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Best San Antonio Payday Loans of 2017

After more than 100 hours comparing payday lenders in San Antonio, we found the best options for consumers.

Payday Loans San Antonio

Why Use a Payday Loan?

There may be a time in your life when you need to borrow money on your paycheck to make ends meet temporarily. That's how the payday loan came to exist, and it's a good business if you're on the lending side because of the extremely high interest rates. These types of businesses specifically target those with no credit or bad credit who have no other options. We've spent more than 600 hours researching and reviewing payday loan companies over the past several years so we can nix the really sketchy ones and spotlight the best payday loans available to you in San Antonio. If you need more information about payday loans in San Antonio, take a look at our articles on San Antonio payday loans.

Best for Online Payday Loans: LendUp




Ever since cities in Texas started tightening the ordinances for payday loan companies, several of the brick-and-mortar storefronts have gone out of business. Online payday loan services have popped up in their place. It turns out that this can be a huge convenience in San Antonio, especially because many payday loan companies also relocated outside of city limits to avoid the regulations. The best online payday lenders offer similar rates to competitors, and you can get funds as soon as the next business day. Make sure you choose an online loan company and not a website posing as one. Some of the sites out there are just lead generators that are paid by lenders to get your contact information, so this could lead to dozens of unwanted phone calls or emails.

Best for Unemployed Persons: Check 'n Go




If you're looking for a cash advance from a payday loan company, then you already know how difficult it is to get a standard loan, or a credit card, if you don't qualify for various reasons, such as no credit history, low credit score or no job. When you're not working, and instead living on some sort of assisted allowance, such as government benefits or alimony, it's hard to get anyone to give you a chance. You can find a payday loan company that's willing to work with you if you can at least prove the monthly income.

Best for Flexible Terms: Fig




A payday loan is exactly what it sounds like: money you borrow and pay back on your next payday. So, it's typically a 14-day schedule. Some lenders offer 30-day terms, but usually that's as flexible as they come. You can find some companies that will advance you cash on your paycheck as an installment loan, so you have longer term limits. This allows you to pay back what you've borrowed a little at a time, but all the while paying the principal down, along with the interest and fees. This could end up being slightly less expensive than rolling over an existing payday loan, or taking out another.

Best for Frequent Borrowers: RISE




Most financial advisors would tell you to never, ever use a payday loan when you need to borrow money. However, it can't always be helped. Payday loans are expensive, and if you use them often, you're sort of just throwing money away. If it's the only way you can borrow money, and you expect to need to do it often, then you may as well choose a company that makes it less expensive for you, and beneficial in other ways. Some payday loan companies online that work with San Antonio residents can offer you lower annual percentage rates (APR) after you successfully pay back your first loan.

Best for Immediate Cash: Texas Car Title & Payday Loan Services




Although online cash advance companies are now viable options for payday loans, they're still limited in a way that storefronts are not. If you get an online loan, you have to wait for the next business day to get the money. Sometimes you just can't wait 24 hours for the cash, so thankfully there are San Antonio stores that let you apply in person and get the money on the same day. There are no hidden fees or other requirements to get your borrowed money immediately, so this could be a huge convenience for you.

Payday Loans in San Antonio: Read Before You Borrow

Payday loans are a tricky business that recently came under serious scrutiny by local governments. In San Antonio, lawmakers wanted to make sure residents were protected from the predatory payday loan companies that seemed to be on every city street corner. In 2012, strict restrictions were put into play for all payday loan companies, whether local or online, and this is in addition to the state and federal rules. All Credit Access Businesses, or CABs, must register with the city to receive a certificate which allows them to do business in San Antonio. Also, you cannot borrow more money than you could reasonably repay. So, limits were placed on the loan amount, per your income. That means you can only borrow up to 20 percent of your gross monthly income. Car title loans are under similar restrictions: You can only borrow up to 3 percent of your annual income, or 70 percent of the car's value, whichever figure is lower.

