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Title Loans in Iowa: All the Essential Information

Welcome to the Hawkeye State! Iowa today sits between the great Mississippi River and Missouri River and is a Midwestern state famous for its Iowa table-to-table cuisine.

Do you know what else is famous in Iowa? Title Loans!

From covering financial emergencies to getting quick cash to pay other debts, here's a primer on how title loans in Iowa work.

What Is a Title Loan?

A title loan is an unsecured loan (like payday loans) where you will use your car as collateral in exchange for money.

In Iowa, title loans are also known as title pawns, while other states use the term car title loans.

What is Collateral?

A collateral is a form of security (e.g., house, car, land, etc.) to pay a debt where it will be exchanged if the person defaults on a loan (unable to pay).

Who Can Get a Title Loan?

You must be a US resident to apply for a title loan in Iowa. To verify, you must bring your ID and proof of address (more on this later).

Sending voicemail messages and pre-recorded messages to verify your US residency is not allowed.

For those sneaky people, you cannot also use an automatic dialer used by call centers to send over your proof of US residency.

How Are Title Loans Different From Other Loans in Iowa?

Is having bad credit ok?

Fortunately, bad credit will not hinder you from getting a car title loan.

Unlike a traditional bank loan, a credit check is necessary to make sure you can repay the debt in full. The beauty of a title loan is that you can skip those credit checks.

Most lenders WILL NOT look at your credit history when applying for a car title loan. This is why car title loans are popular with people with a poor credit history.

Without credit checks, the application process is much faster, and in most cases, you can get instant approval of your loan application on the SAME DAY.

This is assuming you are submitting all documents on time. Otherwise, expect the contract the following day.

With a faster approval time expect that there won't be a pre-approval stage and your application will get pre-approved within the same day.

Good news for those who are in financial emergency mode.

DISCLAIMER: Even if you have a history of bad credit, it will always be better to clear up your credit history since lenders for auto title loans can still do credit checks from time to time.

What form of collateral do I need?

Next, let's discuss collaterals. Similar to traditional bank loans in Iowa, title loans will be needing collateral to pay off the debt.

Good news! Like most loans, you can still use your car or vehicle. But beware! The lending company will repossess your car/vehicle if you cannot repay the loan.

Having many car titles is also a huge plus. In consequence, you will have the option of taking out more auto title loans.

You will get various interest rates, but this is a viable option if you need fast cash.

BEWARE: We do not advise getting multiple car title loans in Iowa, especially if you are cash poor. Evaluate your loan options first before making a decision.

Do I need a bank account?

No, you do not need a bank account when applying for Iowa title loans.

Why Do People Get Title Loans in Iowa?

For Iowa residents, getting a title loan in Iowa is a matter of circumstance. It may be challenging to get one if you live below the government destitution line (poverty line).

Based on the 2020- 2021 survey, the normal median income of a typical household in Iowa is $61,800, with an average family size of 3-4.

With rising food and rental prices, a $61,800 annual household income can be gone with one Thanos snap. This is why car title loans are sometimes seen as the go-to alternative.

Illustrating with an example, let's say paying rent.

The gross median monthly rent in Iowa is around $900-$1,000, depending on the neighborhood. Let's say you're earning $4,000 monthly, and a medical emergency comes.

This is a case where you should consider title loans to get your funds paid quickly.

You can use the loan proceeds as emergency funding to pay your medical bill. You might get into deeper debt by not paying your rent without a title loan.

How to Apply for Car Title Loans in Iowa?

Applying for a title loan is easy as long as you bring these requirements:

  • Car Insurance
  • Contact details (cell phone number, email, etc.)
  • Vehicle Title
  • Proof of Income
  • Legal age of 18 and above
  • References from friends or family with addresses and contact details.
  • Proof of address (e.g., Utility Bill)

These are the basic requirements whenever you get to apply for a car title loan in Iowa. Bringing these documents when you do a store visit will make life easier.

The loan agent can process your documents quickly, and you can get pre-approved within the day as long as it's before the cutoff period.

What's the process?

First, you need to fill out the application form and submit the required documents mentioned above.

After filling up the application form, a loan agent will review the papers and the documents to ensure everything is in order and will be endorsed for pre-approval.

Special cases

If you have a business-owned car, you will encounter difficulties getting an auto title loan. Since you are not the vehicle's legal owner, check with HR if you can use the car title.

If you are planning to get a title loan in Iowa, ensure that you do not have any pending payments on your car, and if the car title is transferrable to your name, the better.

