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Key takeaways

  • Emergency loans or hardship loans can get you money fast when you face unexpected financial challenges even if you have a low credit score.
  • Always try to prequalify and compare multiple borrowing options to ensure that you get the best loan terms and conditions available.
  • If you can’t get a loan, there are alternatives including payday alternative loans, cash advance apps, and borrowing from friends and family.

If you need money now, you can find funds other ways than traditional loans. A traditional personal loan can be hard to get when you have less-than-perfect credit. But that doesn’t mean you’re out of options. There are plenty of borrowing opportunities for people with poor credit.

A lot of lenders with lenient requirements don’t have the most affordable rates. Many stack on high interest rates and extra fees. Still, you can get approved, no matter if you don’t have the best credit score or a source of income. 

We’ll go over what you can do when you need money now and how to get it fast.

Learn more about emergency loans

When you find yourself in a situation where you need money now, emergency personal loans can be a viable option to consider. These loans are designed to provide quick assistance during a financial emergency, whether it’s a medical emergency, unexpected home repairs, or unforeseen circumstances.

Emergency loans are typically unsecured loans, meaning they don’t require any collateral like your home or car. The main advantage of this type of personal loan is how fast you’ll get the money. Many lenders offer online applications that can be completed in minutes, and if approved, the funds may be deposited into your bank account in one to three business days. Some lenders even provide same day funding.

emergency personal loan

Whether or not you’re approved and what terms you receive depend a lot on your credit score, income, and debt-to-income ratio. Typically, you’ll need a score of 580 or more to qualify for a personal loan. If your score is below 670 and you don’t have a solid income, you will likely receive a loan with higher interest rates and additional fees. When your score is low, your best bet may be to visit your local credit union as they tend to offer more favorable rates than larger financial institutions.

Before you decide to take out a loan, weigh the pros and cons. Read the terms and conditions and make sure you can afford the loan payments. Taking out a personal loan you can’t afford will only add to your debt burden.

It’s always advisable to compare different personal loan lenders. Look for ones that offer the most favorable loan terms, such as lower interest rates and flexible repayment plans. Some lenders might also offer special features like payment deferrals or no early repayment penalties, which can provide additional relief if your financial situation improves sooner than anticipated.

You may also want to look into hardship loans. A hardship loan is a type of loan designed to help individuals overcome unexpected financial challenges. Some online platforms claim to offer guaranteed hardship loans for bad credit. While no loan is guaranteed, these are easier to get than conventional loans. If you’re approved and for what loan terms will still depend on your credit score.

Debt-to-Income (DTI) Ratio

Lenders are not only interested in your credit score. They will also consider your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio during the application process. Your DTI ratio is a key metric that compares your total monthly debt payments to your monthly income. It helps lenders evaluate your ability to manage monthly payments and repay new debt. A lower DTI can help offset a bad credit score by showing that your current debts are well managed relative to your income. If your DTI is high, you might need to lower it by paying down debts before applying for an emergency loan.

Tips for comparing unemployment emergency loans

When you’re desperate for money, especially during periods of unemployment, you may be tempted to take the first loan you’re offered, but don’t. Always take the time to compare personal loans to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible. Consider the total cost, repayment terms, and how quickly you can apply and get funded.

Total cost

The cost of a loan includes the interest rate and any associated fees, such as an origination fee, late payment fee, or repayment penalty. The high interest rates and additional fees tacked on to bad credit loans can significantly increase the overall amount you’ll need to repay.

When comparing personal loans, look for the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) as it includes both the interest rate and fees, providing a more comprehensive picture of the loan’s cost. Opt for the lowest APR available.

Repayment terms

Repayment terms dictate how long you have to repay the loan. Longer repayment periods generally mean lower monthly payments but result in higher total interest costs over the life of the loan. Conversely, shorter terms mean higher monthly payments but lower total interest costs.

Choose the loan with the shortest repayment period (highest monthly payment) you can afford. Another strategy is to find lenders who offer flexible repayment terms or no prepayment penalty.

Loan amount

The amount of money you can borrow varies widely between lenders and loan types. Determine how much money you really need. Borrowing more than necessary can lead to unnecessary debt. Ensure that the loan amount meets your needs without compounding your financial challenges.

Time to receive loan

The speed at which you can receive the funds can be a deciding factor. Many online lenders promote their services as right now loans, emphasizing their fast processing and minimal paperwork. You can typically apply online, find out if you’re approved in minutes (or a few hours), and receive funds within 24 hours. Most lenders these days offer fast approval and disbursement of funds within one to three business days.

How to apply for an emergency loan if you have bad credit

Securing bad credit emergency loans can be tough, but there are several steps you can take to increase your chances of approval. First, gather the information you’ll need to make the application process go smoother.

In general, you will need to provide:

  • Social Security Number
  • Date of birth
  • Address
  • Income
  • Amount you’re requesting
  • Why you need the money

Once you have your information together, follow the steps below.

