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Key takeaways

  • Right now loans and same day deposit loans offer fast solutions for financial emergencies but often come with high interest rates and fees.
  • Consider loan alternatives such as cash advance apps, medical bill repayment plans, and borrowing from friends and family to avoid high-interest debt.
  • Before you take out a loan, understand the total cost of borrowing and how it will affect your credit score.

Emergency loan providers give money even to people with bad credit, ensuring that when you need money desperately, you’ll be able to get it. Right now loans can be a lifesaver when unexpected expenses hit. You can use them to cover monthly bills if you lose your income, pay medical or dental bills, car repairs, or any other urgent need. Many providers are able to get you the money as fast as the next day.

The trick with emergency loans is that they can be costly. Many come with high interest rates and extra fees, especially if you have bad credit. Do your research and calculate the costs before you take out a personal loan.

We’ll go over the best emergency loans available and how to make sure you can borrow money affordably when you need it most.

Our picks for the best emergency loan lenders

When financial emergencies strike, having access to reliable same day deposit loans can make all the difference. That’s why we’ve put together a list of our top emergency lenders.

We looked for lenders who provide easy applications, cater to individuals with less-than-perfect credit, and offer competitive interest rates and flexible repayment terms. Our top choices offer a variety of lending options from the best payday loans online same day to installment loans and cash advances. Take a look at the personal loan lenders below to see if any fit your needs.

While these lenders can offer you fast funding even with bad credit it’s important to look at all your options. Whenever you borrow money it’s essential to compare interest rates, fees, and repayment terms to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible.

Types of emergency loans

When you need money now, knowing the different types of emergency loans available can help you make an informed decision. Below, we delve into various options, from traditional personal loans to credit card cash advances. Each type of loan has its own benefits and drawbacks. Take a look at the options below and see which one best fits your financial situation and needs.

Personal loans

An emergency loan is usually an unsecured personal loan that you pay back over a few months to several years in installments. In other words, an installment loan. Installment loans are popular since you can borrow a larger sum of money – $1,000 to $100,000 – and you get fixed monthly payments. The fixed monthly payments make paying back the loan more manageable.

The repayment period is longer than with other emergency loans and the fixed interest rate means you’re payments won’t go up unexpectedly. Plus the interest rate is generally lower than credit card and other emergency loan options, making them a cost-effective choice in the long run.

However, securing an installment loan often requires a credit check, which can impact your credit score, and the approval process might take longer than other types of loans.

Despite these potential drawbacks, installment loans are ideal for individuals who need to borrow a significant amount and can commit to regular monthly payments.

Payday loans

payday loan

If you’re struggling with low credit scores, payday lenders for bad credit provide a viable solution for emergency funds. Payday loans do not require a credit check and you can typically get cash immediately. They are small loans for up to $500 that are due on your next payday, hence the name.

The issue with payday loans is that lenders charge extortionate APRs that can be 400% or higher. This makes these loans very difficult to pay back as you need to pay both the lump sum and interest at once. The high interest rates and fees, coupled with the short repayment period, make these loans a debt trap. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 4 out of 5 payday loans are re-borrowed (rolled over with additional fees) within a month.

While payday loans are an easy way to get emergency cash fast, they are best avoided.

Credit union payday alternative loans

Certain federal credit unions offer payday alternative loans (PALs) as a response to payday loans. PALs are small loans ranging from $100 to $2,000 that are provided to borrowers with low credit scores. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) sets the maximum APR at 28% and the application fee is capped at $20. While a 28% APR is on the higher side, it is much more affordable and reasonable then a 400% APR.

PALs are paid in installments over one month to twelve months. The longer repayment term and lower APR help make monthly payments manageable.

You do have to be a member of the credit union for at least one month in order to apply for a loan.

Are you interested in taking out a payday loan?

Find out how much a $500 payday loan may cost.

