Taking out a title loan is never a good idea, but if you’re going to do it anyway, it’s always a good idea to do your due diligence and know who and what you’re dealing with before you show up at the store ready to part with the title to your car. AutoCashUSA is a third-party broker that helps you find a title lender conveniently located near you. As such, they work with a number of lenders, which means that this review is more about their reputability as a broker and not their reputation or policies as a lender.
Wait. What’s a Title Loan Again?
A title loan is a small dollar loan that you can get in a matter of minutes, even if you have a credit score that’s impossibly low or an income that leaves you eating ramen the entire week before you get paid. All you have to do is give the lender the original title to your car and be prepared to either pay it back quickly and in full or sink into a cesspool of snowballing debt.
Why So Negative About Title Loans?
Why, indeed! You know how credit cards with an annual interest rate of 25 percent are considered extremely expensive? Well, try on 25 percent a month for size, which is a pretty standard interest rate on title loans, although that number can be as high as 1100 percent. No, I didn’t accidentally type two ones and two zeros right there. Lenders charging eleven hundred percent is rare, but not unheard of.
What’s the Point of Reviewing Title Loan Providers if All Title Loans Are Bad?
Now, let’s be clear here. No matter how a title loan provider is rated, title loans are, most of the time, bad news. If you can pay the loan off within the initial 30-day term, it’s not nearly as devastating as when you continually roll over the principal of the loan, paying only the interest fees, because once the rollover limit has been reached, you still have to come up with the original loan amount plus another heaping spoonful of interest in order to get your title back and avoid repossession.
Researching title lenders isn’t about finding the best title loan provider. It’s about finding the least worst title loan provider. It’s also about determining the overall intent of the title lender or broker. Some will go to all sorts of lengths to lead you to believe they’re God’s gift to the financially challenged, while others are a little more up-front about the dismal reality of taking out a title loan.
So What About AutoCashUSA?
AutoCashUSA is a “direct link to licensed title loan vendors.” In other words, you give them your information, and they’ll point you in the direction of a title lender in their network of vendors that’s close to you.
The reason these third-party brokers exist is because title loans are only legal in 20 states. So if, for example, you’re in Maryland, where title loans are totally illegal, finding an out-of-state lender can be a bit difficult. AutoCashUSA and entities like them have a large network of lenders that they can recommend to you, and they get a little something-something from the vendor for their trouble.
How It Works
When you arrive at AutoCashUSA.com, you’ll fill out a simple form with your name, contact information, and the year, make, and model of your car. (One small thing that sets AutoCashUSA apart from scores of other third-party loan finders is that you don’t have to agree to receive emails, text messages, and phone calls from affiliated parties in order to submit your information.) Soon, a representative from one of AutoCashUSA’s 500-plus licensed vendors will give you a call and provide you with information about the location nearest you and answer any questions you have.
You’ll have to head over to the physical location so the lender can inspect your car to determine how much money they’ll loan you – typically in the neighborhood of 30 to 50 percent of the value of your car. You’ll hand over your original vehicle title, sign the loan papers, and walk out with your fist full of cash – all in about 15 minutes.
The interest rate on your loan will vary, depending on the laws of the state in which the lender resides. According to AutoCashUSA, the rate may range from 36 percent APR to 360 percent APR. Other state laws may prohibit rolling over the loan if you’re unable to pay back the full amount after the initial 30-day term, or they may require a minimum loan term of three months or more.
In case you’re wondering, a title loan is a loan against your automobile, based on its fair market value. This takes into account such factors as the car’s age, mileage, and other variables. Essentially, your car is the ‘collateral’ used to secure the loan.
Loan amounts can vary from $3,000 to $15,000. Best of all, you still own and drive the vehicle while your title loan period is in effect.
Title loans are especially helpful for individuals with poor or no credit. Of course, with low credit scores or no credit history, interest rates can vary greatly, but AutoCashUSA states that “all credit ratings are accepted.” Depending on the vendor, however, title loan/pawn Annual Percentage Rates can range anywhere from 36% to 360%.
AutoCashUSA has no ‘say’ in determining interest rates and advises that those decisions are made solely by the licensed vendors that provide the loans. The main point to get out of this AutoCashUSA review is that they do point out that the interest rates may be high and that you may want to determine if there are lower-cost options to consider first.
Payments for your title loan are detailed in the loan documents that the licensed vendor you select sends you.
These vary from vendor to vendor and case-to-case, so it’s important that you read all of your documentation before signing anything. Be sure that you understand all of the requirements and legally binding rules and regulations that the loan contract specifies before entering into it.
In addition, every state in the nation has its own regulatory requirements about late payments. The vendors in each state must abide by those. Do your homework to better understand what the legal ramifications will be if you submit a late payment or fall behind on your payments.
Failing to pay your title loan is another beast entirely. Because you’ve provided your car as collateral for your title loan, failure to pay means that your vehicle can ultimately and legally be repossessed and even sold in order for the vendor to recoup their loan or pawn money. Additional charges could even apply, such as vehicle recovery charges and penalties.
So is AutoCashUSA a Good Option for Locating a Lender?
AutoCashUSA has the usual required disclosures prominently displayed on the website, including the one that warns you that title loans are high-interest loans that are meant strictly for resolving short-term financial troubles and not long-term problems. The disclosure makes it painfully clear that if you miss a payment, are late with your payment, or otherwise default on the loan, your car may be repossessed and sold.
But what I like about AutoCashUSA is that in addition to the required disclosures, they point out in numerous places on the website that they only work with vendors who comply with state laws (because many title lenders don’t, and the states could really care less, for the most part.) They remind you several times that it’s in your best interest to read the loan paperwork thoroughly and ask questions if you don’t understand something. And this is good advice, because if you don’t truly understand the loan terms, you’re likely in for some unpleasant surprises down the road.
AutoCashUSA even points out some of the debt collection practices that are prohibited by law in accordance with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and they point out some of the differences in the laws among states where title loans are legal as well as some of the basic differences you may notice among lenders in the same state.
The Bottom Line for AutoCashUSA
AutoCashUSA is definitely less evil than many similar online title loan brokers, who often spew page after page of keyword-laden and poorly written text that serves only to tell you how completely awesome title loans are and how they’re the answer to all of your problems and how their services are the best in the land. Then, they make you agree to be contacted by any of their affiliates (meaning they’re gonna sell your info to anyone and everyone they can in order to make a little more dough.) Many of these sites give you very little information about the reality of title loans (aside from the required disclosures,) and they don’t provide any information about the lenders with whom they work.
If you absolutely must take out a title loan, and you really should think twice about doing so, it might behoove you to give AutoCashUSA a shot. At the very least, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that they seem pretty serious about sending you to a title lender who won’t screw you over any worse than what is allowed by law.