Many consumers are concerned about doing any type of financial transaction online. They’ve heard story after story of someone losing their identity or getting money taken from their account. But, do you know that many borrowers turn to online services when they’re looking for a title loan? You’re in need of and you know you’ve got equity in several of your assets, including your car. You’ve heard of car title loans, and that they can often be accomplished in just a few business days (or even a single day).
Head online and you’ll see that there is a lack of companies that offer car title loans online. There are the instant-apply options guaranteeing funding in minutes or hours, and the more traditional lenders with a guaranteed safe and easy application process. Which should you use?
Before you even begin to narrow down the options, you may already be wondering if it is even a wise idea to apply for a car title loan online. After all, there is that endless array of news stories that discuss this breach of security at one credit or lending service and another breach at a major retailer, and it can start to make it seem foolhardy to apply for anything online, let alone to apply for a car title loan online.
The long and short of it is this: Just as you would apply for any variety of financial service online (a credit card, personal loan, and even a mortgage), it is entirely safe if you work with a legitimate lender.
Defining a Legitimate Lender
That takes us to the next step in answering the question posed in the title above; whether it is safe to apply for a car title loan online. That step is to determine just what it means to describe a car title lender as legitimate.
There are few ways you can protect yourself. Here are some tips on what to avoid so you can get on the right financial path:
- They ask for a payment in advance of granting the loan – This is a big red flag and a clear indicator that you’ll want to work with a different lender.
- They do not appear anywhere in your state’s required agencies – Contact your state’s attorney general or a financial registration agency (sometimes called a banking oversight agency). If that lender is not registered with ANY state agencies, they are not legitimate and working, technically, outside of the law.
- They don’t provide a loan contract for your review – If the lender is of the “sign it now,” variety and does not allow you any time to review a loan contract (or take it for review by a lawyer), it is best to steer away from them. They may be legit, but the use of high-pressure methods that force you into signing immediately are often signs of trouble.
- Be aware of copycats – Does a lender’s website share a distinct resemblance to that of a familiar financial entity? It is not unusual for scammers to take names and build websites that seem legitimate because you automatically affiliate them with the lender whose branding and language they’ve copied.
- Be aware of the “overly slick” – A very professional website full of informational articles, blogs, and other features can make even the most dubious lender look good. Don’t judge a book from its cover, and take the time to perform a bit of due diligence before you apply for a car title loan online.
- They use a PO Box – This, initially, seems irrelevant, but if there is no street address listed for a lending company, it has to be seen as a warning sign of larger potential problems.
- The BBB has bad things or nothing to say – The Better Business Bureau is a free and easy resource in your quest to find a reliable company with which to apply for a car title loan online. If the company has negative issues assigned to it, or there is no information, avoid the lender
In addition to these issues, it is a good idea to take things all the way and dial any phone numbers provided to test out their customer service and the legitimacy of the company. Look for an email address with a corporate connection. For example, if the email an address that might be a traditional email, think Hotmail or Gmail, it is one to avoid. You can also go to consumer affairs sites like RipOffReport and ConsumerAffairs to see what they have to say about the firm.
You can safely apply for a car title loan online if you ensure it is not with a scammer. Trust your instincts, but also use the different tactics above. That old adage still applies – if it looks too good to be true, it most likely is – and it can be easy to fall for a slick website and well-written pitch. Ignore the gloss and do the investigating. You never want a scammer to obtain information like a social security number, VIN, and financial information.
Once you find a reputable company like HyperLend, see who makes the best offers (rates, turnaround times, and so on), and enjoy using what is unarguably one of the easiest approaches to obtaining financing – a car title loan you applied for online.
Meta: Is it safe to apply for a car title loan online? Learn about legitimate lenders and how to spot an unsafe site when seeking a car title loan.