Pawn shop loans

Pawnshop loans are a type of secured loan for bad credit that you can get fast. To obtain a pawnshop loan, you bring a valuable item, such as jewelry or electronics, to a pawnshop and receive a cash based on the item’s value. The pawnshop holds the item as collateral until the loan is repaid.

Pawnshop loans provide immediate access to cash without a credit check. However, they have high interest rates and fees – exact rate restrictions are set by your state – and are typically for small amounts. Additionally, if you fail to repay the loan as agreed, the pawnshop has the right to sell your item.

Pawnshop loans are best for individuals who have valuable items they can part with temporarily and who prefer not to undergo a credit check.

Car title loans

Car title loans are another secured loan option where you use your vehicle’s title as collateral. These loans are typically for larger amounts than payday or pawnshop loans. They do not require a credit check, making them accessible to those with bad credit. The approval process is usually quick, allowing you to access cash almost immediately.

The problem with car title loans is they come with high interest rates and fees – it’s common to receive a 300% APR – plus a short repayment period, usually thirty days. If you fail to repay the loan in a lump sum plus interest and fees when due, the lender can sell your vehicle to recoup his losses.

These loans are suitable for individuals who own their vehicle outright and need a substantial amount of money quickly. That said, they should be approached with caution as you have to pay a very high APR and might lose your vehicle.

Credit card cash advance

A credit card cash advance is when you withdraw money from an ATM or bank using your credit card. Most card issuers allow for this service and give you a separate cash advance limit. It is an easy way to get cash immediately without undergoing a credit check or even having to apply.

The catch is that they are expensive. Your issuer will charge a cash advance fee usually 3% to 5% of the amount withdrawn. The ATM or bank teller will likely charge you a fee as well. Then there is the interest. Credit card cash advances come with a higher interest rate than regular purchases and they begin accruing interest immediately.

Credit card cash advances are best for individuals who need quick access to cash and can repay the amount promptly to avoid high interest costs.

Read more about credit cards!

Tips for comparing emergency loans

When you’re in urgent need of cash, finding the best same day payday loans or daily loans can make a significant difference in managing your financial emergency. How do you find the best loans? By comparing offers. When you’re comparing loan options it’s helpful to know basic terminology to make an informed decision. Let’s go over some loan terminology so that you can have a better understanding of what your loan entails.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR): The APR is the total cost of the loan and includes both the interest rate and fees.

Origination Fee: This is an upfront fee the lender deducts from the loan funds. It is generally 1% to 10% of the loan amount. Originations fees are common in bad credit loans and loans from online lenders.

Prepayment Penalty: The fee charged by the lender if you pay off the loan early.

Late Fee: The fee charged by the lender if you make a loan payment late.

Approval Timeline: The length of time it takes to underwrite your loan application. Many online lenders offer instant approval.

Funding Timeline: The amount of time it takes for the lender to distribute funds. It usually takes one to three business days.

Loan Term: The amount of time you have to repay the loan.

Look for loans that offer low APRs and few fees. Ideally, you will find a lender who gives both flexible repayment terms and low rates.

How to choose the best emergency loan

With all the loan options out there, you want to make sure you get the best deal possible. A good emergency loan will alleviate financial stress instead of adding to it.

A good rule of thumb is to try to prequalify for at least three different lenders and then compare the loan amounts, terms, and rates to see which one best fits your circumstances. Prequalifying will not affect your credit score.

Now that you know basic loan terminology, here are key factors to consider:

How much will it cost?

Consider the total cost of the loan, not just the monthly payments. Look at the APR since it takes into account both the interest rate and fees. APRs for installment loans range from 6% to 36%. Ideally, you’ll choose the lender offering the lowest APR, as it will save you money.

Before you choose a lender based solely on the APR, calculate the monthly payments. Make sure you choose a personal loan whose payments you can afford.

You may find lenders offering lower APRs but a higher monthly payment. If you can’t afford the higher monthly payments, the lower APR isn’t worth it, as you’ll end up paying late fees and hurting your credit score.

