If you are without a bank account, getting access to credit can be difficult. Banks are the traditional channels to receive access to credit, and looking for alternative lending sources can sometimes be more expensive and harder to find than simply calling up your local banker. However, you do have options for getting a short-term loan without a bank account if you know where to look.
Before you get a short-term loan, it’s a good idea to ask yourself what you need the money for. Typically, short-term loans will have high interest rates, especially if they are small. Many check-cashing services have minimum fees that can make your interest rate quite high if you’re not careful. If it’s a nonemergency purchase, consider putting it off spending the money until you’re in a better financial situation.
Contrary to popular opinion, not having a bank account will not necessarily disqualify you from getting a loan from a bank. Banks typically do not report checking account information to the credit bureaus, and you may still be able to receive a personal or collateral backed loan from a bank without one. For example, First Command Bank issues unsecured personal loans with loan amounts starting at $2,000 and does not require you to have a checking account with the bank.
Because bank account information is not reported to credit bureaus, you can get a credit card without a bank account. A normal credit card purchase can be used in place of a cash loan if you need to buy something from a vendor that accepts credit cards. Compared to other short-term loans, a credit card might give you lower minimum payments and possibly special financing for a period of time after you get the card. Some credit cards also allow you to get a cash advance from the card, which will give you cash, but usually at a higher interest rate than a normal purchase.
If you have personal property that you are willing to part with, you can also get a loan from a pawn shop. Cash advance centers typically require a bank account for payroll advances, but some make auto loans that don't require an account. Pawn shops act in a similar fashion, but lend against the property you turn into them. For example, Cash America gives pawn and auto loans, and the approval process is as short as 10 minutes and loan amounts can go as high as $25,000.