1. Get prequalified

It’s a good idea to prequalify for loans before you officially apply. You submit a preliminary application with basic financial information and the lender performs a soft credit check. This check does not impact your credit score, making it a safe way to gauge your eligibility for a loan and get an idea of the rates and terms you might receive.

Many online lenders offer quick prequalification through their websites, where you can fill out a brief form. This process gives you a sneak peek at potential interest rates, loan amounts, and repayment terms without committing to an application. Try to prequalify with at least three lenders to compare potential offers.

2. Apply for the loan

Once you have prequalified and compared different offers, the next step is to formally apply for the loan that best fits your needs. The loan application process will require more detailed information, including verification of income, employment status, and identity. This stage involves a hard credit inquiry, which might temporarily lower your credit score by a few points. Be prepared with all necessary documentation, such as pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, and government-issued identification.

3. Review the Decision from Your Lender

After you submit your application, the lender will review all the information and make a decision. This process can take anywhere from a few hours to several days, depending on the lender. If approved, you will be presented with a loan agreement that outlines the terms of your loan, including the APR, fees, repayment schedule, and other important details. Review this agreement thoroughly before accepting the loan. Look for any hidden fees or penalties for late payments and understand the total cost of the loan.

If your application is denied, the lender is required to provide an adverse action notice telling you the reason for their decision. Common reasons for denial include a high DTI ratio, insufficient income, or a history of missed payments. If you are denied, you can take steps to improve your financial situation, such as increasing your income, reducing debts, or correcting any inaccuracies on your credit report.

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Alternatives to personal loans

If you find yourself asking, “Who will give me a loan when no one else will?”, we have options for you. Not all lenders consider your credit score. While these lenders can be predatory – think payday lenders – others have low minimum credit score requirements making their loans more accessible when everyone else has turned you down. Most of these are short term loans with high interest rates and are for small amounts.

Alternatives to personal loans include:

  • Credit card cash advance
  • Payday loan
  • Payday alternative loan
  • Cash advance app
  • Title loan
  • Pawnshop loan

Let’s go over our favorite options below.

Payday-alternative loan

Payday Alternative Loans (PALs) are offered by certain federal credit unions as a safer alternative to a payday loan. These loans are for $200 to $2,000 and have repayment terms of one to 12 months. they are easier to get than traditional loans but you still have to pass a credit check. Interest rates are capped at 28% – lower than most credit card cash advances and emergency loans – and the application fee cannot exceed $20.

PALs are ideal for credit union members with bad credit who need a small loan and can’t get approved elsewhere. It’s true that you need to be a member or your local credit union for at least one month in order to access these loans.

Credit card cash advance

A credit card cash advance can get you funds quickly without a credit check but the costs are steeper than with PALs. You withdraw money directly from your credit card’s line of credit – usually 20% to 30% of available credit but depends on your card issuer’s policies. You can do this from an ATM or by going to your bank branch.

While convenient, credit card cash advances are costly. They typically come with a transaction fee of 3% to 5%, ATM fee, and higher than usual APR. Unlike regular credit card purchases, there’s no grace period. The interest starts accruing immediately.

They’re best suited for individuals who need a small amount of cash instantly, have the available credit, and the ability to repay it swiftly.

Read more about credit cards!

Cash advances

Cash advances from paycheck advance apps are emerging as a popular solution for short-term borrowing. These apps typically provide advances of a few hundred dollars – $50 to $500 – on your next paycheck without a credit check. Instead, the apps typically connect to your bank account and decide how much to advance based on your transaction history.

A cash advance is similar to a payday loan as both have short repayment periods, but tend to be more flexible (you can reschedule payments without roll over penalties) and have lower fees. Fees are often minimal and interest rates tend to be nonexistent. Many apps will ask for either a subscription fee or optional tip. You can also pay a fast funding fee if you need your cash instantly. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait one to three business days.

This option is best for employed individuals who need a modest sum to tide them over until their next payday and can manage their budget to accommodate the repayment timing. These apps can be a lifeline for those who need a quick infusion of cash and are confident in their ability to repay in the short term.

How to get money without a loan

For those who need money right now but prefer not to engage with lenders, there are several options that don’t involve taking on a loan. These alternatives include seeking help from local charities or nonprofits, requesting a paycheck advance, or borrowing from friends or family.

Local Charity or Nonprofit

If you’re in a financial bind, local charities, nonprofits, or religious organizations may be able to help. Many communities have resources designed to assist residents with essential expenses such as food, utilities, and even rent. For instance, food banks can reduce your grocery expenses, while some organizations offer one-time financial assistance to prevent eviction or keep the utilities running. These services are typically reserved for those in dire need. Call 211 to learn more about financial resources in your area.

Paycheck Advance

You can request a paycheck advance directly from your employer without going through an app. Paycheck advances allow you to get money without going into debt. You simply access a portion of your future earnings earlier than scheduled. Many employers offer this as a formal benefit, with either low fees or none at all, making it cheaper than most loans.

If you decide to take a paycheck advance, it’s important to remember that your next paycheck will be for less and to budget accordingly. Make sure to plan and alter your finances to avoid a cycle of dependency on paycheck advances.

