Finimpact

Best Emergency Loans

Unexpected expenses like auto or home repairs can crop up at any time. If you’re not prepared with an emergency fund, it’s possible to get a same day loan from an online lender. The best emergency loans also come with flexible terms and low rates.

Best Emergency Loans
Lindsay Frankel
Written by:Lindsay Frankel
Personal Finance Expert

You may need to repair your HVAC system to restore heat to your home, take your pet to the vet for emergency care, or deal with a sudden dental problem. You may not have time to wait for your next paycheck or even get a loan from your local bank. Luckily, there are several online lenders that can provide quick loans for emergencies. Our team of financial experts reviewed and ranked more than 30 online lenders to help you narrow down your options. Here’s how to get a loan today.

Our Top Picks for Best Emergency Loans

 upgrade_logo
  • Funding as soon as the next day
  • Can be approved with fair credit
  • Variety of discounts on rates
Min. Credit Score
Min. Credit Score Not disclosed
Loan Amounts
Loan Amount $1K-$50K
Est. APR
Loan Repayment 24 to 84 months
discover_logo
  • No origination fees
  • Nine month deferment period
  • Direct payments to creditors with debt consolidation loans
Min. Credit Score
Min. Credit Score 660+
Loan Amounts
Loan Amount $2.5K-$35K
Est. APR
Loan Repayment 36-84 months
rocketloans_logo
  • Same-day loan approval
  • Competitive interest rates
  • Credit scores as low as 640 accepted
Min. Credit Score
Min. Credit Score 640+
Loan Amounts
Loan Amount $2K-$45K
Est. APR
Loan Repayment 36-60 months

How to Choose the Best Emergency Loans

The best loans for emergencies aren’t just fast. There are several other factors to consider when evaluating a lender. When selecting the top emergency loan providers, we reviewed the following:

  • Loan Features: When choosing a lender, make sure they offer the amount you need with terms long enough for you to be able to afford repayment. Pay attention to any restrictions on use as well.
  • Interest rates and fees: You should aim for the lowest APR and the fewest fees that you can qualify for based on your creditworthiness.
  • Application process: Look for easy loan applications that you can complete 100% online and consider whether the lender has a prequalification option that allows you to check your rate without hurting your credit. And, of course, pay attention to funding time. Most lenders can’t guarantee when you’ll receive your funds, but we only included lenders that offered same or next-day funding in our top picks.
  • Qualification process: Eliminate options you don’t qualify for based on minimum credit score and income requirements, and if you need to apply with another applicant, make sure the lender allows it. Also pay attention to membership requirements, which could delay the process of getting a loan.
  • Customer support: Ensure the customer support team is available to you at times that are convenient.
  • Online user reviews: Evaluate online reviews on third-party websites like Trustpilot, ConsumerAffairs, and Credit Karma. Look for repeated complaints about the process or customer service issues.
  • Perks and Bonuses: Consider whether the lender offers mobile app loan management or other advanced technology, and look for payment flexibility if that appeals to you — deferment programs and due-date changes can help if another emergency pops up later on.

Best Emergency Loans for 2022

1.Upgrade — Best for Joint Applications

Very few emergency lenders allow joint applications, so if you’re hoping to pool two incomes and credit scores to qualify for more money or a lower rate, Upgrade is a great option. Once you’re approved, Upgrade will send the funds to your account within one business day, although depending on bank processing times, it could take a little longer to become available to you.

Pros
Check your rate without hurting your credit
Joint applications allowed
Discount for existing rewards checking customers
Excellent customer service reviews
No prepayment penalties
Flexible repayment terms
Low minimum borrowing amount
Cons
Charges an origination fee
Charges a late payment fee
High maximum APR
Limited customer support hours

upgrade
You can borrow $1,000 to $50,000 from Upgrade for almost any emergency and repay the loan in 24 to 84 months. APRs range from 5.94% to 35.97% and there is an origination fee ranging from 2.9% to 8% of the loan amount, which will be deducted from your proceeds. You can apply with a co-applicant. Once you’re approved, the funds will be sent to your account within one business day. The lender doesn’t disclose minimum credit score or income requirements but is reportedly friendly to fair credit applicants.

The Bottom Line

Upgrade is the best option if you want to apply with a co-borrower and need the money fast, but poor credit borrowers may want to look elsewhere. If you need an urgent loan today, Upgrade is not the fastest lender we reviewed.

2.Discover — Best for Repayment Flexibility

Discover offers next-day funding with low rates for creditworthy borrowers. Not only does Discover offer you a choice of five terms, but the lender also allows you to change your due date up to two times over the life of your loan. This makes repayment more flexible than at most lenders.