Consider the approval time and funding speed

In urgent situations, approval speed is crucial. Many online lenders make it easy to apply and offer fast funding. You can typically be approved in minutes and get your money as soon as the next business day (sometimes even the same day.) Opt for lenders that provide same day deposit loans to ensure you get the funds when you need them most.

Review the repayment terms

Installment loans are typically repaid over two to seven years. Payday loans, though, are usually repaid within two weeks on your next payday. Choose a timeline that fits your budget.

Generally, a shorter repayment period for an installment loan means you’ll pay higher monthly payments but less interest. While a longer repayment period means lower monthly payments, but you’ll end up paying more in interest over the life of the loan.

Look for the shortest repayment period with affordable monthly payments.

Customer service and reviews

Read customer reviews and check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see how they handle complaints. Customer reviews can provide valuable insights into a lender’s reliability and customer service quality. Look for feedback on the lender’s transparency, responsiveness, and overall customer experience to make an informed decision. A reliable lender with positive feedback can make the borrowing process smoother and more reassuring.

By considering these factors, you can select the best emergency loan to address your immediate financial needs effectively and responsibly.

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Pros and cons of emergency loans

Emergency loans can be a lifesaver when unexpected expenses arise, but like everything else they come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Pros

  • Fast funding
  • Most loans are unsecured
  • No credit check options
  • Certain loans can help you improve your score
  • Use them to cover any expense

Cons

  • Not everyone qualifies
  • Fees
  • Potentially high interest rates
  • Can be expensive
  • Risk of losing collateral if opting for a pawnshop loan or car title loan
  • Risk of a debt cycle for short-term loans

Understanding the pros and cons of each option can help you make an informed decision when choosing a loan.

5 Alternatives to emergency personal loans

When facing a financial emergency, personal loans or short-term loans are not the only options available. There are other ways to cover expenses that may leave you better off financially. Each of the options listed below can provide relief in different ways, depending on your specific circumstances.

Cash advance app

Cash advance apps allow you to borrow a small amount of money before your next paycheck. These apps typically have low fees, no interest, and no credit check, making them a convenient option for short-term financial needs.

Pros:

  • No credit check
  • Quick and easy access to funds
  • Low fees compared to traditional loans
  • No interest

Cons:

  • Low borrowing amounts
  • May require direct deposit setup with the app
  • May require a subscription or ask for a tip
  • Frequent use can lead to dependency

Buy now, pay later apps

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) apps allow you to make purchases and pay for them in installments. These apps often charge little to no interest if payments are made on time. Most only do a soft pull or none at all, making them a viable option if you have a low score.

Pros:

  • No interest if payments are made on time
  • Easy approval process
  • Convenient for online and in-store purchases
  • Usually no credit check

Cons:

  • Missed payments can result in fees and interest charges
  • Can encourage overspending
  • Limited to specific merchants

Best For: Individuals needing to make a specific purchase but wanting to spread the cost over several payments without incurring high-interest debt.

Best For: Individuals who need a small amount of cash quickly and have a regular paycheck.

Medical bill repayment plans

Many healthcare providers offer repayment plans for medical bills to underinsured or low-income families. These plans allow you to pay off your medical expenses over time without the need for a personal loan. Talk to your hospital about payment options to see if you qualify.

Pros:

  • No interest or low-interest repayment options
  • Flexible payment terms
  • No credit check

Cons:

  • Limited to medical expenses
  • Must negotiate terms with the healthcare provider
  • Missed payments can impact your score

Best For: Underinsured or low-income individuals with significant medical expenses who need more time to pay their bills.

Low-interest credit cards

Low-interest credit cards can be a viable alternative to emergency loans, especially if you have good credit. Some credit cards offer introductory 0% APR periods, allowing you to borrow money without paying interest for a set time. If you choose this option, make sure you can pay off your entire balance before the promotional period ends, or else you may be charged a higher APR and take on debt.

