Title loans are one of the most poorly understood loan types. Many people don’t understand this consumer product, its uses, and, in turn, people have many questions.
On this page, we want to answer some of the most common questions. Hopefully, this will make it a bit easier for you to determine whether a title loan is the right option for you or not.
#1. Do You Hand Over Your Vehicle When You Sign a Title Loan?
In the past, people would go to pawn shops for a title loan. These pawn shops would take possession of your vehicle until you paid off your debt. Modern title loans do not work the same way.
These types of loans are designed to have longer terms than your standard pawn shop loan. You can’t be without your vehicle for months on end, right? Nowadays, when you are approved for a title loan, you will need to hand over the pink slip to your vehicle and sign a contract. The contract will state that if you fail to pay your loan back as agreed, the lender has a right to take legal possession of your vehicle.
#2. Is a Credit Check Required for a Title Loan?
The answer to this question is going to be dependent on:
- Where you live
- The company that you are working with
In some states, there will be a credit check carried out. Some title loan lenders may also wish to carry out a credit check. However, for the most part, lenders will not be carrying out a credit check.
According to Squirrelers, a title loan is not designed for somebody with a great credit score. Most of the people who are opting for a title loan are doing so because they do not have anywhere else that they can turn. Lenders already know that your credit score is going to be poor. All they need to know is that you can pay back your loan.
That said, some states have started to change their laws to make it a requirement that a credit check is carried out before anybody is allowed a title loan. This is to help to protect the borrower from predatory practices.
#3. Will the Title Loan Company Report To a Credit Agency After the Loan Is Closed?
Again, this is going to be dependent on the company and where you live.
According to FiscalTiger, “a car title loan will have very little effect on your credit”. This means that you cannot use a title loan as a way to boost your credit score. Sure, some lenders will do it, but these are so few and far between that hunting them down can be a little bit difficult.
In many cases, the only time that anything related to your title loan will be reported is if you have failed to pay it back on-time. So, you must meet all of your payment obligations, otherwise, you will be suffering more negative consequences than just losing your vehicle!
#4. What Happens if I Cannot Pay My Loan Back?
If you cannot pay your loan back, then you are at a major risk of losing your vehicle.
However, we do want to point out that most lenders are not going to be taking your vehicle away immediately. Yes, the lender has your title so they can take possession of your vehicle and sell it at an auction, but they would much rather not do that.
In practice, most lenders do not want to take the vehicle away. They can earn a lot less selling it an auction than they can by getting you to pay your loan back. The only time the lender will ever take your vehicle away is if there is no chance you will ever be able to meet your payment obligations.
If you cannot pay the loan back, then you must talk to the lender. They may be able to work with you to see if there is a way to change the payment terms. This may, for instance, mean an increase in the length of the loan.
#5. Do You Need an Income To Obtain a Title Loan?
You do need some way to prove that you can pay your loan back. This is, likely, going to be a job. Remember: even though your vehicle is going to be collateral for the loan, there has to be some ability to pay the loan back.
#6. Can I Use a Hire-Purchase Vehicle To Obtain a Title Loan?
You need to own the vehicle outright. If anybody else has a stake in that vehicle, you will not be allowed to use it for a title loan.
#7. Is a Title Loan Like a Payday Loan?
The only similarities between a title loan and a payday loan are that they are both often given to people with poor credit. According to MoneyQandA, some lenders may masquerade as a payday lender and offer “online title loans” but in fact, they’re actually offering consumers a payday loan.
If you opt for a title loan, you will often be given a longer time to pay it off than a payday loan. In California, for instance, a title loan has to last a minimum of 12-months if it is over a certain value.
Since a title loan is a secured type of loan, the interest rates will often be a lot lower. It is also likely that you will be able to apply for a larger loan.
#8. Are the Interest Rates Always High?
Due to the inherent “risky nature” of this type of loan, the interest rates are always going to be a little bit higher than your traditional personal loan. However, this is still a competitive industry.
This means that if you shop around for a title loan, you will be able to find a better deal — just do not expect drastically low-interest rates. This type of loan does not work like that due to the lack of a credit check and the type of people who will often be applying for this type of loan.
#9. How Long Before I Receive Money for the Title Loan?
Again, this is going to be dependent on the company. It is not going to be an ‘instant’ process. It will often be between 1 and 3 days after you have completed all of the applicable paperwork. Of course, this is still going to be a faster way to borrow money than most traditional loans.