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5 Tips for Getting Personal Loans With Bad Credit

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According to the latest statistics, 14 million Americans owe more than $10,000 in credit card debt. A personal loan can help you consolidate your debt or make a major purchase such as a new vehicle.

If you’re looking to obtain a personal loan but you have bad credit, there’s no need to be discouraged.

Read on for a list of five tips for getting personal loans with bad credit, so you can find the option that’s right for you.

1. Know Your Credit Score

Some personal loan borrowers don’t even know what their current FICO or credit score is. Before you start shopping for personal loans, find out your score. It’s the best way to get a better idea of where you stand.

Most lenders have a minimum requirement when it comes to credit scores. If yours is too low to meet those minimum requirements, you might get rejected for the loan.

You can get free access to your credit score through your bank, several free online services, or through your credit card company. This is also a good time to get your hands on a free copy of your credit report. Read the report carefully and make sure you contest any errors that you spot right away so they can be corrected.

Some bad credit loan lenders don’t have minimum credit score requirements. If you find that your score is low, then these types of lenders can be a great alternative.

2. Consider a Co-Signer

If you find that your credit score is low, you might have better approval odds with a co-signer. If you have someone you trust (like a family member or a close friend) with better credit and more income, they may be willing to co-sign the loan.

When you add a co-signer, the lender will look at both credit and financial profiles. A co-signer with a higher income and credit score can usually help to improve your approval odds.

Make sure you confirm that the lender allows co-signers before you apply. Not all personal loans offer the option to add one, so it’s important to confirm this before you fill out the application.

Keep in mind that the co-signer listed on the loan application will not have access to the loan funds or payment information. However, they are promising to repay the loan if you are unable to do so. If you don’t make payments, both of your credit scores could suffer.

3. Shop Around

Whether you’re buying a new home, applying for a credit card, or looking for a personal loan, you want to make sure you’re getting the best deal. When it comes to personal loans with bad credit, make sure you do some research.

Not all lenders are the same, and some may offer you much better terms and conditions. Take some time to compare several different lenders side-by-side based on your score.

If you do your homework ahead of time, you’ll have a much better chance of getting approved. You’ll also likely find the best possible option in terms of the interest rate and repayment terms.

It’s also important to look at customer reviews. These reviews will give you insight into others’ experiences and opinions on the lender before you sign on the dotted line.

Look carefully at the fine print of bad credit loans. Some may charge you an origination fee or prepayment fees that could cost you more in the long run.

4. Consider Your Monthly Payments

Before you obtain a personal loan, it’s vital that you know what your monthly payment will be. Make sure that this new payment fits within your current budget.

If you can’t squeeze these new payments into your budget, you could end up making your credit score worse. Always look at why you need a personal loan and what you plan to use it for before you apply.

If you’re getting a personal loan to consolidate debt, it could be a smart move. Use the money you get to pay off higher-interest debt to help you save over time.

One way to figure out what your payments might be is to use a personal loan calculator. These calculators are easy to use, and they’ll give you an advanced snapshot of your potential payments before you commit.

5. Get Prequalified for a Loan

Getting prequalified for a loan lets you determine what the loan amount, rates, and terms are that you might qualify for. The process allows you to do this without hurting your credit since you’re not submitting a full application.

In most cases, prequalification comes with a “soft pull” that won’t hurt your scores. Most lenders only do a “hard pull” when you actually apply for a loan. A hard credit pull can temporarily lower your score, so consider getting prequalified first.

Check with several lenders to find out which ones will allow you to prequalify. Next, look at several different options together to determine which lender you want to apply with. This is also a good time to compare fees and extra charges before you actually apply.

The option to prequalify allows you to shop around without your credit score taking a hit. Most lenders will let you finish the application process online, and it usually only takes a few minutes to complete.

Finding Personal Loans With Bad Credit

Remember these tips to help you determine which personal loans with bad credit will work for you. From checking your score to getting a co-signer, the best loans will give you the cash you need at a great rate.

For more information about our personal loans, contact the help desk at First Financial today.

Understanding the Different Types of Personal Auto Loans

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Buying a new vehicle is a great way to get reliable transportation no matter where you go. Currently, Americans owe more than $1.18 trillion in auto loans, and the number is climbing.