Ask To Borrow Money From Family or Friends

Borrowing money from friends or family can be the simplest, fastest, and cheapest solution. Most friends and family will not charge interest or fees or consider your credit score. It’s very important though to set expectations and get a loan agreement in writing. Put down the loan amount and terms, how often payments will be made, and for what amount. Be sure to repay the loan as agreed to avoid damaging the relationship.

Go to MoneyFor for even more on loans!

Ask about payment plans or financial assistance

For those seeking loans to help pay bills, directly approaching your service providers about payment plans or financial assistance programs can be a highly effective alternative. Many utility companies, medical institutions, and even landlords may offer structured payment plans that allow you to pay off your dues in smaller, more manageable installments. This approach can ease the immediate financial burden without the need to take on new debt.

Additionally, some providers have specific hardship programs designed to assist individuals facing temporary financial difficulties. These programs might reduce your bill, offer interest-free periods, or provide partial forgiveness under certain circumstances. It’s important to communicate openly with your creditors about your financial situation. By doing so, you can often find that many are willing to work with you to devise a plan that ensures payments continue in a way that fits your budget.

Is your debt getting out of hand?

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Ways to pay for a no income personal loan when you don’t have a traditional job

Paying for a loan when you don’t have a job can be challenging. Hardship loans are meant to bridge temporary financial gaps, but repayment must be carefully planned to avoid further financial distress. Here are several strategies to consider:

Leverage Alternative Income Sources: Even without a conventional job, other forms of income can help you repay the money. You can use unemployment benefits, worker’s compensation, court-issued funding like alimony or child support, or Social Security benefits.

Take on a side hustle: Consider freelance work, gig jobs, or part-time employment. A lot of side hustles offer flexible schedules and can be easy to get started. Online platforms like TaskRabbit and Fiverr make finding small jobs for your skillset easier than ever.

Explore Government and Community Assistance: Many governments offer unemployment benefits, welfare programs, or emergency grants specifically designed to help those without work. Additionally, local community organizations may offer support in the form of food assistance, utility bill subsidies, or temporary housing, which can free up other resources for loan repayment.

Sell Unnecessary Items: Look around your home for items you no longer need or use. Online marketplaces like Craig’s List or Facebook Marketplace can be effective platforms for selling goods quickly, providing you with some immediate cash that can be directed towards your loan repayment.

Delay payments: Some lenders offer hardship loans for the unemployed with deferred payments, allowing borrowers time to secure employment before needing to repay their debt.

Considering a loan but worried about the cost?

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Frequently asked questions

For rapid funding, consider options like payday loans or cash advance apps, which often provide immediate approval and funds within 24 hours. Additionally, credit unions offer Payday Alternative Loans (PALs) that are not only fast but also more affordable than a traditional payday loan. If you have an item of value you can take out a pawnshop loan. Another option for a fast cash secured loan is an auto title loan where you use your car’s title as collateral. No matter which loan you choose, make sure you review the terms carefully and are able to repay it as agreed.

The minimum credit score required for an emergency loan varies widely depending on the lender and the type of loan. Traditional lenders like banks generally require a credit score of 600 or higher. That said, you can find lenders who accept applicants with low credit scores or no credit history at all. Many credit unions provide loans to members with low scores. It’s important to note that while loans may be available for poor credit scores, they often come with higher interest rates and fees, reflecting the increased risk to the lender.

Yes, you can get an emergency loan without a credit check, but these are generally not recommended as they can be very expensive. Lenders tend to add on steep application or origination fees and high interest rates to offset the risk they’re taking. Emergency loans that don’t have a credit check include payday loans, title loans, pawnshop loans, and credit card cash advances.

If you find yourself thinking, “I have no income and need money now,” you might be considering a no income loan. While a high credit score can help you get approved it’s not necessary. No income loans are often based on other factors such as collateral or previous financial relationships. However, lenders might still review your credit history to determine risk. Without income, you may face higher interest rates or require a cosigner to mitigate the lender’s risk. Always carefully evaluate the terms and understand all financial obligations involved before you agree to a loan.

If you can’t get a loan, consider alternatives such as borrowing from friends or family, a paycheck advance, or a credit card cash advance. Additionally, local community organizations often offer emergency financial assistance or grants to those in need. Exploring crowdfunding platforms can also be a viable way to raise funds quickly. These methods can provide the necessary financial support without the complexities and demands of conventional loan approval processes.

Bottom line

If you find yourself in a situation where you need money now but have a poor credit history, don’t give up hope. Remember that there are multiple avenues available to explore beyond traditional loans. Also there are lenders out there who consider other factors besides your credit score. Visit your local credit union or go online to find more lenient loan requirements.

Research different types of loans and lenders. Make sure you prequalify with at least three lenders so that you can compare rates, fees, and terms to find the best loan. Then carefully weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each borrowing option to find the one that fits your budget. 

There are emergency borrowing options out there no matter your credit score or income. It simply may take a little work to find them.

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.