Can I Apply Online?

YES! You need to fill up your online application with the correct details.

You'll also need to provide the following on top of your application form online:

  1. Valid ID.
  2. Proof of Income
  3. Clean Car Title (No pending payments)
  4. Proof of Residency

Getting the best deal online is pretty standard. Discounts, more favorable payment options, and competitive interest rates are the common reasons for getting online title loans.

Sometimes, you can get a longer payment term, up to 42 months, if you apply online. Consider this when looking for Iowa title loans.


Online title loans are sometimes hard to implement. Iowa is one of the few states where online title loans are allowed.

In other states, such as Oregon, you will need to get car title loans physically, and getting one through an online application is illegal.

So, depending on where you are, always check first if online title loans are legal in your state or not.

Where Can I Get a Title Loan in Iowa?

Getting a title loan in Iowa is easy! There are lending companies throughout Iowa where you can inquire about title loans.

Going to a lending company for title loans in Iowa is a pleasant experience.

Loan agents will discuss your options with you and different competitive rates for your loan.

Sometimes, you can also fill up a short inquiry form about car title loans. 

Customer service will eventually get back to you within 1-2 business days.

Once you finish filling up your loan application, someone will review your documents and submit them for pre-approval.

Once your application is approved, you can access various title loan services to help you repay your loan early.

Visit them on ANY BUSINESS DAY and finally get a title loan that fits your needs!

How Much Is the Loan Amount When I Get a Car Title Loan in Iowa?

Depending on your car title or many car titles, you can get at least $300 or at most $25,000.

Title loan interest rates may vary, but for the state of Iowa, the APR you can get is capped at 21%.

The maximum cap protects consumers from scams and predatory loan institutions that charge high rates people cannot pay.

TRIVIA: The state of Iowa, back in 2009, created a law requiring all lenders issuing title loans to cap the APR at 21%.

How Long Do I Need to Pay for the Loan?

Paying for a title loan takes at most a year or at least a month.

Depending on your loan terms, you can set a payment plan or pay off your debt through monthly payments.

Once you've paid back the auto title loan amount, you can also get your car title back the same day you made your last payment.

Can a Title Loan Build Credit?

No, you cannot build your credit rating through car title loans. The lender doesn't report your monthly payments to the credit bureau.

Once you've finished your loan payment, your credit score will remain as is as before.

This is why bad credit ok for title loans.

Is There a Prepayment Penalty?

NOT ALL lending companies charge a prepayment penalty.

Regardless, always review the terms and conditions of the contract to check if there is a prepayment clause. You can always decline if there is a clause and look for another lender.

Alternatively, you can check with the lender if they charge prepayment penalties; you want to look for a different lender. 

You can do this, especially if you plan to repay the debt early.

Though most penalty charge is up to 2%, it's still best to go to a lender who doesn't charge any prepayment penalty.

You can still save that 2% for an item worth 98%!

Beware of Scams

If you receive a text message asking you to apply for a title loan, do not reply to the text message. AVOID giving out your personal information over the phone or through email.

These people tend to give outrageous interest rates beyond the competitive interest rates set by most lenders throughout Iowa.

Getting a title loan is only done through an authorized lender. These places offer the most affordable title loans through a transparent title loan process.

Loans in Iowa are typically strict in some cases, and state laws are enacted to ensure that you, the consumer, are protected from scams, whether online or offline.

Frequently Asked Questions

Need more information about title loans? Here are some frequent questions about title loans you should know!

Can I Get a Title Loan for Someone Else?

No, you cannot get a title loan for someone else in Iowa. Only the person stated in the car title can get a title loan.

You cannot also "express written consent" through handwriting or electronic to allow someone to use your car title as the legal party getting an auto title loan.

How Do I Use My Loan Proceeds?

Here are some ways you can utilize the money received from title loans.

1: Emergency funding

Having emergency funds is the primary function of title loans in Iowa. It is to be used for sudden emergencies you cannot plan or prepare.

As a form of financial help, you can use the proceeds to pay off sudden medical bills, pay unexpected fixes on your house, or help family members who need cash.

2: Increased Cash Options

Receiving your loan proceeds will give you a sudden cash boost, at least in the short term.

Having that extra money in your pocket allows you to review your different cash options.

It might be tempting to splurge your money on that next vacation, but using that money to generate more income or pay off any outstanding debts will be better.

Whatever option you choose, make sure it's the soundest financial decision you will make.

