Emergencies are like unseasonal showers – you never know when they can catch you unawared and unprepared. They stress the finances of an individual and disrupt their short and medium-term cash-flow.
In particular, the blue-collar and vocational workers feel the pinch of an emergency more acutely. They often have unstable incomes and a bad credit score, and are rejected for loans by banks and other financial institutions.
Who is Check ‘n Go?
Check ‘n Go is an online and physical cash loan provider. It operates through its lending portal and 1000+ stores across the US. It is one of the leading names in instant short-term loans business. In terms of business volume, Check ‘n Go is one of the biggest operators in the US, with a wide range of innovative and quick-solution financial services.
Established in 1994, Check ‘n Go has steadily built its customer base across many states. It is known for its prompt and efficient loan processing procedure which takes only a few minutes to complete.
The company is mainly active in payday and instalment loan segments, but its physical stores also offer other financial services. Check ‘n Go boasts of having completed over 50 million transactions that have helped needy people get instant and easy access to cash.
The company offers its online credit services in Alabama, California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Check ‘n Go’s network of physical stores is spread in Alabama, California, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, from where it provides a host of financial services apart from cash loans.
Check ‘n Go is not only about size and volume. It is a company firmly rooted in best business practices and ‘customer-first’ philosophy. It claims to be committed to consumer rights and safe lending practices, and is one of the founding members of the Community Financial Services Association which it helped establish in 1999.
Check ‘n Go Operations
Check ‘n Go has a quick-response loan processing system at its stores and online portal. The customer can have their loan processed within minutes with a 3-step procedure:
- Loan application: This process can be completed swiftly, without the need to fax documents if the applicant qualifies for it.
- Loan processing and approval: Based on various pre-set judgment parameters, the Cash ‘n Go executive decide to approve or reject a loan application within minutes.
- Loan disbursal: If the loan is approved, cash is deposited in the applicant’s account the very next day.
The company claims that it has one of the most sophisticated, technologically robust and user-friendly online interface in the industry.
Secure, Encrypted Data Sharing
Check ‘n Go has an encrypted data sharing online protocol. Due to this advance technology, all the personal information that a customer shares on the Check ‘n Go website while filling out the loan application is converted into codes to prevent unauthorized access. Hence, the information remains safe and secure.
Furthermore, Check ‘n Go also promises not to share this sensitive data with any third party. Consumers can confidently share their SS number, bank details, financial documents, and other confidential data without the fear of its misuse or abuse.
Check ‘n Go Loan Services
The company is a multi-service cash loan provider. Its lending products include payday loans, installment loans and prepaid debit card. However, these services vary from state to state. One needs to check about it on the company’s website.
Payday loans are typically short-duration cash advances that are repayable within a month, usually on the next payday of the borrower. The purpose of this loan varies – it may be for paying overdue utility bills, to meet an unforeseen emergency in the family, or even to celebrate an anniversary.
Check ‘n Go has a dedicated team specializing in payday loan assessment and approval. It is trained to respect the emergency cash needs of distressed individuals and have a sympathetic and considerate approach towards loan requests.
These loans can be best understood as the older sibling of payday loans. They allow a larger borrowing with a longer repayment tenure. The repayment is not done in a lump sum as in a payday loan, but is spread over convenient instalments.
Check ‘n Go has an excellent track record of catering to the demand of installment loans. Its customers are evenly spread across the country in this line of business. The company processes installment loans online and at its stores.
Prepaid Debit Card
This instant cash instrument by Check ‘n Go is an excellent way to access cash without going through a loan sanction procedure. The prepaid debit cards issued by Check ‘n Go are linked to the customer’s loan account with the company.
This account holds preloaded cash that is sanctioned as loan to the account holder. Whenever a borrower needs instant cash, they can use this card with the same convenience that other cards offer.
This value-added service by Check ‘n Go enhances its service offerings while giving one more option to customers to access fast cash.
Cost of Borrowing
The company operates at a national level. It fully abides by the incumbent state and national laws.
Since different states have different laws and regulations, the Check ‘n Go charges including interest, rollover fees, collection charges, and other charges vary from state to state. It is advisable to check these rates on the company’s website before applying for a loan. Rates always matter even in the age of lower taxes and a strong economy.
Loan Eligibility Criteria
Check ‘n Go has a friendly and sympathetic outlook towards people’s special situation needs. In order to make the loan application process simple and easy, the company has set minimum eligibility criteria. The loan applicant must be:
- A US citizen or permanent resident
- Be of at least 18 years of age
- Have a source of regular income
- Have an active bank account
The applicant has to provide basic individual information while applying for a Check ‘n Go loan:
- Full name and legitimate contact details
- A valid form of ID
- Proof of income
- Checking account details
Borrowers are advised that Check ‘n Go payday loans are not available in Arizona, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts (which is not doing well economically because of high taxes but this is another topic), Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.
A Word of Caution
It is an acknowledged fact that private lenders of short-term, small dollar loans charge heavy interest and other charges for their lending and services. This is due to various factors; prime among them are:
Unsecured nature of loan: The lenders in this business provide instant loans which are like unsecured cash advances. This type of lending carries an inherent risk of default. Hence, the steep interest rates are partly intended to hedge this risk.
- Faceless transactions: With a bulk of small-loan business migrating to the online channel, the possibility of the lender personally meeting the borrower and intuitively gauging their repayment capacity and willingness has diminished significantly. The absence of a human interface in the loan processing lifecycle leaves room for an error of judgment. The high interest helps in covering the default cost of an online loan, should it happen.
- No collateral: small dollar lenders do not ask for a collateral. Be it a payday loan, instalment loan, or a prepaid debit card, they are all availed without a security. In the case of a default, the interest compensates for the capital of the loan.