Pros:

  • Low or no interest during the introductory period
  • Flexible repayment options
  • Can be used for various expenses

Cons:

  • Requires good to excellent credit for the best rates
  • Interest rates can increase significantly after the introductory period
  • Risk of accumulating credit card debt
  • Hard inquiry when you apply

Best For: Those with good credit who can pay off the balance within the introductory period to avoid high-interest charges.

Borrow from friends and family

Borrowing money from friends or family can be a quick and interest-free way to handle an emergency expense. This option relies on the trust and goodwill of your personal relationships. Always put down in writing how and when you will repay the full loan amount and if there are any interest charges or fees.

Pros:

  • Usually no interest or fees
  • No formal application process
  • Flexible repayment terms
  • Immediate access to funds

Cons:

  • Can strain personal relationships if not repaid promptly
  • No legal protections for the lender
  • Amount may be limited by what friends or family can afford to lend

Best For: Those who have supportive and understanding friends or family members willing and able to help out in a financial emergency.

Go to MoneyFor to learn more about loans.

Alternatives to emergency loans for bad credit

For individuals with bad credit, securing an emergency loan can be challenging and often comes with high interest rates and unfavorable terms. However, there are alternatives to consider that may provide the financial relief needed without exacerbating debt.

A hardship plan

Hardship plans are offered by various creditors and service providers to help customers manage their payments during financial difficulties. These plans can include reduced payments, extended payment terms, or temporary suspension of payments.

Call your creditor or utility provider to see if they will work with you. They may offer hardship plans if you’ve recently lost your job or been hit with other unexpected events. Be honest about your situation.

Financial assistance programs

Various non-profit organizations, government agencies, and charities offer financial assistance programs to help those in need. These programs can provide grants, food assistance, housing support, and other forms of aid without the need for repayment.

The exact services available depend on your state and local area. Call 211 to find financial assistance programs near you.

Ask your employer for an advance

paycheck advance

Requesting an advance on your paycheck from your employer can provide immediate financial relief. Depending on the employer, you may not have to pay interest or fees to access your pay early.

This option may not be available from all employers and it reduces the amount of your next paycheck. If you choose this route, budget wisely.

If your employer doesn’t offer pay advances, look into cash advance apps which will send you a portion of your paycheck before payday.

When dealing with bad credit, exploring alternatives to traditional personal loans can help avoid the pitfalls of high-interest debt.

Tips to start an emergency fund

The best thing you can do is save money so you don’t have to borrow in the first place. Emergencies can pop up at any time. If you have an emergency fund to cover them, you will be in a much better position financially. The problem is getting started and of course finding the money to set aside.

Here are some practical tips to follow:

  1. Set a realistic savings goal: Aim for several months’ worth of living expenses.
  2. Create a budget: Review your income and expenses to see where you can cut back and what you can save each month.
  3. Open a high-yield savings account: High-yield savings accounts pay more in interest, making your money grow faster.
  4. Decide how much to save: Start small with whatever you can afford. Even just $10 per month will make a difference. The key is to be consistent.
  5. Automate your savings: Automatically transferring money to your savings account each month reduces the temptation to spend it.
  6. Set aside unexpected cash: Any bonuses from work, tax rebates, or other financial good luck goes directly into your savings.
  7. Be careful about spending it: An emergency fund is for emergencies only. Do not be tempted to spend it on other expenses.

By following these tips, you can gradually build an emergency fund. Next time you need extra cash, you won’t have to borrow it.

Will emergency loans impact my credit score?

Some emergency loans will impact your score, others won’t. If you take out an installment loan, the lender will conduct a hard inquiry when you apply, which will temporarily lower your score. The vast majority of lenders who offer installment loans also report payments to the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. On time payments will help your score, while any missed or late payments will hurt it.

Payday loans and other short-term no credit check options are a different story. These lenders do not conduct a hard pull on your credit nor do they report your payments. If you pay your loan on time, it will have no impact on your score. If you default on the loan, the lender may send it to collections and that will hurt your score.

How much will an emergency loan for bad credit cost?