Pros
No origination fee
No prepayment penalties
Low APRs
Choice of five loan terms
Option to change due date
Cons
Charges a late payment fee
No co-signers or co-borrowers
May be difficult to qualify for with fair credit

discover
Discover offers personal loans between $2,500 and $35,000 with terms ranging from 36 to 84 months. APRs range from 5.99% to 24.99% and there’s no origination fee. Most applications are approved the same day and the funds are typically received the next business day. Discover doesn’t disclose minimum credit score requirements, but many third-party sources report that you’ll need good or excellent credit to be approved. You also must have a minimum household income of $25,000 annually.

The Bottom Line

Discover is a great option with few fees for creditworthy borrowers who can wait until the next day to receive their funds.

3.Rocket Loans — Best Customer Support

Rocket Loans has excellent customer service reviews and operates extended support hours. Same-day funding is available if you sign and accept your loan documents by 1:00pm ET on a business day.

Pros
Same-day funding available
No prepayment penalties
Excellent customer service reviews
Check your rate without hurting your credit
Cons
Charges an origination fee
Only two term choices

rocket loans
Rocket Loans offers emergency loans between $2,000 and $45,000 with funding as soon as the same day. APRs range from 5.97% with Autopay to 29.99% and there is a 1% to 6% origination fee that will be deducted from your funds. You can choose a 36 or 60 months repayment term, and you can use the loan for anything except student loans or illegal activities. Rocket Loans doesn’t disclose a minimum credit score or income qualification requirements, but does report that most applicants will need between a 600 and 700 for approval.

The Bottom Line

Rocket Loans is one of the few options for potential same-day funding and will likely be best for someone with good credit. Excellent credit borrowers may find lower rates and fewer fees elsewhere, while bad credit borrowers may not qualify.

4.NetCredit — Best for Bad Credit

NetCredit offers funding as soon as the same day but likely within one business day. APRs vary by state and can be high, but NetCredit welcomes applicants with any credit score to apply.

Pros
Same day loans may be available
On-time payments reported to the credit bureaus
Flexible repayment terms ranging from 6 to 60 months
No prepayment penalties
Check your rate without hurting your credit
Cons
High APRs up to 155%
Charges a late payment fee
Charges an origination fee on some loans
Not available in all states

netcredit
NetCredit’s personal loan products vary by state, but depending on where you reside, you may be able to borrow between $500 and $20,000 and repay the loan over a term of between six and 60 months. APRs range from 19.90% to 155%, and for loans with APRs under 36%, there may be an origination fee as well. There are no minimum credit score or income requirements, and NetCredit welcomes applicants with bad credit.

The Bottom Line

If you’ve made some mistakes in the past, like paying late or accumulating debt, you may only qualify for bad credit lenders. NetCredit is one of the best options in that space for emergency loans, offering fast funding and the opportunity to build credit with on-time payments.

5.Upstart — Best for No Credit History

Upstart welcomes applicants who do not have enough credit history to generate a score. Plus, for 99% of loans, the funds are sent within one business day. You can borrow up to $50,000 from Upstart with a three or five-year repayment term.

Pros
Check your rate without hurting your credit
Wide range of amounts available
No prepayment penalties
Open to fair credit borrowers and those with no credit history
Cons
Charges an origination fee
Charges a late payment fee
Only two repayment terms
No Autopay discount

upstart
With Upstart, you can borrow between $1,000 and $50,000 with your choice of a three or five-year term. APRs range from 5.22% to 35.99% and there is an origination fee between 0% and 8% of the loan amount, depending on your creditworthiness. There are also late payment and returned check fees. To qualify for a loan from Upstart, you’ll need at least a 300 credit score or insufficient credit history to generate a score. Your debt-to-income ratio also can’t exceed 50% (45% in some states), but Upstart doesn’t disclose any minimum income requirements.

The Bottom Line

If you haven’t built credit yet and are in need of an emergency loan, Upstart could be a great option. The funding time is fast, rarely taking longer than a day, and the lender will review applicants without a credit score.

6.OneMain Financial — Best for Secured Options

OneMain Financial is another option for emergency loans for bad credit. If you don’t qualify for an unsecured loan, OneMain Financial may offer you the opportunity to secure your loan with an asset such as your car. Plus, most decisions are made within ten minutes and funding is sent within one business day.

Pros
Flexible repayment terms
Excellent customer service reviews
Offers secured options
Welcoming to fair credit borrowers
Extended customer support hours
Cons
Charges an origination fee
Charges a late payment fee
High starting APRs

OneMain
You can borrow between $1,500 and $20,000 from OneMain (minimums are higher in some states) and choose a 24, 36, 48, or 60-month repayment term. APRs range from 18% to 35.99%. You’ll also be charged an origination fee that will be deducted from the loan proceeds. It could be a flat fee ranging from $25 to $500, or it could be 1% to 10% of the loan amount. OneMain charges late payment and returned check fees as well. But funding happens fast, within one business day. There’s no minimum credit score or income requirements, and people with bad credit are invited to apply.

The Bottom Line

OneMain Financial offers legit loans for bad credit. Since secured options are available, you might be able to get a better APR than you would at another bad credit lender. And since OneMain Financial can disburse funds quickly, it’s a good option for emergencies.

