The astronomical interest rates Plain Green Loans charges for small amounts of cash will likely add to your financial strain, rather than reduce it.
Though not a traditional payday lender, Plain Green Loans operates like one. It charges its customers interest rates upwards of 300%. First-time borrowers can borrow up to $1,000, and repeat customers can borrow up to $3,000. You don’t get to choose the term length and the longest available term is two years. There’s no hidden or prepayment fees, but that doesn’t mean you can expect a reasonable interest rate.
Plain Green Loans markets itself to those with poor credit who need money quickly. There’s no minimum credit score for approval and you can get your money as soon as the next day. However, the same is true of personal loans, and these often come with much lower interest rates and longer payment terms. The best personal loan companies, like OneMain, don’t have a minimum credit score either. This is a much better option than Plain Green Loans, so if you’re looking for quick cash, start with a personal loan.
For more financially responsible quick cash options, read Payday Loan Alternatives.
|APR||150% – 375%|
|Loan Amounts||Up to $1,000 for first-time customers
Up to $3,000 for return customers
|Loan Terms||6 to 24 months|
|Payment Schedule||Biweekly, monthly|
|Best For||No one, really. You can get a better interest rate through a credit card or a personal loan.|
|Not For||People looking for a reasonable interest rate|
|Better Business Bureau Rating||B-|
|In Business Since||2011|
|Standout Features||No prepayment penalty
No hidden fees
Approved in seconds
No minimum credit score
Plain Green Loans promises “simple and convenient loans” that can get you the money you need by the next day. There’s no hidden fees, and the company reports payments to the credit bureaus, so the loan may even help your credit score over time.
Is it True?
No. The credit bureau reporting and lack of hidden fees may lull you into thinking you’re working with a company that cares more about helping its customers than it does about turning a profit, but the fine print reveals the truth. “This is an expensive form of credit,” the Important Disclosures reads, “Alternative forms of credit, such as a credit card cash advance, personal loan, home equity line of credit, existing savings or borrowing from a friend or relative, may be less expensive and more suitable for your financial needs.”
Plain Green Loans offers loans up to $3,000 with APRs ranging from 150% to 375%. While the company assures you that’s a bargain compared to traditional payday loans, it’s still robbing you blind compared to virtually any other type of credit. The average credit card charges about 15% APR, and some of the best personal loans will offer rates under 10% APR to those with good credit. Even adding in any hidden fees, you’ll probably still come out better than if you went with Plain Green Loans.
Plain Green Loans does have its advantages to those with poor credit. There’s no minimum credit score required, and since it reports your payments to the credit bureaus, if you can keep up, you could see your score rise over time. But there are still better options out there for you. OneMain, for example, doesn’t have a minimum credit score either, and its maximum APR is 36% — less than 10% of what Plain Green Loans will charge you. This is definitely a smarter way to go for most people.
Our Deep Dive
- Astronomical interest rates: Despite what the company would have you believe, Plain Green Loans’ interest rates are about average for a payday lender, and far more expensive than most other forms of credit. If you’re not comfortable paying 300% interest on the money you borrow, look around for other options.
- $3,000 maximum loan amount: First-time customers can only borrow up to $1,000, and repeat customers are limited to $3,000. If you’re looking to borrow a larger amount of money, you’ll have to explore some personal loan companies instead.
- Few requirements for approval: Plain Green Loans only requires its applicants to be 18 or older; have a job, email address, and checking account; and live in a state where it does business. There’s no minimum credit score required.
- Get money by the next day: Plain Green Loans can approve your loan and deposit your funds as soon as the next business day.
- Short loan terms: Plain Green Loans offers terms ranging from six to 24 months, which is considerably shorter than what most personal loan providers offer. And you don’t get any say in how long your repayment term is. This could be problematic, particularly since you’re responsible for paying back a lot of interest on top of the initial amount.
- No hidden fees: Plain Green Loans doesn’t charge you any hidden fees or prepayment penalties, so you don’t have to worry about running into unexpected charges down the line.