Luckily, you don’t have to get financing directly from a car dealership in order to purchase a new car.

Personal auto loans offer another way to obtain financing for your new car, so read on to learn more about the variety of types that might be available to you.

Secured Auto Loans

A secured auto loan is the most common form of loan for both new and used vehicles in the United States. These loans are secured by a lien on the vehicle and you can’t transfer the title until you’ve paid off the loan.

If you’re late on payments, your lender can repossess your car. The lender can also sell the vehicle in order to recover any additional money you owe on the balance.

These personal auto loans are usually offered by credit unions and banks. Since the loan is tied to the vehicle, you may get the best rates and terms with a secured auto loan.

Borrowers with a high FICO score or credit rating tend to get the best deals and the best rates. Some auto manufacturers also offer low rates on cars for those with good to excellent credit.

As for the best rates, you may find that the lower rates are available on newer cars. Used vehicles may have a bit higher rate, depending on the year the vehicle was made, the mileage, and whether it’s a certified pre-owned car.

Personal Auto Loans: Unsecured

An unsecured loan is not tied to an asset that can be repossessed, like a home or a vehicle. Some examples of unsecured loans include student loans, credit cards, and many basic personal loans.

If you’re looking for a vehicle that’s for sale by the owner, an unsecured personal loan might be a good choice. It may also be better if you want an affordable car that’s lower than what a traditional bank would finance.

This option also works best for buyers looking to purchase antique cars or collector vehicles. In most cases, these types of cars won’t qualify as collateral on a secured loan. If you’re unsure, check with your lender to determine what the restrictions are regarding age and mileage on vehicles that can be secured as collateral.

Direct vs. Indirect Financing

When it comes to getting loans for buying a car, you may hear the terms direct and indirect financing. Let’s break down the differences between the two.

Direct financing means that you’ll communicate directly with the borrower. These loans are usually given through credit unions, banks, and online lenders.

Your interest rate through direct financing is typically based on your credit rating and history. In this case, it’s recommended that you apply with the lender directly, secure your own financing, and then visit a dealership.

Indirect financing is usually arranged between you and the dealer. You’ll apply through the dealer’s finance office which might shop your application among several different lenders.

You can also get financing through the actual auto manufacturer, like Ford or Toyota to get lower incentive-based rates. It’s important to note that indirect financing might not secure you the best rate. Some car dealers increase the borrower’s APR and keep the difference for themselves.

Title Loans

The term title loan refers to a loan that is secured by your vehicle title so you can get cash in hand. Take note that most car title loans come with extremely high-interest rates.

If you don’t repay your title loan on time, the lender can repossess your vehicle. While these types of loans aren’t used to buy new vehicles, consumers should know that using them could put your current car at risk.

It’s best to stick to a personal loan if you need extra cash, even if it’s not for a new vehicle. Title loans can be expensive and can also put your vehicle at risk for repossession.

What do You Need for a Personal Auto Loan?

When you buy a house, the mortgage lender requires quite a lot of information in order to process the loan. The same applies to a personal auto loan, but you won’t need to supply quite as much.

In most cases, you’ll need to provide proof of income and employment to the lender or car dealer. This shows that you’re acting in “good faith” and that you’re capable of repaying the loan.

Most borrowers must also be 18 years of age or older. Be prepared to provide your driver’s license or some other form of official identification. Not only will this prove your age and address, but it also protects you against identity theft.

Some lenders don’t have a minimum credit score in order to secure an auto loan. However, remember that the higher your score is, the lower your APR will most likely be.

If you want to shave time off sitting in the dealership office, look for a personal auto loan you can apply for online. Most online lenders provide you with an answer within minutes.

Find the Right Loan Today

Whether it’s secured or unsecured, direct or indirect, knowing more about the different types of personal auto loans will help you prepare. With a bit of research, you can find the right type of loan to suit your vehicle-buying and financial needs.

If you’re ready to apply for an auto loan, be sure to visit First Financial or contact our help desk to find out more today.

How to Choose a Payment Processing System for Your Business

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About 20% of new companies fail before they have the chance to get off the ground. One of the main reasons why is that business owners can’t stay on top of their cash flow.

The best way to keep money coming through the door is to accept multiple payment options. That’s where the payment processing system comes into play.

These pieces of machinery allow companies to accept debit card, credit card, and ACH payments from consumers.

