There are no shortage of online payday loans for people with bad credit. And why wouldn’t there be? This is an industry that preys on the insecurity of America’s financially irresponsible, an industry that stands with a smile and an offer of good fortune when we’re in our darkest moments, only to make those moments darker.

There is no shame in being tempted by a payday loan. There is no shame in having a payday loan either. These companies exist for a reason and if used responsibly, there is nothing wrong with them. But while they claim to exist as a way of offering people an advance on their paycheck, they are actually there to take money from people who are at financial breaking point.

If you find yourself in a difficult situation, your first step should be to exhaust all other options. Your next step should be to make absolutely sure that any short-term loan you take out can be paid back in time—far too many debtors only focus on the now, as if hoping that a new job or a lottery win will land on their doorstep next week. Only when you have applied that rationality to the situation should you progress to payday loans for bad credit.

We may come across as overly harsh, but it’s only because we know what it’s like to be in this situation and we know that these loans can exacerbate it. So before you review our options for the best bad credit payday loans, take a look at these alternatives.

Alternatives to Bad Credit Payday Loans

No Credit Payday Loans

One of the problems with payday loans is that they are everywhere. We have cut back on them to an extent in this country, but if you came to this article via a Google search there’s a good chance you skipped over dozens of seemingly irresistible bad credit payday loans.

That in itself is worthy of praise, because it’s hard to resist temptation when you’re crippled by debt. So now that you’ve made it this far, take a look at these alternatives to bad credit payday loans before deciding if you actually need to take that giant leap into the dark side of credit.

Payday Loan Alternative 1: Peer to Peer Loans

Payday Loans with Bad Credit

The peer to peer lending industry feels new, but it has actually been around since 2005. It has been overshadowed by other credit options and big banks, and lenders have tried to turn the public away from it, but the industry is strong and growing year on year.

With P2P lending you’re borrowing direct from an individual, with the transaction being facilitated and mediated by an online platform. You get the money that you need at an interest rate that you can afford, and wannabe lenders everywhere can provide you with a little money and get some additional cash in return.

It’s a win-win, providing options for people with bad credit as well as people who want to help and use their money to generate more income than a savings account ever could. The best peer to peer platform right now is Lending Club, but you can also try Alliant and Upstart.

Payday Loan Alternative 2: Credit Unions

A credit union operates in a similar way to a bank, but it is owned by its members and not a faceless corporation, with those members sharing in the profits. They tend to be more understanding, they have fewer restrictions and they might be able to help you out with a bad credit loan if you’re in need.

To learn more about them and to find one in your area (they typically operate regionally and will only lend within that area) then visit ASmarterChoice.org.

Payday Loan Alternative 3: Ask Family and Friends

Poor Credit Payday Loans

Think back to a time when you were financially comfortable, or relatively so. If a friend had knocked on your door saying that they were in trouble and needed as much money as you could give, how much would you give?

The answer for most of us, even those who have never classified themselves as “rich”, would be in the thousands, and for others it would be at least hundreds. And we wouldn’t have an issue giving to people we love, especially if we know that they would do the same for us and that they will pay us back when they can.

You are in that situation now so you need to swallow your pride and start asking around. One friend might be able to spare a couple hundred, another may give you $30 or $40. But if you add it all together then you should have more than you need. Just make sure you create a written agreement to pay them back.

If you are using them as an alternative to a bad credit payday loan, you could even pay them back in a week or two when your paycheck arrives.

The Best Bad Credit Payday Loans

Payday Loans Alternative

Now that we’ve exhausted all other options, it’s time to consider just what bad credit payday loans are available. We have listed a few of the better options below. Inclusion on this list should not be seen as a recommendation or endorsement. We’ve made it clear that we’re not at all supportive of this industry and the work that these companies do, we just want to give you the option to make your own mind up.

Make sure you study the terms in detail and do your sums before agreeing to anything. You should also check with our guides to Student Loan Forgiveness and How to Repair Credit to see if there is a way to decrease financial responsibility and improve your credit score.

  • OneMain: A good option for debtors with poor credit, OneMain have some reasonable APRs, although they can go as high as 35.99%
  • Avant: An unsecured personal loan with an array of options and interest rates that begin at just under 10%.
  • NetCredit: These APRs begin at a very high 34% and can climb even higher, going to 155%. They may give you more options if you have really bad credit, but they also make you pay for it.
  • BadCreditLoans.com: This is not actually a payday loan service, but rather it connects you with lenders who are happy to lend you money based on your financial circumstance.
  • PersonalLoans.com: This site also operates as a service allowing lenders to put their suggestions direct to the customer. The loans here can go as high as $35,000.