Cash advances can help tide you over until your next paycheck. These fast, small-dollar loans can potentially be great tools when you need money fast, such as for emergency expenses or if you’re short on money before payday.

Although many online cash advances from direct lenders are legitimate, you should do some due diligence first to avoid costly scams. To help you out, this article will dive into a few ways to make sure your cash advance comes from a legitimate direct lender.

1. Check the lender’s Better Business Bureau rating

The Better Business Bureau is a non-profit dedicated to helping consumers find legitimate direct lenders and other businesses. It provides several ways to evaluate lender legitimacy. First, it gives lenders a grade from A+ to F, with A+ being the best and F being the worst. Lenders with a low grade might not be legitimate. Customers can also rate the lender out of 5, write reviews, and leave complaints about a business. A lot of negative ratings, reviews, and complaints may be a sign of a bad lender.

2. Look at online reviews

Outside the BBB are other review sites where customers can rate and review lenders. TrustPilot is one of the most well-known sites, seeing nearly 1 million reviews posted each month. Try to find your lender on TrustPilot. If they have thousands of reviews with mostly high ratings, that’s a good sign they’re legitimate.

That said, it’s also smart to look for other review sites like Google Reviews and Yelp to see more reviews of the lender. You can also see if the business has a Facebook page and check out the reviews there.

3. Check their licenses

In general, lenders must be appropriately licensed in every state they do business in. So, you should check the lender’s website to see if they’re licensed in your state. If they are, that’s a sign they’re a legitimate direct lender. If you don’t see the license, or if they don’t have a website, contact your state government’s regulator or attorney general. They can verify whether the lender is licensed in your state.

Get a legit cash advance

Cash advances can be helpful financial tools in a pinch, but you have to be careful that you only work with a legitimate direct lender. This starts with doing some research online. Look over the lender’s Better Business Bureau profile to see what grade they have and check out any customer complaints or negative reviews. Expand your search with TrustPilot and other review sites or blogs to get a better picture of their legitimacy. Finally, check that they’re licensed to lend in your state. Follow these tips, and you’ll find a legitimate direct lender that can offer the funds you need while protecting yourself from scams.

Notice: Information provided in this article is for information purposes only. Consult your financial advisor about your financial circumstances.