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How Do Title Loans Work in Texas?

Are you urgently needing cash but have an asset like a paid-off car available? In Texas, borrowing against the equity in your vehicle through title loan lending has become an increasingly popular option. Title loans allow state residents to leverage their car’s value to quickly access loan funds in exchange for temporarily transferring the car title and additional fees. Before committing, read on to better understand Texas title loan laws, loan terms, risks, and alternatives.

Texas Title Loan Regulations

Texas lawmakers have approved legislation formally authorizing car title lending within the state at set maximum interest rates and loan terms. However, title loan practices are regulated differently than traditional bank or credit union loans collateralized on vehicles. 

Key facts on Texas title lending laws include:

  • No credit checks required – Title lenders cannot refuse applications based on income, credit score, or history. This helps higher-risk borrowers qualify who may not otherwise.
  • Interest is capped at 10% per month—While still high compared to rates from mainstream lenders, the maximum monthly interest is capped by law. Specific fees are also capped.
  • Loan terms up to 180 days – Borrowers have 6 months to repay in full or renew/refinance their title loan—longer terms than available for payday loans.
  • Renewals allowed—Loans can be renewed/rolled over for additional 6-month terms as long as the original loan term is not exceeded. Interest accrues each renewal.
  • Vehicle foreclosure possible – If unable to repay after extensions, the title lender can repossess and sell the vehicle to recoup capital. Surplus funds are returned to the borrower.

While state oversight tries to protect consumers from predatory illegal practices, title loans still carry financial risks compared to other lending options.

How the Title Loan Process Works

Anyone in Texas with a paid-off vehicle can qualify for a title loan. Obtaining a title loan in Dallas, San Antonio, or anywhere else within the state involves a few simple to prove you own a lien-free vehicle and can afford the monthly payments:

Step 1: Application

You’ll need to locate a licensed Texas title lender and then provide your contact information, vehicle details, and clear car title to begin the application process.

Step 2: Assessment

The lender will assess your vehicle’s trade-in value and determine the maximum loan amount they’re willing to provide—typically between 70% of the car’s value or 3% of your gross annual income. More valuable cars can qualify for larger loans.

Step 3: Loan Terms

You must review and agree to the proposed loan terms, including the payback date based on 30-day increments, all applicable fees, and the 10% monthly interest rate that starts accruing immediately. Once you’re satisfied, sign the contract.

Step 4: Payment

Either repay the full loan amount by the end of the initial 30-day term or renew/refinance the loan for another 30 days at the same 10% monthly rate if you are unable to pay in full. Multiple renewals are allowed up to the 180-day limit.

Step 5: Title Held

The title lender retains physical possession of your car’s title throughout, even if you hold onto the vehicle itself. If the loan remains unpaid after 180 days, they can legally repossess and sell your car to recover funds.

Key Risks Borrowers Take With Car Title Loans

Because title loans allow borrowers instant access to cash based on the equity in their paid-off vehicles, they can be tempting for struggling households. 

However, depending on renewal frequency, the equivalent annual percentage rate (APR) a borrower ends up paying can approach or even exceed 200-300%. Accruing multiple rounds of 10% monthly interest quickly causes smaller loans of a few thousand dollars to balloon out of control.

In these cases, the borrower can get caught in a debt-cycle trap similar to payday loans. If they are unable to pay back the ballooning loan balance after 6 months, they face repossession and loss of their vehicle – often their primary transportation to work or other critical destinations.


Title loans ultimately represent a high-risk financing option that should be approached with caution. While they provide immediate access to cash and more flexible qualification terms than traditional loans, the equivalent interest rates are exceptionally high. Borrowers can quickly fall into debt traps through recurring renewals over the 180-day term. 

In the worst cases, struggling households lose their primary mode of transportation if they cannot pay back the snowballing loan balance. Given the strong potential for predatory lending practices, consumers need to carefully weigh all alternatives for addressing short-term cash needs rather than hastily pledging their paid-off vehicle assets out of desperation. 

Seeking other credit options, asking for employer advances, or temporarily reducing expenses can be wiser long-term solutions. If you need a title loan, borrow only what you realistically know you can repay in full by the initial due date. Even though a title loan can be helpful, it’s sometimes better to go with a personal loan lender that won’t use your vehicle as collateral for a loan.