Title Loans: What Are They and How Do They Work



March 22, 2023

Title Loans

What are car title loans?

Title loans are a type of secured loan where the borrower uses their vehicle as collateral to borrow money. With auto title loans, the lender holds onto the title of the borrower's vehicle until the loan is repaid. The amount of the loan is usually a percentage of the vehicle's value, and the borrower must agree to pay back the loan plus interest within a specific time frame, within a specified time range.

Title loans are typically used by people who have limited access to other forms of credit. The interest rates on title loans are often very high, which can make it difficult for borrowers to repay the loan. If the borrower is unable to repay the loan, the lender may repossess the vehicle and sell it to recover the loan amount.

It is important to carefully consider the risks and costs associated with title loans before deciding to take one out. It is recommended that borrowers take out a title loan if they are confident that they can repay it on time and are aware of the potential consequences of defaulting on the loan.

How do title loans work?

Here is how the title loan process typically works:

  1. The borrower applies for a title loan at a lender's office, either in person or online. The lender will ask for information about the borrower's vehicle, including its make, model, year, and condition, and may also request proof of income and identification.
  2. Based on the information provided, the lender will determine the value of the borrower's vehicle and offer a loan amount. The loan amount is usually a percentage of the vehicle's value, typically ranging from 25% to 50%.
  3. If the borrower agrees to the loan terms, they will sign a contract and hand over the title to their vehicle to the lender. The lender will hold onto the title as collateral until the loan is repaid.
  4. The borrower must make regular payments on the loan, typically every 30 days, until the loan is paid off in full. The interest rates on title loans are usually very high, often exceeding 300% APR, which can make it difficult for borrowers to repay the loan.
  5. If the borrower is unable to repay the loan, the lender may repossess the vehicle and sell it to recover the loan amount. In some cases, the lender may also charge additional fees and interest, which can make the loan even more expensive.

How much do online title loans cost?

The cost of auto title loans depend on several factors, such as the state where you live, the lender you choose, the amount you borrow, and the length of the loan.

In general, title loan interest rates can range from 25% to 300% or more, depending on the lender and the state's regulations. Many lenders also charge fees for processing your loan, such as origination fees, lien fees, and late payment fees.

Compare, for example, how much a title loan can cost versus Yendo:

Title and Payday Loan information in the Comparison tabled is based on the following CFPB Reports (1)(2)

It's important to note that title loans are typically short-term loans, usually for 30 days or less, and they are secured by your vehicle's title. If you are unable to repay the loan on time, the lender can repossess your car, which can lead to additional fees and legal complications.

How much can I get for a title loan?

The amount you can get for a title loan may vary greatly depending on your vehicle's value and your ability to repay the loan. Typically, title loans can range from $100 to $10,000. But, again, the amount varies based your specific circumstances. Mostly, importantly, remember that title loans can have high interest rates that can trap you in a cycle of debt. It's highly recommended that you understand the terms first before taking out one.

Where can you get a title loan?

Title loans are regulated at the state level in the United States, and not all states allow them. The following states currently allow title loans:

  1. Alabama
  2. Arizona
  3. Delaware
  4. Georgia
  5. Idaho
  6. Illinois
  7. Louisiana
  8. Mississippi
  9. Missouri
  10. Nevada
  11. New Hampshire
  12. New Mexico
  13. South Carolina
  14. Tennessee
  15. Texas
  16. Utah
  17. Virginia
  18. Washington, D.C.
  19. Wisconsin

How do I get out of a title loan?

If you find yourself in the position of having a title loan and need to get out of it, there are options. We've created a post on this topic, "How to get out of a title loan," to provide guidance on potential choices.


In sum, we created Yendo to bring access, transparency, and clarity to the process of borrowing money. And that's why we think Yendo is a better option than a traditional title loan - title loans are expensive, inconvenient, don’t build credit (Experian), and often trap borrowers in debt.

What's Yendo?

Yendo is the first credit card that's backed by the value of your car. The card can provide access to credit for those who might not be able to qualify for other credit cards. It's a real credit card, powered by Mastercard, that provides credit limits from $450 - $10,000, depending on your value of your car amongst other factors, that can provide people with access to ongoing funds. So, rather than having to re-apply for loans, for example, you can access funds up to your credit limit on an ongoing basis and, with responsible usage like on-time payments, build your credit too.

Features & benefits

  • Credit limit - access up to $10k in credit
  • App - the Yendo app let's you manage your account, wherever you are
  • Virtual card - access a portion of your credit limit prior to getting your physical card in the mail with the Yendo virtual card. You can continue to use your virtual card even after your physical card arrives as well
  • Cash advances - ability to do cash advances on your card
  • Credit building - with responsible usage, you can not only have access to ongoing credit, but also build your credit for potential future financial options

Additional resources