Affordable Alternatives to Predatory Loans

Last updated on September 2, 2022

If you are struggling to make ends meet or pay for an emergency, this guide can help you with safe and affordable options to high-cost loans. It includes ways to lower your bills and find other sources of one-time income, as well as lower-cost loans. Most of these options do not require you to take on more debt.

*NEW* Federal Student Loan Cancellation

The Biden Administration announced that borrowers earning less than $125,000 per year in income are eligible to have $10,000-20,000 of student loan debt cancelled. Go to the Student Loans section under Option 1: Get Help Lowering Bills to learn more.

Prefer Talking to a Live Person? Ask a Financial Coach.

Capital Good Fund’s financial coaching hotline provides one-on-one financial advice to any Illinois resident. Starting at $15 per month, the nonprofit can create a plan with you and can advocate on your behalf with creditors. They also offer a credit-builder program for $5 per month. Call 866-584-3651 (English or Spanish)

The City of Aurora’s Financial Empowerment Center provides free, high-quality, one-on-one financial counseling to low-and moderate-income residents of the Aurora region. Learn more.

Man getting advice


This resource guide is produced in partnership with New America Chicago, Woodstock Institute, and Financial Inclusion for All Illinois.

Special thanks to all the hardworking nonprofits, socially-conscious lenders, and community partners who are helping restore wealth in our communities. Your work is so important! Thanks also to Jane Doyle, Brent Adams, Amy Eisenstein, Vanessa Rangel, Gordon Mayer, Meegan Dugan Bassett, Bob Reddy, Joe Wilkes, LuLin McArthur, and Lauren Monaco Grossman for their work on this project.