- Get approved in seconds: Once you fill out a simple application on the company’s website, you’ll be immediately notified of whether or not your loan has been approved. This approval is conditional, subject to the verification of the information you submitted.
- Choose a payment schedule: Plain Green Loans lets you choose between biweekly and monthly payments, so you can select the one that best fits your budget.
- Payments reported to credit bureaus: If you’re looking to repair your credit, prompt repayment of your Plain Green Loan could help. The company reports your payments to the credit bureaus and if you demonstrate responsibility, it could improve your credit score over time.
Plain Green Loans offers payday loans, which are always more trouble than they’re worth. The high interest rates often turn a short-term money shortage into a longer-term financial crisis, as borrowers struggle to pay back what they owe in the short loan terms offered by the payday loan company.
Say you took out a $2,000 loan from Plain Green Loans. According to the company’s loan calculator, you’d be charged 200% APR. Over the course of the 22-month loan period, that loan is going to cost $7,588.81. That’s an extra $5,588.81 in interest on a $2,000 loan.
Cheaper (or Free!) Alternatives
There are plenty of ways to get the cash you need at an affordable rate. Borrowing from friends and family is always a good choice if you have the option. Most of the time, they won’t charge you interest at all. Credit cards are another solid choice, though a lot of credit card debt will have a detrimental impact on your credit score.
A personal loan is your best bet. Typically, these offer lower interest rates, and you can borrow up to $30,000 if you need to. They also offer longer loan terms and, unlike Plain Green Loans, you can choose how long you need to pay it back; usually up to five years.
OneMain: OneMain offers personal loans from $1,500 to $10,000. Loan terms will vary. Interest rates vary from 25% APR for those with very good credit, to 36% APR for borrowers with poor credit. There is no minimum credit score to apply, so it’s a great place to apply if you’ve been denied loans from other companies.
Lending Club: Lending Club offers personal loans up to $40,000 with interest rates ranging between 5.32% and 30.99%. These interests rates are fixed, so you don’t have to worry about them going up over time. There are no hidden fees or prepayment fees if you decide to pay off your loan early. Lending Club requires a minimum of a 660 credit score, though, so it may not be an option for some.
Prosper: Prosper is another personal loan lender that offers fixed interest rates and no hidden fees. You can choose from a three- or five-year term and amounts ranging from $2,000 to $35,000. APRs range from 5.99% to 36%, depending on your creditworthiness. You must have a minimum credit score of 640 in order to be approved.
What Others Are Saying
- The Washington Times ran a story about a lawsuit filed by a Vermont resident who borrowed money from Plain Green Loans. The customer alleged that the company “blocked her access to her own bank account, automatically withdrew funds without her consent, did not examine her ability to repay the loan, and charged excessive interest rates, which are against Vermont law.” Plain Green Loans is wholly owned by the Chippewa Cree tribe in Montana, who fought against the lawsuit on the grounds of tribal immunity. This claim was later rejected by the judge.
- WSOC in Charlotte reported on a man who had purchased a loan through Money Mutual, a company that matches borrowers with payday lenders. The man received a loan from Plain Green Loans who allegedly charged him 625% in interest. The company insisted it was “not loan sharking,” but the customer cautioned others against borrowing from Plain Green Loans.
- The Missoulian discussed the Chippewa Cree’s ownership of Plain Green Loans and how many payday lenders are affiliating themselves with tribes in order to take advantage of tribal immunity. Many lawmakers are fighting to restrict these practices, claiming they’re unfair to consumers. A spokesperson for the Consumer Federation of America said that, “It’s a real threat to the ability of state regulators to enforce the loan market to police caps and other consumer protection measures.”
Plain Green Loans claims to be there in your hour of need, but its outrageous interest rates could land you in even more financial trouble. Look into personal loan providers instead, or even credit cards before getting a loan through a payday loan lender like Plain Green. Any one of these payday loan alternatives should be able to offer you far more money at a much lower rate.