3: Paying debt

You can use debt to pay other forms of debt with a lower interest rate. Though not the ideal case, you can consider this option when you're already tight on money.

CAUTION: When using debt to pay other debt, ensure that the rate you use isn't high; otherwise, you'll get into a debt trap. 

Does Defaulting on a Title Loan Affect Your Credit?

No, defaulting on your debt will not affect your credit score in this case. However, practicing paying off your debts on time will be a good habit.

Alternatives of a Title Loan

Let's check out other options that you might want to consider if you are having reservations with title loans.

1: Personal Loan

A personal loan is a short-term loan to pay off any immediate emergency expenses. It can either be secured or unsecured.

Unlike payday loans, which is a form of a cash advance loan, personal loans in Iowa can be in ANY FORM that can come in handy when considering your options.

Banks, loan institutions, or even title loans can be your personalized loan, depending on your choice.

2: Relying on Charity or Church Donations

If you're not a fan of title loans in Iowa, an alternative is relying on charitable institutions and church donations.

If you're a fan of the Spiderman comics and games, then you would be familiar with Feast, where Aunt May works to help people in need.

Think of these institutions as your real-life "Feast." You can always rely on these places when you are in a pinch.

These places tend to accept people who are in need. They offer food, shelter, and even clothing. Sometimes these institutions also provide free cash assistance.

3: Consulting a Debt Counselor

If title loans in Iowa are not your thing, you are already capped out on getting loans. You may want to consider getting a debt counselor.

A debt counselor can help you sort out your financial troubles and advise getting you out of that debt hole.

4: Getting a part-time job

Working on a part-time job to pay off debt is a common thing to do these days. Most people who worked hard and hustled early tend to be well off later during their careers.

Many part-time jobs in Iowa can help you earn extra money during your free time.

Though it may be time-consuming and physically draining at first, earning that much-needed dollars could be the difference between defaulting or keeping your car.

Another option is to go freelancing which is another popular option most people do. Unlike working part-time, building up your freelance business takes time.

So, consider this option if you have the time and patience to build a freelancing business.

Is the Concept of Refinancing Applicable to Title Loans?


You can do refinancing on title loans. Refinancing is common whenever you can no longer pay your current debt.

However, be careful whenever you refinance debt. The face amount will increase, and there is a chance the rate will also go up.

What Happens if You Can No Longer Pay? What Are My Options?

The downside of getting title loans is everyone can avail of them. 

Credit checks are rarely done, so people who cannot repay the debt are given a new form of debt.

These people lose their car or vehicle to the lender because of poor financial habits.

We call this repossession. But do not worry! In this event, it's important to remember that you can still get back your car.

Before repossession, you will receive a letter of notice from the lending company. Getting this letter should already signal that you need to assess your debt options:

  1. Pay the Debt 
  2. Refinance 
  3. Default
  4. Borrow money to pay the debt

Option 4 isn't ideal since you are replacing debt with debt; it should always be your last option. Options 3 and 1 are usually the safest extremes.

Option 2 can be a sound option, but it can also be risky. Refinancing may get you into a debt hole you may not get out of in the future.

So which options should I take? 

If possible, pay the debt, but if you are running out of cash, there is no shame in defaulting though you might lose your car.

But like we said earlier, there's a chance to get your car back!

Though it will be challenging, negotiating the terms of your debt with your lender can be tricky, especially when you have a bad credit history.

Do not lose hope! Most of the lenders here in Iowa are willing to help you find a way to avoid car repossession so that you can drive around our beautiful state.

How Many States Offer Title Loans?

Including Iowa, there are a total of 22 states across the United States that allow the issuance of title loans.

Twenty-eight states don't. We cannot mention them all, but you can always check online if the state allows people to get title loans!

Can I Use My Motorbike or Motorcycle When Applying for Title Loans?


Not the most common option for most people, you can use your motorcycle when applying for auto title loans.

That 'auto' in the name means that besides motorbikes, you can also use vans or other vehicles as collateral.

Though, as a heads up, using other vehicles as collateral may take longer to process your application, so keep this in mind before going to a lender.


Title loans in Iowa are pretty easy to acquire. All you need to do is visit a lender on any business day, fill up an application form, and you're all set after a while!

Getting one can be an exciting experience but also a tremendous financial cost. You can lose your car title if you default on the borrowed amount.

Tempting it might be to get fast cash, always consider your options before getting a title loan. But if you're all set and decided, head to your nearest lender and get that loan.

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