of people in your life? If so, and if you’re looking to keep the budget reasonable, one great method here is only selecting pricy gifts for the top few people (usually family members) on your list – then sending cards or greetings to everyone else.

This is a way to let people know you’re thinking of them without running up a huge spending tab. To go the extra mile, hand-write each individual card or note, showing friends and family that while you may not have endless funds to devote to them, you’re giving them the gift of your time and effort.

Online Discounts

One area that’s relatively obvious, but that we wanted to mention anyway, is taking advantage of online discounts. Various “Black Friday” sales and deals begin as long as a month before Thanksgiving for many online retailers, and there are numerous avenues to finding great discounts on the items you’re looking for. Many are able to save upwards of 50% on what they would have spent at another time of year, all without leaving the computer.

Wrapping Themes

For those you do purchase gifts for, a handy money-saver is in the realm of wrapping. Instead of spending big on brand new paper and other design elements, head over to a local dollar or thrift store – they’ll have numerous ideal wrapping options, many of which look good-as-new despite costing a fraction of other options. And as we noted above, if you combine these themes with hand-written notes and personal care, it will show those you’re buying gifts for that you truly care about them even if you haven’t spent a fortune on their gift.

For more on how to budget properly for holiday shopping, or to learn about any of our personal or installment loans to help with financial strain this time of year, speak to the staff at 1st Choice Money Center today.

Early Budgeting and Themes for Holiday Shopping, Part 1

budgeting themes holiday shopping

The weather outside may not quite indicate holiday season, but take a look at the calendar – it’s practically right around the corner. For those who like to purchase significant gifts and cards for friends and family during the holiday portion of the year, especially those who are tight on funds for any reason, it’s nearing time to begin budgeting for this theme.

At 1st Choice Money Center, we’re proud to offer a variety of short-term loans to assist those in need of a bit of financial boost, from car title loans to installment loans, signature loans and many other alternatives to payday loans – which are predatory and not offered here. In addition to providing many clients with a financial outlet to assist them with minor expenses like holiday spending, we’re also happy to offer tips and expertise on budgeting properly for this time. This multi-part blog series will go over a wide swath of approaches we recommend.

budgeting themes holiday shopping

Tighten Up Now

You might be thinking: It’s only October! Why begin holiday budgeting so early?

Well, because every penny counts, especially for anyone dealing with financial strain. Funds you save now on top of your normal budgeting will feel like found money when you need them for holiday gifts or decorations. In addition, settling yourself into a general theme of frugality is a great way to save a few bucks here and there and get into this helpful pattern.

Budget and Basic Lists

On top of being more frugal and looking for savings wherever possible leading into holiday season, take a few minutes well ahead of time to go over a general list of things you’ll want to purchase. Start with major gifts for those closest to you and work your way down to those who you only want to send cards or other greetings to. This will help you avoid impulse spending when the time comes, a major factor in saving money around holiday time.

Once you have a decent grasp of your general list, begin pricing out items and setting a budget. If you discover your list is too extensive for your budget, you have plenty of time to consider it and pare things down.

Budgeting Tools

There are a couple excellent modern tools available to assist you with holiday budgeting:

  • Online research: From online shopping to the ability to compare prices between several brick-and-mortar outlets without ever leaving home, online research is enormously beneficial.
  • Budgeting apps: There are a number of budgeting apps out there, from general ones to those specific to the holidays. They allow you to set budgets, track your spending down to the dollar and even receive automatic updates.

For more on budgeting early for the holidays, or to learn about how any of our short-term loan products may assist you here, speak to the staff at 1st Choice Money Center today.

Loan Process for Those With Poor Credit Ratings, Part 2

loan process poor credit ratings

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some general tips on how to obtain a loan despite having a poor credit score. Credit score is a big factor in obtaining loans, to be sure, but there are loan types and methods to take to secure loan funds even if your credit is not in the place you’d like it to be.

At 1st Choice Money Center, we’re here to help. We offer several excellent loan types for those in various situations, from car title loans to numerous bad credit personal loans and alternatives to predatory payday loans. In today’s part two of our series, we’ll go over a few additional tips we can offer for obtaining a loan despite a bad credit score or history.

loan process poor credit ratings

Prove Repayment Capability

There are some cases where your credit score may be in the process of being rebuilt, but is still on the low end – but meanwhile, your overall financial situation has improved significantly. If you can prove you will be able to repay a loan amount based on new income changes, bank statements and related factors, there’s a better chance you’ll be lent the funds you need.

One possible related alternative here is having a cosigner, or someone who helps you guarantee the debt will be paid back. This must be someone with whom you have mutual trust, however, as a failure from you to repay the loan will land on your cosigner when creditors come looking for their funds.

Look Out for Scams

Sadly, there are a number of predatory individuals and companies who attempt to prey on those with poor credit scores or other financial deficiencies. Many of these will offer “payday” loans that have been recognized as predatory, while others will stick to a variety of outright advance-fee loan scams that pull money straight out of your pocket. If you’re unsure about a given lender, contact your state’s Department of Banking or Department of Financial Regulation – or the Better Business Bureau.

Reputable, Quality Lender

Down similar lines, it’s important to make sure you’re taking your loan out from a quality lender who not only has a strong reputation, but also offers the ideal loan program for you. There are several such programs, and which is best for you will depend on several factors, including not only your credit score but also other financial and need factors. A quality lender like ours will help you evaluate your situation and choose the best loan option based on it.

For more on how to obtain a loan despite not having ideal credit, or to learn about any of our signature loans, installment loans or related services, speak to the staff at 1st Choice Money Center today.