Depending on the type of system you invest in, you could also take inventory and perform other store functions on it. You only need to choose the right one. Continue reading to learn more.

Transaction Options

The first thing to consider when choosing a payment processor is the type of transactions you want to be able to accept.

If you own a restaurant and want to process takeout orders over the phone, you’re going to need a payment processing system that will allow you to enter a customer’s card information manually.

To take in-person payments, your system will have to accept both chip and magnetic strip cards.

Some people either hate taking their wallet into the store with them, or they forget it altogether. In both scenarios, they’ll ask if they can pay with their mobile phone.

By offering various payment processing methods, you’ll improve your overall cash flow and attract more customers.


Payment systems come with transaction fees, chargeback fees, monthly fees, setup costs, membership fees, and cancelation charges. While you shouldn’t pour too much money into your payment processor, you should try to keep costs as low as possible.

The best way to do this is to consider what kind of business you are. For example, If you own a large furniture store that takes a great number of high transactions, you’ll want to pick the payment system that comes with the lowest transaction fees.

Keep in mind that frequent high transactions could make you a high-risk business. This will come with naturally expensive high-risk merchant payment processing fees.

Holding Times

Holding times refers to how long it will take for money to appear in your business account after you make a sale. Even if the customer’s payment processes right away, it could take a few days for you to see the money. This is to account for chargebacks and refunds.

You can opt for a payment processing system that will allow for same-day deposits, but it will cost extra. Be sure to factor this into your normal monthly payments.

Point-of-Sale Capabilities

Many people think that payment processing services and POS (point-of-sale) systems are the same thing, but they are two very different machines. POS systems let business owners manage their inventory, create sales reports, and record payments. Many of them even allow for accounting integration.

This being said, there are some payment gateway systems that also have POS capabilities. Opting for it will come with added fees.

In some cases, you can integrate your already existing POS hardware into your payment processing system. You’ll need to make sure the two are compatible before you proceed.

Fraud Protection

There is almost no coming back from a data breach. If your payment system allows a fraudulent payment to go through, it could be the end of your business.

That’s why it’s crucial that you choose a payment system that offers quality fraud protection. Find a payment processing service that flags and rejects risky transactions.

They should also encrypt data during the time of the transaction and also encrypt any data that’s stored in your system.


Some payment gateways set a limit on the number of transactions that your business is allowed to process every month. Once you hit that limit, that’s it. You can’t process anymore.

For small businesses, this isn’t too much of a problem. For larger companies, however, it could put a plug in their entire operation.


Tying yourself into a long-term contract with payment processing services should be avoided if you can help it. You want to be able to drop out of the service if you find it doesn’t fit your business model.

Most services charge on a month-to-month basis and don’t require businesses to sign a contract. If a business owner decides to no longer use the service, they can cancel their account with no repercussions.

Some services will allow for cancelations but charge a termination fee. You’ll need to find out where a service stands before you commit.

Customer Support

For some businesses, live 24/7 support may be overkill. For others, it’s a necessity.

If you run on extended business hours or take payments from everywhere around the globe, you’ll be glad to have the extra support in the event your system goes down. If your system glitches up and stops allowing you to accept payments at a big weekend event, you could lose out on a lot of revenue.

Choosing the Best Payment Processing System for Your Company

If you’re going to accept card and ACH payments, you’ll need to invest in a payment processing system for your business. Doing so will allow you to give customers multiple payment options, which is better for your overall cash flow.

Before choosing a system provider, you’ll need to look at their fraud protection options, customer support, holding times, and transaction limits.

While many companies tack on expensive credit card processing fees, you can rest easy knowing we don’t. That means you’ll get to keep all of your profits! Go here to complete your merchant request form!

How to Know if You Are a High-Risk Merchant

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High-Risk Merchant Services

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Does your business run off a subscription-based model? Do you take in a large influx of expensive transactions? You might be classified as a high-risk merchant.

Being a high-risk business isn’t the end of the world, but it will make it more difficult to find payment processing options. This is especially true if you have a low personal credit score. Many account providers will turn you down due to fear of chargebacks and other negative reproductions.

Your business model is only one factor that will deter account providers. Check out this guide to learn for sure if you’re running a high-risk business.

What Is a High-Risk Merchant?