The cost of an emergency loan varies widely based on the lender and loan type. High-interest rates and fees are common, particularly with payday loans, which can have APRs exceeding 400%. For example, the best payday loan for bad credit may offer quick access to funds, but the short repayment terms and high costs can lead to significant financial strain.

Installment loans for bad credit typically have lower APRs, ranging from 20% to 100%, and offer longer repayment periods. Additionally, origination fees, late payment penalties, and other charges can increase the total cost.

Before you take out a loan, carefully review all the terms and costs associated with it to be sure you can afford it. Taking out a loan you cannot repay as agreed will only exacerbate your financial situation.

How to get an emergency loan with no job?

Securing an emergency loan without a job can be challenging, but it’s possible with the right approach. Lenders typically require proof of income to ensure you can repay the loan. However, you can still qualify by demonstrating alternative income sources such as unemployment benefits, social security, disability benefits, or rental income.

Another route is to apply for a secured loan. Secured loans require collateral like a vehicle or property but they are easier to get since they are less risky for the lender. Car title loans and pawnshop loans are examples of bad credit secured loans.

Lastly, you could add a co-signer or co-borrower with a stable income and good credit to your application. Your co-applicant will be responsible for payments if you default. This can significantly enhance your approval odds and get you better terms. Remember, a co-borrower will also have access to the funds.

Frequently Asked Questions

The easiest place to get a personal loan often depends on your credit score and financial situation. For young borrowers wondering how to get a loan at 18 with no credit, online lenders and credit unions may provide tailored loans for 19-year-olds, such as starter loans or credit-builder loans, designed to help establish credit. Many online lenders offer a quick application processes and fast approval times. Credit unions tend to have more lenient lending criteria and offer lower interest rates.

The minimum score required varies by lender. Traditional banks prefer scores of at least 600 to 650. However, many online lenders offer personal loans to borrowers with lower scores, sometimes as low as 500. Payday lenders and other high-interest, short-term loan providers do not have any minimum credit score requirements.

Keep in mind that any personal loan for bad credit will come with higher interest rates and additional fees. While you can get a personal loan with a poor score, you may be better off waiting. No matter what score you have, it’s crucial to compare options and understand the terms before committing to ensure you’re making a financially sound decision.

Yes, it is possible to get an emergency loan with no credit check. Certain lenders, such as payday loan providers and some online lenders, do not require a credit check. They are ideal for anyone with poor scores, including 18-year-olds with no credit history.

While these loans can be appealing, they should be avoided. The interest rates and fees are typically in the triple digits and the repayment terms are often very short. These two factors make them difficult to repay on time, leaving many borrowers trapped in a cycle of debt.

An emergency fund is a savings reserve set aside for unexpected expenses. An emergency fund provides immediate, interest-free access to money. A loan, on the other hand, is borrowed money that must be repaid with interest over time. While an emergency fund relies on your savings, a loan depends on your ability to borrow and repay, often affecting your credit score.  

Bottom line

If you need money to cover unexpected expenses and have to resort to borrowing, know that you are not alone. According to a survey conducted by Suze Orman’s emergency savings startup, only one in three Americans can comfortably cover a $400 emergency expense. The rest rely on credit cards and loans.

While there are plenty of right now loans available, even for bad credit borrowers, the better option is to start saving. Adopt a pay-yourself-first policy where you put money into your savings account as soon as you get paid. It doesn’t have to be a lot; start with $10. The key is to save consistently.

If an emergency hits before you have enough cash in your savings account, don’t worry. You can borrow what you need. Consider taking out a personal loan from a credit union or online lender, or look at cash advance apps. You can cover an emergency expense no matter your credit score.

Remember, whether you choose a traditional loan or an alternative, the key is to make informed decisions that align with your financial situation and long-term goals.

About the author

Rachel Alulis

Rachel Alulis has been the lead editor for Moneyfor’s credit cards team since 2015 and for the financial rewards team since 2023. Before joining Moneyfor, Rachel worked at USA Today and the Des Moines Register. She then established a successful freelance writing and editing business specializing in personal finance. Rachel holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and an MBA.