Here’s an example:  

  • You make $34,000 annually, about $2,800 monthly
  • Payday advance max: $560
  • Title loan max: $1,020 (based on annual income)

One of the problems with payday loans is that you can get stuck in a loop of paying off the interest and fees of a loan, but never chip away at the principal, and then you're required to do a rollover, which tacks on more fees and interest rates. San Antonio government leaders wanted to put an end to that, or at least limit it, so loans must be paid back in no more than four installments. Plus, if you renew your loan, you can only do so three times.

Perhaps one of the best requirements by the San Antonio ordinance is that the repayments must be set up in such a way that you pay down the principal by 25 percent. You need to keep in mind, though, that there are no federal, state or local laws put in place to limit CAB fees or interest rates. The companies are required to make the fee schedule clear to the borrower, but we found that some try to make a payday loan look like a better option than other financial options.

Borrower Beware: A Hard Cycle to Break

The biggest risk with payday loans is that you could easily fall into a cycle of borrowing money, repaying and then borrowing again to cover the bills that you needed the loan for. And in the end, you're paying a huge premium just for the privilege to borrow money. Not only is it a dangerous loop – it could lead to bad credit.

Payday loans with no credit check in San Antonio are easy to come by. For the most part, payday loan companies only care about your credit when you default on a loan. So, they'll report to credit agencies when you don't pay, but not when you're a faithful customer who never misses a payment. It can be frustrating, but there are some payday loan companies online that make it a point to help you build credit. It can be a double-edged sword, though, because there's a chance that a $1,000 loan hitting your credit report, along with a note that it was maxed out immediately, can look bad to some lenders.

Generally, you should not use payday loans as a long-term financial solution. It isn't a great way to build credit, and you're paying literally 30 times more in annual percentage rate (APR) with some companies than you would with a bank or credit union loan.

CAB Fee: What Is This Extra Cost?

Earlier you learned that a CAB is a Credit Access Business. You may also see CSO, which stands for Credit Services Organization. All payday loan and title loan businesses must register with San Antonio and allow the city to inspect their stores to make sure they're in accordance with the rules outlined in the ordinance.

If you study the fees and interest rates, you'll notice something labeled "CAB fee," whether you take out a payday loan online or locally in San Antonio. The CAB is sort of a middleman that finds a lender that's willing to give you money. Then the CAB acquires the loan and passes it along to you. For its work, the CAB charges you a fee that's usually somewhere around $15 for every $100 you borrow, but it can be pricier. The only reason the amount stays somewhat low is competition – otherwise there is no regulation on the charge. The industry-average APR for a payday loan is about 391 percent, for a 14-day loan, which is ridiculously high anyway, but it often gets much higher.

Single-payment payday loan example:

  • Loan company XYZ offers: $300
  • Loan length: 14 days
  • CAB fee: $45
  • Interest charge: $1.31
  • Total payment: $346.31
  • APR: 402.46%

Taking out a single-payment loan over only 14 days is actually not that bad. When you pay everything back, you're paying a little more than 15 percent of what you originally borrowed. However, once you get into longer loan periods and larger amounts of money, you're looking at lower overall APR sometimes, but higher fees, and you could be paying as much as 193 percent of the amount you borrowed. That's almost double.

Single-payment payday loan (with rollovers) example:

  • Loan company XYZ offers: $500
  • Loan length: 30 days (rolled over to three months)
  • CAB fee: $150 x 3
  • Interest rate: $15.87
  • Total payment: $965.87
  • APR: 378%

At times, a payday loan can get you out of a tough bind. When you have an emergency, sometimes it's the only place you can turn after you've been turned down for other loan options, credit cards, and friends and family. You must arm yourself with the knowledge of what these loans mean, which is high fees and rates, and it could be difficult for you to pay off what you owe without having to borrow again. San Antonio tries to help with regulations and provisions to protect you from businesses that do not care about you. However, you could still rack up overdraft fees and late fees, or you could hurt your credit score if you default on a loan.

If you can find an alternative loan solution to a payday cash advance, you should. If a payday loan is the only option, then these San Antonio lenders offer the fairest rates and fees compared to the national APR average.