- Poor credit rating: Finally, the blue-collar borrowers unfortunately do not enjoy a high credit score. This accounts for a greater risk in lending money. The interest again acts as a hedge.
Considering these factors, the interest structure of the lenders is steep. People frequently fail to meet their interest obligation, leave aside repayment of capital amount.
Hence, these loans must be the last resort for borrowers, meant exclusively for short-term arrangement of unmet financial commitments. Typically, they should not exceed a few weeks of borrowing tenure, or else the interest burden will escalate rapidly.
That said, Check ‘n Go enjoys a reputation of transparent functioning and fair play. They have their fee and interest structure on their website, under the ‘Terms’ section. Borrowers must refer to it before asking for a loan.
Small Dollar Demand Is Consistent – What Do Facts and Figures Convey?
In US, the need for short-term, marginal cash advances grew rapidly during the recession of 2008 and thereafter. The country was in the grip of severe cash crunch that cascaded from the top to the base of the economic pyramid.
The fall of Lehman Brothers is a tragic reminder of how severe the recession was. The recession also disrupted the income patterns at the individual level. The Department of Labor notes that between February 2008 and February 2010, as many as 8.7 million jobs were lost. This amounts to almost 7% job loss. The country’s GDP shrunk by a significant 4.2% between the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007 and second quarter of fiscal 2009.
Thus, the gap between demand and supply of cash widened. Cash liquidity became a dire issue at the retail level, where common Americans found it increasingly difficult to meet their regular financial commitments.
The short-term, small dollar lending business came of age in the backdrop of these circumstances. The country’s personal loan industry emerged as the proverbial David against the might of Goliath, the economic recession.
This industry flourished in the aftermath of the recession, and has kept up its momentum since then. The size of small dollar borrowing in 2017 was $40 billion. Approximately one in 50 American households depended on payday loans and other such instruments to bridge the gap in their monetary needs. This translates to almost 2.5 million households that borrowed short-term, with a typical loan size of $350.
Interestingly, this borrowing pattern has transformed into an alternate financing model from its purely need-based original avatar.
America’s Major Borrowers
The country’s personal borrowing statistics has some interesting cohorts. In terms of volume, the borrowing pattern is as below:
- 31% of the total personal borrowing is for vehicle finance
- 26% is for payment of overdue bills and other unmet commitments
- 21% of personal loans were availed by the blue-collar mass to meet emergency and unforeseen monetary needs
- 19% of the borrowers were students, whose borrowing is attributed to tuition and study needs
- Lastly, 15% borrowed to consolidate their debt
From this, we deduct that America’s personal borrowing is largely need-based, a trend that continues from the days of the recession.
Gender-Wise Borrowing Pattern
36% of adult men in the US borrowed for short-term needs. It was closely followed by 31% of American women who resorted to personal loans for limited time.
It implies that men and women borrow almost equally in the country.
In terms of generations, the Gen X borrowed the most in the US, with an average personal loan size of $8,592.
This is the 45-50 age group, whose need for fast cash can be attributed to advancing age-related requirements.
Couples Borrowed the Most
The married and domestic partners including live-in student partners and working professionals are the ones who borrowed the maximum, with an average loan ticket of $8,592.
The obvious deduction is that domestic and social responsibilities draw Americans to alternate short-term borrowing sources such as a payday or instalment loan.
Private Lenders Are Here to Stay
In summary, it can be said that the demand-supply gap of liquid cash is here to stay in the US, and so are the private lenders who bridge this gap.
Personal loans are an important matter. That’s why we want you to have as many facts as possible to make a decision about your personal loan. Check ‘n Go is covered on some of the best review sites on the net. We’ll look at three of those sites, the BBB, Yelp, and Consumer Affairs.
Better Business Bureau
The company has an A+ rating from the BBB. There are 6 total customer reviews. One of those reviews is neutral. The other 5 are negative. That’s a pretty good ratio for a personal loan company. Most people don’t take the time to write good BBB reviews of their lenders.
The company has 179 consumer complaints. The customer reviews and complaints give Check ‘n Go a score of 3.79 stars out of 5. The negative reviews focus on customer service issues. For many of these reviews, it’s clear that the customer had an issue with a particular worker or Check ‘n Go location.
Like any business with multiple locations, Yelp organizes its customer reviews according to the individual locations. That means you should look up the location nearest to you to get the most accurate information about the company as an option.
That being said, most of the reviews for Check ‘n Go are pretty bad. The majority of locations sport a 1 or 2-star review. Most of the complaints on Yelp focus on customer service issues. However, several reviews also complain about the length of time the process took. That means you might want to look elsewhere if you’re in need of money now.
Consumer Affairs gives Check ‘n Go 1.3 stars out of 5. This score is based on 167 votes. Most of the complaints with the site center around the long time-frame for approval and loan disbursement. Many customers complained that the company wanted them to submit the same documents over and over again.
Other complaints focus on the company approving someone for a loan and the rescinding their approval. That’s a bad sign if you need a personal loan. After all, once you’re approved, you stop looking for a loan. If the company later denies a loan you thought was approved, then you’ve lost valuable time that you could have used to find the loan you need.
Check ‘n Go, with its clean image and a perception of being a borrower-friendly lender, will thrive in the coming years. It may be that the company will innovate and adopt new business models, but its core philosophy will remain unchanged – not just to lend, but to lend a helping hand.
Christine has a solid background in personal finance as she spent the last eight years working at one of the biggest banks in the US. She managed her own team of financial advisors that helped hundreds of people with their financing needs. Her innate understanding of different financial products and loans helped her move up the ranks quickly after graduating with a degree in Business Administration.