If you are considering taking out a payday loan or cash advance, you will need some basic documentation and verifiable income to qualify. In addition to proof of your age, address and banking information, you will also want to have a thorough understanding of the payday loan process, so you do not fall victim to common pitfalls like electronic theft and extremely high interest rates.
You Must Show ID
According to the U.S. Government's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, you must have valid identification to take out a payday loan. In many cases, your driver's license can serve as your identification, though other government-issued documents like a non-driver identification card or military ID will typically also work. Additional identification requirements vary from lender to lender. Some may require additional identity documents -- like a bill confirming your name and address as shown on your ID -- before issuing the loan.
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Be Prepared to Verify Your Income
Payday lenders want to be sure that you have enough income to pay back the loan, so be prepared to verify your income during the application process. In many cases, one or two recent pay stubs are all the proof you will need. However, some lenders will accept a recent bank statement, business contracts or pension documentation to verify your income. Other income verification documents, depending on the lender, may include tax documents showing self-employment income, documentation of a fixed income like social security or disability payments, or a court order showing that you are entitled to child support or alimony payments.
Know Your Bank Information
Because the lender will automatically withdraw your payments from your checking account, you must have an active bank account to receive a payday loan. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau specifies that you must have a checking account to receive this type of loan, but some lenders will accept a savings account or money market account instead. Regardless of the type of bank account you have, your payday lender will require your bank's routing and account numbers to electronically withdraw your payment. If you have a checking account, you can find these numbers along the bottom of your check; the routing number is nine digits, followed by the account number. If you have a savings account, contact your bank for the routing and account numbers.
In most states, you must be at least 18 years old to receive a payday loan, and your lender may use your identification to verify your age. Other examples of additional requirements include a working and verifiable telephone number so the lender can reach you, and proof that you are not deployed in active military service or otherwise subject to upcoming relocation. Requirements vary considerably from lender to lender, so check with your lender for any specific requirements they may have.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau warns that payday loan scams are common, and scammers may simply use the bank account information you provide to take any funds you already have. More commonly, payday loans carry extremely high interest rates; these rates may make it difficult or impossible to repay the loan in full. Be sure to exercise extreme caution when selecting a payday lender, and only provide your financial information to an established lender that you trust.