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Online Loans vs. In-Person Loans

Direct lenders for loans provide their services either in person, online, or in some instances both online and in person. Which loan type you choose, and the avenue you choose for application, may depend on your personal situation or preferences,4 where you’re located, and when you decide to apply for a loan. Online lenders offer the loan process from start to finish—application through funding—rather quickly and conveniently via the internet5 which means you can apply anytime and anywhere. In person lenders require a visit to a physical location to complete an application and will either offer your funds in person (sometimes in cash) or via direct deposit. Direct lender loans refer to loans that are processed and funded by the lender verses outsourcing some piece of the process to a third party. Cash Central is a direct lender offering applications, processing of applications, and funding all online. So, how do online loans work? Let’s dive into the differences between an in-person lender and an online lender when applying for a short-term loan such as a Payday Loan or a longer-term loan like an Installment Loan.

The difference between online and in-person lenders

Scroll through social media or flip on the tv and you’re sure to see options for “getting cash fast” from various apps and online lenders. For years, the only place to secure a loan of any kind was through a personal source or a brick-and-mortar lending institution. As the world has moved more and more online, however, options for online lending have grown. But how do you determine whether an online lender is providing legitimate online loans? Are there benefits to working with an online lender versus an in-person lender?

Online vs In-Person Lending

When you need cash now, finding a lender that can process an application quickly is key. For some customers, completing the process online1 is much more convenient than finding an in-person lender, waiting in line, filling out an application, awaiting approval in a lobby, and then crossing their fingers hoping to walk out with cash. Although many in-person lenders are quick and personable, like our affiliates at brick-and-mortar stores across the US, that’s not always the case for all companies who offer loans. Additionally, some customers live too far from the nearest lender. For anyone who wants to skip the store and complete their application and lending experience from the comfort of home, an online loan might be preferable. You can complete a Cash Central application whenever and wherever you would like. Applying for a loan online vs in person might be the most convenient option, but you may be wondering about the safety of supplying your personal information online. Luckily, online security is a priority for most direct lenders for loans. You’ll always want to ensure that the lender you choose is committed to keeping your personal information safe and secure.

Online Loans and The Security of your Information

We will be the first to admit that the world wide web is not always a safe place. That’s why the team at Cash Central is hyper-vigilant and focused on the online personal security of every customer who applies for a loan through our secure website. We take precautions to ensure our customers’ data is safe online by encrypting all information3 that is submitted through one of our online forms. Our team is trained to securely handle any information that requires validation in order to process and approve a loan application which means your application experience with Cash Central is safe and secure. It’s important to work only with online lenders who have a great reputation and track record.

Only Work with Established Direct Lenders Online

Cash Central has been in the online lending business since 2006 and pioneered the direct lenders online space. We were lending money to our customers via the web way before it was trendy and cool. Why? Because we know that convenience and speed are vitally important when our customers are facing a serious financial situation that requires quick access to cash2 to see them through. When considering an online loan, it’s important to choose a lender that is experienced, keeps your online security at the forefront of their priorities, and can meet your needs quickly and efficiently after you’ve been approved.

Fast Funding

Cash Central’s application process is easy to navigate, and approval moves quickly. Once you’ve received your approval, you can have funds as soon as the next business day. Exact processing times will depend on your bank and how quickly a deposit can be made accessible. Rest assured once you’ve been approved Cash Central moves as fast as possible to get the funds you need in your hands.

Online Loan Best Practices

The convenience of borrowing cash online via an online loan prompts many people to swiftly apply. A streamlined application and approval process means that qualified borrowers will potentially have access to funds quicker than if they’d visited a lender in person. When in a pinch, this is key to helping the borrower when they need it the most. However, it’s advisable to pause and consider a few important details prior to applying for short-term personal loans online.

  • Is the expense at hand essential? Debt can be a serious problem, so make sure you have considered your ability to repay your loan prior to applying. Having a budget in place will help you make an informed decision. If the expense you are facing that prompted you to consider an online loan is not essential, consider alternate ways1 to pay for the item such as saving over time.
  • Are you prepared to repay your loan on time? Consider how you will repay the loan and make necessary adjustments to your budgets to ensure prompt, on time payment is made. Personal loan length, meaning the amount of time you have to pay back the loan (or the terms of your loan), will be dependent on the loan type you choose.
  • Are there long-term solutions to your current financial troubles? If you find that you are short on cash and facing financial emergencies often, consider revisiting your budget to see if there is room for any major financial or life changes that can ease the burden. Building an emergency fund, which is possible even if you’re on a budget, could help alleviate future emergency loan needs.

Cash Central is focused on offering online loan solutions for our customers that meet their needs in a convenient, simple-to-navigate manner. When you are facing a financial situation that requires quick access to cash, online direct lenders like Cash Central could help. Understanding the type of loan you’re considering is key to an excellent borrowing experience. We are happy to answer any questions that pop up as you consider applying for an online loan.* Our team is always happy to help because our customers, and their exceptional experience with Cash Central, is our central focus.

*In California, deferred deposit loans are provided in accordance with the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation pursuant to California Deferred Deposit Transaction Law, Cal. Fin. Code §23000 et seq. Exact funding time depends on the terms of your financial institution.


1DeNicola, Louis (2020, Jul 3). How Do Online Loans Work? Retrieved from: https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/how-do-online-loans-work/

2Kiah Treece and Jordan Tarver (2022, Apr 14). Should You Apply for a Loan Online or In Person? Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/advisor/personal-loans/online-or-in-person-loans/

3Martel, Jessica (2023, Jun 5). Are online loans safe? Retrieved from: https://www.consumeraffairs.com/finance/are-online-loans-safe.html

4Annie Millerbernd and Jackie Veling (2022, Mar 3). Online or In-Person Loans: What’s Better? Retrieved from: https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/loans/personal-loans/online-loan-or-bank-loan

5DeNicola, Louis (2020, Apr 22). Can I Trust Online Personal Loan Lenders? Retrieved from: https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/can-i-trust-online-personal-loan-lenders/