A high-risk business is one that credit card processing services and financial institutions deem likely to fail. While any company in any industry can be labeled as high risk, certain ones carry a more notorious reputation than others.

A high-risk business can still be successful, but it won’t have as many payment processing options as others. High-risk merchant account service providers charge these companies a lot more.

They have to meet stricter compliance requirements. Since these companies pose a higher risk for financial providers, they may have to put a portion of their profits into a rolling reserve.

Common High-Risk Industries

While the gambling and adult entertainment industries hold the highest record for being high-risk, there are others.

Most of these companies process expensive or high-volume transactions that are liable to chargebacks.

In the case of subscription boxes and gyms, people often cancel their memberships during times of economic uncertainty.

How to Tell If You’re Running a High-Risk Business

So, how do you tell if you have a high-risk merchant account? Again, the determining factor usually lies with your industry, but it’s not the only thing financial institutions consider.

They also look at your chargeback rate, personal credit score, transactions, sales model, and operations.

Chargeback Rates

One of the most common reasons why banks will label a company as a high-risk business is its chargeback rate.

Loan providers and payment processing services will determine if your company has a high chargeback rate by analyzing the behavior of your usual customers. If your employees spend most of their workday processing returns, there’s a good chance that you’re running a high-risk business.

The best way to reduce your chargeback rate is by implementing a strict return policy. This will make customers second guess investing in a product they either can’t or shouldn’t afford.

Questionable Products

Again, you may be considered high risk due to your industry. If you sell adult entertainment or drug paraphilia, some lenders may refuse to work with you for guilt by association.

Since the public perception of businesses of your nature is negative, lenders may not want to be seen supporting you.

International Operations in the US

If your company is located overseas, but you sell to customers in the US, there’s a good chance that you’ve been flagged as high risk. This is especially true if your country is notorious for credit card fraud.

Lenders will also look at the banking regulations in your country. If they’re relatively relaxed, that will be reason enough to consider you high risk.

Sales Model

There are some businesses that have questionable sales models. The ones that most people are wary of are MLMs. Half of them are a scam and the other half are questionable at best.

Even if your MLM is 100% legit, credit card processing companies may be hesitant to work with you.

Low Personal Credit Score

Before you open a business, you’ll need to work on your credit score. Having good credit will increase the chances of you getting approved for a loan that will help you get your startup off the ground.

You’ll also be less likely to get flagged as a high-risk merchant account. Business owners with low credit scores are thought to be irresponsible with their money. Payment processing services will assume they handle their business finances with the same care that they handle their own.

Large Transactions

Furniture stores, travel companies, and electronics stores all have one thing in common. They process expensive transactions every day.

After buying a new gaming console or couch, buyer’s remorse may set in. The customer will realize that they shouldn’t have bought the new item and return it. Too many chargebacks will result in the company getting flagged as a high-risk business.

Large doesn’t only mean expensive. Companies that process a high volume of transactions every day can also be considered high risk.

Subscription Businesses

Subscription businesses are their own special category. They’re almost always seen as high-risk.

Let’s say that you offer a month-long free trial. Chances are a large number of customers will forget to cancel their free trial, resulting in chargebacks and account suspensions.

Being a High-Risk Merchant Isn’t the End

Being considered a high-risk merchant can feel scary, but it isn’t the end of the world. While you won’t have as many payment processing and loan options, you’ll still have some.

We at First Financial believe that all merchants should have the chance for success. That’s why we approve almost 95% of all businesses, even those that are considered to be high-risk.

We offer plenty of secure online processing and debit card payment options. Go here to fill out a merchant services request form.

A Guide to the Different Types of Credit Cards

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Types of Credit Cards

You’re on a quest for the perfect credit card, but with a sea of options, how do you choose the right one?

Fear not, financial adventurer, as we journey to uncover the unique features of the most popular types of credit cards. This article will be your treasure map, guiding you through the world of credit cards with ease and clarity.

By understanding the differences between these cards and their benefits, you’ll be well-equipped to make an informed decision and unlock the potential of your wallet. Let’s dive in and discover the card that’s perfect for you!

Standard Credit Card

A standard credit card is a simple, no-frills option for everyday use. It provides a line of credit that allows cardholders to make purchases and pay them off later.

