Though the specific percentage depends on what source you prefer, all the statistics indicate that a sizable number of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Unfortunately, living without an emergency fund is a recipe for disaster. Without a few months of expenses in the bank, people have no choice but to turn to debt when surprises happen. For those without access to traditional banking options, short-term lenders like Fox Hills Cash seem like the only option. But is the lender safe to work with, or will they end up causing more harm than good? Read this Fox Hills Cash review for the answer.
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What is Fox Hills Cash?
Fox Hills Cash is a short-term installment lender. Their target customers are people struggling financially due to some surprise expense, especially those that can’t qualify for traditional banking options due to poor credit.
Essentially, their loans are supposed to be a stopgap between paychecks, as their website states: “Sometimes bills are due before you get your paycheck and you need cash to avoid penalties and fees.”
If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same strategy that payday lenders have been using for years. Truthfully, the two products are functionally identical. The qualifications are easy — all you need is a bank account and proof of steady income — but they charge borrowers an arm and a leg for the privilege of borrowing a few hundred dollars.
Technically, installment loans give borrowers more time to repay their loans than payday loans. Unfortunately, because of their excessive interest rates, that usually backfires.
The only way to make payday loans even remotely affordable is to pay them off immediately to prevent interest from accruing. Even Fox Hills Cash admits it: “To minimize the total cost of your loan, we strongly recommend that you either pay your loan in full, or pay as much as you can to reduce the principal balance.”
Of course, doing so is almost impossible, as payday loans have shown repeatedly. A quarter of payday loans roll over at least nine times, trapping borrowers in a cycle of debt. Unfortunately, these installment loans do essentially the same thing by extending the repayment term from the onset.
READ MORE: Tribal loans and tribal lenders to avoid
Is Fox Hills Cash Licensed?
Fox Hills Cash is based in South Dakota, but they don’t have a license from the state. On paper, they operate out of a local Native American reservation as an extension of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, so they don’t have to obtain a state lending license.
They’re a tribal lender, which means that they follow the rules and regulations set forth by their tribe, not the state where they do business. That doesn’t sound inherently dangerous, but it almost always works out poorly for the people who do business with them.
State regulations are primarily in place to protect consumers, and tribal lenders like Fox Hills Cash have no obligation or inclination to respect them. Most significantly, they use their tribal status to charge interest rates far above state limits.
Their website discloses this: “By entering into a transaction with WLCC Lending FHC d/b/a Fox Hills Cash, you are agreeing to have the law of the Ogala Sioux Tribe govern this Loan. The law of the Ogala Sioux Tribe relating to lending does not limit the rate of interest or fees that may be charged.”
Typical Loan Terms
Most tribal lenders withhold the details of their products until borrowers receive their loan agreements, but Fox Hills Cash is refreshingly forthcoming with their loan terms. Here’s what borrowers can expect when they take out a loan from them:
- Principal balances between $100 and $500
- An APR of approximately 780%
- Bi-weekly repayment schedules
- Repayment terms of up to a year, depending on the size of the principal balance
- No prepayment fees for borrowers who wish to pay off their balance early
- $25 charge for each instance of late payment or non-sufficient funds
Fox Hills Cash has a sample loan schedule that demonstrates how expensive these loans can be if they go their full term. A $300 loan with an interest rate of 780% would take a year to pay off and cost a staggering $1,365.50 in interest. Each payment would only reduce the principal balance by $10.
Borrowing from a lender without doing the proper due diligence is a high-stakes gamble. Reading reviews of Fox Hills Cash like this one is a good start, but it’s also helpful to check the reviews left by previous customers.
Fox Hills Cash has been around since at least 2014, but they have a relatively thin online presence. There is no Better Business Bureau page for the lender. The Business Consumer Alliance is the only crowdsourced review site with a page for the tribal lender.
Unsurprisingly, the reviews for the lender are universally negative. All of them accuse the company of being a scam, though for various reasons. They have the following complaints:
- Contacting consumers who haven’t applied for a loan and asking for their sensitive data to complete their (made up) request for funding
- Excessive interest rates and repayment schedules that make the payments seem never-ending
- Unhelpful and inflexible customer service representatives
- Deceptive representation of their interest rates and fees in proposed loan agreements
While there aren’t that many reviews on the site, their consistency paints a pretty convincingly negative picture of Fox Hills Cash.
Every review listed is a one-star review, except for a single four-star review:
While some of the comments here in defense of Fox Hills Cash’s interest rates are questionable, there is a good point raised. If you get a call from a lender you don’t recognize and you have not submitted an application, do not offer any personal information, regardless of whether it’s a legitimate lender. Just politely request that the lender not contact you again and hang up.
Another way to verify a lender’s trustworthiness online is to search for any legal action against them. It’s not easy to sue a tribal lender because of tribal immunity, but it is possible with the right strategy. Even if the suits aren’t successful, they often bring to light potentially dangerous practices.
There isn’t any evidence of lawsuits online against Fox Hills Cash itself, but there are hits for a lawsuit against their owners, the Wakpamni Lake Community Corporation.
