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  • 4 Lending Apps That You Can Trust to Get You Cash in a Flash (But Be Careful!)

    These lending money apps loan to you directly. There are no middlemen.
    by Aneth Ng-Lim .
4 Lending Apps That You Can Trust to Get You Cash in a Flash (But Be Careful!)
PHOTO BY iStock
  • These days, there’s no need to run to the nearest bank, pawnshop or informal lenders when one has to borrow money or do a cash loan. You can let your fingers do the walking because all you need is your smartphone to get started.

    Online lending services seem to have sprouted overnight. You don’t even need to worry whether you are a Smart subscriber or you own a Globe number as the apps are agnostic to telecom companies. Also, unlike their predecessors, these services loan to you directly — there are no middlemen to banks and other financial institutions.

    Shopping for a cash loan online

    We checked out some of these apps, and they do deliver on their promise of fast, convenient a cash loan apps nd hassle-free. However, there is a premium on these advantages as the rates are sometimes higher than what you would get in a bank, payment terms are not as flexible, and lending limits are lower too. Plus pay attention to processing and penalty fees before getting a cash loan online. And don’t forget to read customer feedback. Some apps are not showcased here because of their poor customer rating and numerous allegations of fraud.

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    Tala

    Quite the star (pun intended) of mobile lending services with a 4.8 rating, Tala guarantees a 24-hour approval process, and you can borrow as little as Php1,000 to Php2,000 on your first transaction. Your credit limit can go as high as Php10,000 when you pay on time. If you need access to cash quickly and can repay soon, Tala may be a good choice.  

    Loan terms are 21 or 30 days, and the service fee ranges from 11% to 15%. If you pay late, there is a rollover fee of 8% for 14 extra days.

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    Tala was launched in 2011 in Africa and is now available in Mexico, India and the Philippines. To apply, you only need one ID but note you’ll have to sign up with your Facebook account. It is only available via Google Play though so only Android users are welcome.

    Once approved for a loan, you can get your funds at padala centers, your bank or via Coins.ph. To pay, visit 7-Eleven, Cebuana, M Lhuillier or Coins.ph. You can pay in full at the end of your loan period, or make partial payments any time.

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    Cashalo

    Offering loans released in as soon as 30 minutes, Cashalo deserves a closer look when you need cash fast.  Registering for an account takes less than five minutes: just be ready with your mobile number, one valid ID, a proof of billing, your work information including your ID and payslip, and finally your bank account details. Cashalo will deposit your loan directly to your nominated bank account when approved. 

    You can download the app via Google Play and Apple Store, where it enjoys 4.6 and 4.5 ratings, respectively.
    Choose from three loan products on offer: Cashaquick (loan up to Php2,000 and pay in 15 days or less), Cashaloan (borrow between Php2,000 to Php5,000 and pay in 15 days to as long as 45 days), and Cashacart (available in partner stores nationwide where you can shop, get loan approval in 10 minutes, and pay in 0% installments as long as 24 months).

    With Cashaquick and Cashaloan, there is a 5% processing fee and a fixed monthly interest rate of 4.95%. You can pay through any Robinsons Department Stores, ECPay, 7-Eleven, or Dragonpay. 

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    Cashalo was launched in 2018 and is a partnership between Hong Kong-based Oriente (whose founders are behind internet giants Skype and LU.com) and Express Holdings, Inc., a subsidiary of JG Summit Holdings, Inc.

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    Atome Credit 

    Atome Credit is another mobile lender that is available only via Google Play Store. The 4.6 rated app targets employees who own a valid ID and an active bank account.

    You can complete an application in five minutes and track status via app. Loan up to P10,000 with a repayment period of 61 to 90 days.  If all goes well, you will receive a confirmation message that your loan has been credited to your bank account, which is usually between 24-48 hours after approval. When it’s time pay up, you can tap the repayment tab in the same app to process payment at multiple online and offline partner merchants.

    Atome Credit charges a one-time sign-up fee, service fee and loan interest of 0.9% per day. Yes, that’s per day, which means the annual percentage rate (APR) is 328.5% a year! To help you better understand this rate, you can compare it to credit cards that charge a 3.5% interest monthly when you don’t pay your balance in full. That 3.5% translates to an APR of about 51% when compounded, or just 43% if not.

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    To illustrate its interest rate, Atome offered this example in its app: If you borrow Php6000 for three months (interest at 0.9% daily / APR 328.5% per year), Php6,000 / 3 = Php2,000 + Php538 interest monthly. Your monthly due is Php2,538 — you will pay a total of Php7,614 over three months or Php1,614 interest on the Php2,000 loan you made for 90 days.

    Atome Credit is a brand of Neuroncredit Financing Company,which in turn is a subsidiary of Singapore-based Neuroncredit Pte Ltd.

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    GCash

    One of the country’s pioneers in electronic wallet, GCash continues to expand its services and now offers GCredit to its users. Within the app, you can now activate a personal revolving credit which you can use anytime if you are a fully verified GCash user.

    GCredit functions like a flexible loan or credit card. You get a set limit of money you can avail, and when you pay off your previous use or loan, you can use your maximum limit again.

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    You can use GCredit to pay utility bills from the app if your GCash is running low. There are over 250 billers loaded onto GCash so you can settle your water bill, electricity bill, and more from this one app. GCredit is also convenient if you are shopping and do not have cash or enough GCash to make the purchase.  Pay using QR at over 6,000 stores nationwide.

    GCredit charges a 5% interest rate and they explain that it’s prorated, meaning it’s spread over the number of days you availed of GCredit. The example they gave is that if you charged a Php200 meal to GCredit and paid for it after 5 days, the interest will be computed as: Php200 x 5% x 5/30 = Php1.67.  To settle your GCredit balance, you will pay Php201.67.

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    A word of caution on cash loan apps

    Modern-day technology has placed nearly everything within reach, but it does not mean you should grab it.  Personally, I only allow myself one day in a week to browse online stores, and if I like anything, I park it in the cart and wait until next week to view it again and decide if I will click purchase. Becoming a digital stranger to shopping sites keeps my bank account healthy.

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    When it comes to loans, always check how much is the total interest you will pay. While cash emergencies place us in difficult situations, do not let anyone take advantage of your desperation or you will have a much harder time to crawl out of that credit hole.

    Start by comparing the annual percentage rate of loans you are eyeing. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) requires banks and other financial institutions under its watch to be transparent with its monthly add-on rates and annual percentage rates. However, most of the mobile lending companies are not under BSP regulation because they are considered financial technology companies. But when you ask, there should be no reason for these lenders not to tell you. If they are not transparent, walk away. Based on their APR, make the wise credit choice.

    Aneth Ng-Lim began her career as a writer and happily returns to her journalism roots after working as a communications specialist in the government and the private sectors. While working for a bank as a consumer education head, she honed personal finance skills and increased her money smarts. A woman empowerment champion, she is a proud mom to two teenage daughters.

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