Borrowing money online is a convenient way to get the cash you need in an emergency, but it does open you up to security risks. You’ll have to share your financial information online at a time when security breaches are a common threat.
While you can’t control how online direct lenders choose to safeguard your information, you can be selective about which lenders you share your data with. Here are four steps to help you find a lender you can trust.
- Look for Site Certificates
- Read Privacy Policies
- Comparison Shop
- Don’t Fill out Multiple Applications if You Don’t Have to
1. Look for Site Certificates
Most online searches for loans start on Google. Once you start clicking on websites from your results page, you’ll want to look for a couple of key characteristics as soon as you land on the homepage.
- A closed padlock to the left of the URL
- A URL that starts with HTTPS
These two features confirm an online lender has SSL (secure socket layer) encryption protecting any information you share with its servers.
2. Read Privacy Policies
Privacy policies are broadly covered by federal laws. However, some states have their legislation regulating how and when a financial institution can use your info.
In Missouri, for example, there’s the Missouri Data Protection Law. This law holds financial institutions to account should they willingly or unknowingly expose customer personal information.
3. Comparison Shop
Passive research won’t expose you to security threats, provided you stick to trusted websites. You’ll be able to review the differences between instalment loans and lines of credit without having to share your info.
Comparison shopping can also help you locate the best possible option for your current financial profile, so you should always research the available loans near you.
Location is important despite an instalment loan’s online origination. That’s because online direct lenders must adhere to state lending laws. These laws influence the rates and terms lenders can set, which means the cost of borrowing may be different in Missouri than it is in California.
That’s why you must narrow in on the loans legally available in your state. So, for example, if you live in Missouri, you should search out personal loans in Missouri. Viable instalment loans in Missouri are available on secure websites from lenders with robust security.
4. Don’t Fill out Multiple Applications if You Don’t Have to
If you need fast cash, you might be tempted to fill out as many applications as possible to see which lender will respond first. But you should tamp the brakes before you press send on the next app.
Each application you don’t intend to accept shares your information with another lender. This increases your risk of exposure, even if they have the right certificates and privacy policies in place.
All this talk about security threats can make you suspicious of online loans, but they’re as safe as anything else you purchase online. As long as you take these steps to protect your personal information, you won’t have to worry about a potential data breach. Along with a strong password, you’ll be able to borrow safely.