Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florida. ...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Aug 3, 2021

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Yes, it is possible to borrow a payday loan if an applicant is unemployed. However, not all lenders will lend to unemployed borrowers. Unemployed borrowers should also be extremely cautious about taking on additional debt without a steady source of income or the promise of one in the near future.

Even though lenders usually do not approve unemployed applicants for things such as car loans or home loans, payday lenders are another story. Payday loans are forms of very short-term financing that have very few qualification requirements.

Fortunately for many people, payday lenders do not always require a borrower’s income to come from a job. Many are willing to approve other sources of income. Some alternative income sources include the following:

  • Pensions
  • Social security
  • Unemployment benefits

While the slow economy has resulted in many pensions being cut, unemployment benefits are now more common due to layoffs and a weak job market. Payday lenders would just need verification of this income including how much time you have left.

For many people, unemployment benefits are their sole source of income, if even for a temporary period of time. Lenders are perfectly fine being paid with the income that borrowers receive from unemployment.

However, some lenders will require that applicants provide recent pay stubs to prove they have a paying job. While applicants that were recently fired could hypothetically show their recent pay stubs in order to borrow money, doing so can result in charges of fraud and even embezzlement depending on a borrower’s state laws.

Should You Take Out Payday or a Personal Loan on Unemployment?

Even though it is certainly viable to pay off a cash advance with unemployment benefits, it may not be the wisest decision for borrowers. Payday lenders charge very high interest rates and fees. These can prove difficult to repay and can lead to mounting debt or rollovers from one month to the next. Since unemployment benefits are only available for a temporary amount of time, it is possible that a borrower may be unable to repay a cash advance once time runs out. Ideally, you’d find a new job long before your benefits run out. But in certain environments, the government may push harder to get you off, even denying payments if you don’t take a much lower paying job than the one you were let go from. Lenders may also be more hesitant if the unemployment rate is too high.

More importantly, the end of unemployment benefits does not mean the end of repayment options. So any debt you have will need to be paid regardless of whether you have income now. If you do not pay, it could impact your credit score. Lenders could also garnish income from future paychecks or benefits.

Unemployed borrowers who do not have unemployment benefits can still repay a payday loan by selling valuable items or possibly even using a credit card to pay off their debt.

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What Are The Alternatives?

Many times, these types of loans are taken out by people looking for quick cash for an emergency. One of the best things you can do is more financial planning. Make a budget and set aside a certain amount every month. If you’re in school, look into student loans and balance that with a job. Keep in mind, you’ll have to repay anything you take out. Unfortunately, the job market doesn’t always guarantee the wages students want when they take out private student loans.

If you’re on unemployment, it may not be the time to apply for new loans. If you plan ahead, you can refinance auto loans to get lower payments and interest while you have a job. If you have significant credit card debt you can’t pay off each month, it’s also advisable to make payment plans or talk to your credit card companies about your options. Always look at your budget and make adjustments for what you can afford. This will help you with online lenders and loans of all types.