While it doesn’t offer rewards or cash back, it helps build or maintain credit and handle unexpected expenses.

Paying off the balance each month is essential to get the most from a standard credit card. That’s how you’ll avoid interest charges and keep credit use low.

Rewards Credit Card

You can earn points or miles for every dollar you spend with a rewards credit card. You can redeem these points for merchandise, travel, gift cards, or cash.

Many rewards cards offer bonus points in specific spending categories like dining or travel. That makes them perfect for those with high spending in those areas.

To maximize your rewards, consider using the card for everyday purchases. And pay off the balance each month to avoid interest charges.

Secured Credit Card

A secured credit card is a savvy choice for those wishing to repair or build their credit. This card type requires a cash deposit as collateral, determining the credit limit.

Cardholders can improve their credit scores by using the card responsibly and making on-time payments. After demonstrating responsible credit behavior, upgrading to an unsecured card and returning the deposit is often possible.

Prepaid Credit Card

A prepaid credit card is ideal for those who want to avoid overspending and keep their finances in check. These cards require the user to load funds onto the card before purchasing.

No credit checks or interest fees are involved, but reward options are generally limited. Prepaid cards are great for budgeting. They help teach teenagers about money management and avoiding debt.

Balance Transfer Credit Card

If high-interest debt is causing financial stress, a balance transfer credit card can help. These banking cards allow you to transfer debt from one card to another, often with a low or zero-interest introductory period.

By consolidating debt onto a single card, you can save on interest charges and simplify your monthly payments. Remember that balance transfer fees may apply, and paying off the debt before the promotional period ends is essential.

Student Credit Card

Credit card providers design specific financial options for college students.

A student credit card helps young adults build credit while pursuing their education. These cards offer lower credit limits and rewards programs tailored to students’ needs. For example, cash back on textbooks or dining.

A student credit card can help someone establish good credit habits early on. But it’s crucial to avoid overspending and always pay off the balance on time.

Business Credit Card

Business credit cards are a valuable tool for entrepreneurs and small business owners. They offer benefits like higher credit limits, expense tracking, and rewards programs tailored to business-related spending.

Separating business from personal expenses makes managing cash flow and monitoring financial performance easier.

Additionally, many business credit cards offer bonus rewards. That might cover office supplies, travel, and advertising. It makes them an excellent choice for growing your venture.

Airline Credit Card

Frequent travelers can benefit from an airline credit card. This card rewards users with miles for their preferred airline. These miles can be redeemed for flights, seat upgrades, lounge access, and more.

Many airline cards also include perks like free checked bags, priority boarding, and in-flight discounts.

These cards can offer substantial savings for loyal customers. However, it’s essential to consider the annual fee, blackout dates, and any restrictions on redemption.

Cash Back Credit Card

Cash-back credit cards return users a percentage of their spending as cash rewards. These cards often provide a flat rate on all purchases or tiered rates based on spending categories.

Using a cash-back card for everyday spending can accumulate significant savings over time.

It’s important to remember that rewards should not encourage overspending. Cardholders should always pay off their balance each month to avoid interest charges.

Low-Interest Credit Card

A low-interest credit card is an attractive option for those who occasionally carry a balance or plan to make a large purchase. These cards offer lower interest rates than other credit cards, making them more affordable in the long run.

However, it’s essential to remember that low interest doesn’t mean no interest. Paying off the balance as soon as possible is crucial to minimize interest charges.

Instant Approval Credit Card

Instant approval credit cards cater to those who need access to credit quickly. These cards provide an immediate decision, often within minutes of applying.

Approved applicants receive a temporary card number for immediate use while waiting for the physical card to arrive.

Remember that instant approval cards may come with higher interest rates and fees. So it’s essential to read the terms and conditions carefully before applying.

Store Credit Card

Store credit cards are designed for loyal customers of specific retailers. These cards offer rewards, discounts, and exclusive offers for shopping at the affiliated store.

Some store cards also provide special financing options for larger purchases. These cards can offer substantial savings for frequent shoppers.

But you must remain aware of the potential drawbacks, such as high-interest rates and limited usability outside the store. Always read the terms and conditions to ensure the benefits outweigh the costs.

Find the Perfect Option for You With All Types of Credit Cards

Finding the right credit card can significantly impact your financial journey. Now that you’ve explored the most popular types of credit cards, it’s time to take action.

