6 Payday Loan Alternatives in Houston

We’re committed to providing Texans with access to affordable financial products. We want to help our community members find the best solutions, even if it isn’t a Fig Loan.

Fig is part of United Way THRIVE in Houston, which is a team led by United Way of Greater Houston to provide financial assistance to hardworking Texans. We want to show all of the great non-profit options available to those who have bad credit but want to avoid taking out a payday or title loan.

Below are six payday loan alternatives where Houstonians can benefit from the great work of our THRIVE partners:

1) Auto Loans

If you are looking for an Auto Loan, our friends at Promise Credit Union (PCU) may be able to help you out. PCU offers auto loans up to $35,000 and rates as low as 2.50% APR. Even if you have an auto loan now, PCU may still be able to help you refinance into a lower rate!

To apply you’ll need to have steady employment, 4 references and be able to prove residence in Houston.

2) Bad Credit Loans

If you are considering a payday or title loan, stop! Promise Credit Union (PCU) offers a Payroll Advance and they don’t check credit! Don’t live in Houston? Not a problem! Non-Houston residents can apply after attending PCU’s introductory financial literacy className at a nearby financial center.

PCU offers two sizes of Payroll Advance Loans, $250 and $500. Both loans are offered at 10% APR but have different lengths and application fees. The $250 loan is for 6 months and has a $25 application fee. The $500 loan is for 12 months and has a $50 application fee. But, the application fee is only required if your Payroll Advance loan is approved!

To apply you’ll need to have steady employment, 4 references, a savings account with PCU and be a current client with a United Way THRIVE Partner.

3) Checking & Savings Account

Looking for a bank account? Bank On Houston has a great program to help you get a customer friendly checking or savings account! If you sign up with Bank On Houston, their Spanish speaking staff will set you up with resources such as free debit/ATM, online banking, mobile banking, wire transfers with financial institutions that are FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) or NCUA (National Credit Administration) insured. The best part is your account could qualify for $0 monthly service charges!

Through its collaborative partnership, Bank On Houston can also help you set up a "Second Chance" bank account. This is a great opportunity if you are looking to rebuild your bank account history!

To apply, you’ll need to be a resident of the Greater Houston area and some form of U.S. OR non U.S. identification.

4) Credit Builder Loans (3 Options)

Are you doing well today but want to avoid payday lenders in the future? Or are you just looking to build credit? Take out a credit builder loan! Credit builder loans help borrowers build credit at a much lower cost than a regular loan. Credit builder loans are specifically designed for customers who do not actually need a loan but want to build credit history.

  1. Our friends at LISC Financial Opportunity Centers have an amazing credit builder called the LISC Twin Accounts. It can not only build your credit up to 40 points but also matches each payment so you get double the amount you saved at the end!

    Participants are issued a 12-month, $300 loan at 9% APR. The $300 is held in a “locked” savings account, each payment is matched and the original $300 + $300 match is released to participants after completion of all loan payments!

    To apply, you’ll need sufficient monthly income to cover the loan payment and have few (or no) active lines of credit.

  2. Promise Credit Union (PCU) also offers a Credit Development Loan for those who wish to start or improve their credit score. Similar to the LISC credit builder, the Credit Development Loan places a “locked” $500 in a member’s account and releases the $500 after all payments are made. The loan is 6 months long, and costs 10% APR in addition to a $25 application fee.

  3. For participants in Covenant Community Capital’s Matched Savings Account (see below), Covenant Community Capital also offers a no cost $180 Credit Builder loan!

5) Matched Savings Account (3 Options)

  1. Alliance for Multicultural Community Services’ offers an Individual Development Account (IDA) which is a matched savings program for those who want to purchase a home, start/expand their own business or pursue higher education. This is a great deal if you are looking to jumpstart your savings. If you save $500 for education, Alliance will match up to $4,000! If you save $1000 for home or business needs, Alliance will also match up to $4,000!

    To apply, you must be employed for 6 consecutive months.

  2. If you live in the Greater Houston area, you may also be eligible for Covenant Community Capital’s Individual Development Account (IDA) . This account is for you if you are saving for a home or education. Covenant Community Capital offers $1 to $1 matching up to $2000 for regularly monthly deposits! As a bonus, Covenant also offers a no cost $180 Credit Builder loan to anyone who opens up an IDA.

    To apply you must be at least 18 years old, live in the Greater Houston area, currently be working full or part time and have less than $10,000 in total assets.

  3. Promise Credit Union (PCU) also offers a matched savings product! PCU’s United Way SAVE matched savings account is available for anyone with an income of $58,000 or less. PCU offers a 25% match on any dollar you save up to $1,000!

    To apply and receive your match, you must have your taxes prepared at a Neighborhood Tax Center during tax season and keep the money in your account for one year.

6) Free Tax Preparation (2 Options)

  1. Neighborhood Tax Centers offer Free Tax Preparation to individuals and families with an income of $58,000 or less. They have 12 sites throughout Houston during tax season and one year-round site with Spanish support and help understanding Affordable Care Act! Walk-ins accepted with a smile!

  2. Northwest Assistance Ministries also offers Free Tax Preparation to individuals and families with an income of $58,000 or less. They are available every Tuesday and Thursday during February- April and also offer help understanding Affordable Care Act.

For more resources, be sure to check out our monthly social impact spotlight on our Blog! Every month we will feature a financial technology startup with a social mission to improve the financial lives of Americans.