They indicate similar issues to those experienced by the customers who complained on the Business Consumer alliance page: unreasonable and illegal interest rates that consistently trap borrowers into a cycle of debt.
Taking out a loan from Fox Hills Cash is almost always a mistake, but it’s not a surprise that their target market does so as often as they do. They’re the perfect trap for people who are in financial distress.
They lure people in with the following:
- An online application that seems harmless to fill out given how easy it is to complete
- Virtually nonexistent underwriting requirements that encourage just about every working adult to apply
- Loans with principal balances as low as $100 which lets borrowers receive only what they need
- The ability to fund loans as quickly as a single business day
If it weren’t for their excessive price tag, these loans would be the perfect resource for people with bad credit and low incomes in need of financial support.
Fox Hills Cash is an unexceptional tribal lender. They suffer from all the same problems as the rest of their industry, each of which is significant enough alone to make borrowing from them dangerous. In combination, they should send just about everyone running in the opposite direction.
Here are the downsides to working with the lender:
- A loan of even a few hundred dollars can take a year to pay back and cost over a thousand dollars in interest and fees
- Their owners have a history of breaking state laws whenever it suits them, resulting in significant legal trouble
- Every customer that’s reviewed their interactions with the company indicates a negative experience
- Their tribal immunity removes almost all legal leverage that a borrower might have in other lending relationships
If it’s at all possible, borrow money from some other lender, preferably one with a license and respect for state laws. Those who have no alternatives (or have already taken out a loan) should try to pay the balance off as soon as possible to limit interest costs.
How to Apply to Fox Hills Cash
While we’d never recommend going through with it, filling out Fox Hills Cash’s application is a simple and easy process. Again, it’s all online, and most people should be able to fill it out in just a few minutes.
Their FAQ page states that all it takes to qualify for a loan from them is the following: “You must receive regular income and have an active bank account that has been open for at least ninety (90) days. You must also receive an income of at least $1,500 per month. Military personnel and individuals with dependents in the military are not eligible.”
These requirements shouldn’t rule out most working adults. A $1,500 monthly income amounts to just $18,000 a year, which puts someone in the bottom 19%.
For those who meet these minimum requirements, filling out the application is as easy as providing the following information:
- Personal information: name, contact info, Social Security Number, and military status
- Work information: source of income, frequency, and amount
- Bank and reference details: bank account details to allow fund transfers back and forth
Keep in mind that their application being easy to complete doesn’t make it something to take lightly. It’s always a risk to share these details. Fox Hills Cash could easily abuse it themselves or sell it to a third party that would.
Better Alternatives to Fox Hills Cash
Most people that resort to payday loans or installment lenders like Fox Hills Cash are desperate for funds. They don’t have access to savings, a personal support network, or even traditional bank loans.
While these people have fewer borrowing options than someone with a healthier credit score, they still don’t have to resort to usurious lenders. Here are some much better alternatives:
- Paycheck Advance Apps: For anyone who needs a small amount of cash to make it to their next payday, paycheck advance apps are the ideal solution. They let their users access the earnings they’ve accrued during a payday before they would normally receive their paycheck without a credit check. Most of them require no payment and only ask for tips when possible, though some call for a small fee.
- Payday Alternative Loans (PALs): Accessible short-term loans address a real problem in our society, but most lenders that provide them take advantage of their captive market. To provide a more affordable alternative, federal credit unions offer PALs. They have a lot in common with payday loans but follow strict regulations that make them more affordable, including a 28% interest rate limit.
- Secured Personal Loans: The reason lenders care about credit scores is that they want to be reasonably confident they’ll make a profit on their loans. At the very least, they want to recoup their money. Providing collateral and getting a secured loan guarantees the latter. That makes lenders much more likely to work with a borrower who has bad credit.
Any of these alternatives would be superior to a Fox Hills Cash installment loan. They’re almost as accessible to people with bad credit, but they don’t cost an arm and a leg.
The Bottom Line
By this point, you probably already know what our final recommendation is going to be. To sum it up, we’d suggest getting funding from another lender whenever possible, preferably one that isn’t a tribal or payday lender.
Fox Hills Cash and their peers are far too likely to trap their borrowers in a cycle of debt. Their interest rates are unreasonably high, and their tribal immunity makes it difficult to trust that they’ll treat their customers as they should.
Try all of the alternatives we suggested above before considering a tribal lender as a source of cash. Even better, try to avoid taking out a loan in the first place. Even the most affordable loans are only a temporary solution. If you need help, reach out to a credit counselor. Their services are free, and they can help with everything from budgeting to raising your credit score. Find one near you today!
If this is your first call to customer service, call 866-677-1500 or email support@FoxHillsCash.com. If you have already contacted customer service in an attempt to resolve an issue or concern and still need additional assistance, please contact the Wakpamni Lake Community Consumer Complaint Tribe Hotline at 1-800-677-3860 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fox Hills Cash is based in Batesland, South Dakota.
Fox Hills Cash loans range from $200 to $500. Returning customers may be eligible to borrow up to $1,000.