Don’t wait—visit First Financial today and browse our wide selection of credit cards tailored to your needs. Make the smart choice and elevate your financial game with First Financial.

The Pros and Cons of a Cash Advance Loan

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About 33% of Americans now use cash advance apps.

You never know what life is going to through at you, and at some point, you might find yourself in a financial pinch. It’s good to have an emergency fund saved up, but if you need to get your hands on some money fast, a cash advance loan could be the best solution. They’re more widely available now than ever before, and easy for anyone to get.

In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of a cash advance loan, as well as the pros and cons of getting one. Keep reading for more.

What Is a Cash Advance Loan?

A cash advance loan is a loan that you can take out quickly and easily. You can find them from online lenders, and they’re a great solution if you need cash fast.

When compared to traditional loans that banks offer, cash advance loans are often a lot smaller. They tend to also have shorter terms, so they need to be paid back relatively quickly.

People usually get these loans when they need a sum of cash but don’t have the time to go through a standard loan application. At First Financial, we offer loans of up to $5,000, and you can have the money in your account in under 24 hours.

Pros of a Cash Advance

Cash advances have become very popular in recent years. Depending on your current situation, there are various benefits that could make a cash advance loan an ideal choice.

Fast Cash

The main benefit of a cash advance loan is that you can get the money you need fast. This is the main reason people tend to use them, and in most cases, you’ll get your money within a day of applying. A regular loan can take weeks or even months, so this is a much better solution if you need cash immediately.

No Credit Check Needed

This is another key reason that people go for cash advance loans. When requesting a loan from a bank or credit card issuer, they’ll want to do a credit check.

Not only will this affect your credit score, but they’ll expect your score to be a certain level. If it’s not high enough, they won’t approve your loan.

If you already have a low credit score, the last thing you need is to lower it further. Cash advance loans are less stringent, so they’re far more accessible to most people, and applying for one doesn’t harm your credit score.

Low Requirements

On top of your credit score, traditional lenders will have various expectations and checks before approving your loan. This often includes things like:

  • Your net worth
  • Your yearly income
  • Collateral for the loan
  • Origination fees
  • Employer and income verification
  • DTI (debt-to-income) ratio

When getting a cash advance loan, there are far fewer requirements. These can vary depending on the lender, and at First Financial, you just need a source of income (at least $800 a month), a bank account, and a valid email address. There’s no credit score requirement, so you just need to give us these details when you apply and we can get to work on sending you your loan.

Can Get You Out of a Jam

Some people apply for cash advance loans for things like holidays or cars so they can quickly get the money they need. Another reason, however, is for something unexpected.

If you suddenly have issues with your car, or an appliance in your home breaks, for example, you might not have the cash on hand to deal with things. You can take out a cash advance loan to pay for any repairs or other issues straight away, which could be ideal in a difficult situation.

Cons of a Cash Advance

While there are several benefits to cash advances, they are also some downsides. It’s important to consider these when looking at different loan options.

High APR

Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of cash advance loans is that they generally come with a higher APR (annual percentage rate) than other types of loans. These can vary a lot for all kinds of loans, so make sure you take a look at the details of the different choices available so you know what they are.

No Rewards

When using your credit card, there are various rewards that you might be able to get. This includes things like points, air miles, or cash. Credit works similarly to a loan, but often comes with bonuses like these.

When getting a loan, you’ll miss out on these extras. It’s worth remembering, however, that these credit card rewards aren’t the reason you’re applying for a loan in the first place, so they shouldn’t have a huge impact on your decision.

Interest Is Added Immediately

Depending on the options available, some loans won’t add interest from the start. With cash advance loans, however, interest is immediately applied. This is part of the tradeoff of being able to get access to your money so fast.

Finding the Right Cash Advance Loan for You

They’re not perfect, but a cash advance loan can be incredibly helpful. If you need cash fast, have a poor credit score, or don’t want to go through a standard loan application, a cash advance is a great solution.

First Financial offers cash advance loans to anyone that meets our basic requirements. You can apply for up to $5,000 and may be able to access the loan within 24 hours of your application. There’s no credit check—you just need to give us some basic details and we’ll be able to transfer the loan to your bank account.

Take a look at our Cash Advance page to see more details today.

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