7.Oportun — Best for Small Loans

Sometimes, you just need a few hundred dollars to get back on your feet. If that’s the case, borrowing more than you need could be costly. Opportun offers quick loans as small as $300. The approval process just takes about 10 minutes and most approved applicants receive their funds the same day.

Pros
Low minimum borrowing amount
Possible same-day funding
No prepayment penalties
Excellent customer service reviews
Lenient credit requirements
Prequalify without hurting your credit
Cons
Charges an origination fee
Charges a late payment fee
$10,000 maximum borrowing amount for unsecured loans
Not available in all states

oportun
With Oportun, you can borrow between $300 and $10,000. APRs vary by state but range from 7.99% to 35.99%. Oportun doesn’t disclose its origination fee, but one will be included in your APR. Terms vary by state as well but typically range from 24 to 60 months. In some states, 30 months is the maximum term. There’s no minimum credit score or disclosed income requirements, and even applicants who are credit invisible may be approved.

The Bottom Line

Opportun is a good option if you need a small loan, especially if your credit is less-than-perfect. APRs are capped and you don’t need a credit history to apply. What’s more, you can get your funds as soon as the same day, so it works well for emergency expenses.

8.LightStream — Best for Large Loans

LightStream loans are designed for creditworthy borrowers and come with low rates and no fees. If you find yourself suddenly needing a lot of cash, you may be able to borrow up to $100,000 from LightStream and receive it as a same-day wire transfer.

Pros
Same-day loans may be available
Borrow up to $100,000
No fees of any kind
No prepayment penalties
Low APRs
Plants a tree for every loan
Flexible repayment terms
Cons
No prequalification option
Difficult to qualify for
Minimum $5,000 borrowing amount

lightstream
LightStream offers unsecured personal loans ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 with APRs ranging from just 3.49% to 19.99% with Autopay. There are no fees of any kind, including late fees. Term options depend on your loan purpose, but home improvement loans can be repaid in 24 to 240 months. For most other loans, terms of 36 to 72 months are available. APR ranges vary by loan purpose as well, so check LightStream’s rate widget to see what’s available to you. LightStream doesn’t disclose a minimum credit score or income requirements, but you’ll need good or excellent credit to apply. LightStream defines that as several years of credit history with on-time payments and enough income and assets for repayment. Since LightStream doesn’t offer a pre qualification option, we don’t recommend applying unless you have a FICO score of 660 or above.

The Bottom Line

If you need at least $5,000 and have great credit, LightStream could be your best chance at a low APR, and is especially well-suited to expensive emergency home repairs. You may be able to get your money the same day you apply. However, with strict qualification requirements, LightStream is not for everyone.

Best Emergency Loans — Main Features Table


Lender

Est. APR

Min. Credit Score

Loan Amount

Loan Term

Upgrade

5.94% to 35.97%

Undisclosed

$1,000 to $50,000

24 to 84 months

Discover

5.99% to 24.99%

Undisclosed

$2,500 to $35,000

36 to 84 months

Rocket Loans

5.97% to 29.99%

Undisclosed

$2,000 to $45,000

36 or 60 months

NetCredit

19.90% to 155%

None

$500 to $20,000

6 to 60 months

Upstart

5.22% to 35.99%

300

$1,000 to $50,000

36 or 60 months

OneMain Financial

18% to 35.99%

None

$1,500 to $20,000

24 to 60 months

Opportun

7.99% to 35.99%

None

$300 to $10,000

Varies by state

LightStream

3.49% to 19.99%

Undisclosed

$5,000 to $100,000

24 to 240 months

What Is an Emergency Loan?

An emergency loan is any loan that is used to pay for an emergency expense. You’ll find both secured and unsecured options for emergency loans, but they’re typically installment loans. That means you’ll receive a lump sum and repay the loan with interest over time.

Reasons to Get an Emergency Loan

It’s always better to avoid borrowing, but if you don’t have sufficient savings, any one of these emergency financial situations may require an urgent loan:

  • Veterinary emergencies
  • Sudden medical expenses
  • Car repairs
  • Home repairs
  • Appliance breakdown
  • Job loss
  • Unexpected travel needs
  • Family emergency

How to Get an Emergency Loan

  1. Check your credit: To see where you stand, check your score at AnnualCreditReport.com.
  2. Narrow down your options: Based on your credit score, desired borrowing amount, and monthly budget for repayment, select lenders that you can qualify for and that offer what you need. This list is a great place to start, as we’ve already selected the best emergency loans based on a variety of data.
  3. Prequalify: Choose a few lenders and check your rate, assuming the lender offers a rate estimate with a soft credit pull.
  4. Compare offers: Select the lender that offers you the lowest APR and a repayment term that is manageable for you.
  5. Formally apply: Fill out the online application with information such as your contact details, social security number, and income. At this time, the lender may request additional documentation that you will need to upload in a timely fashion. This step will also require a hard credit pull, which will cause a small dip in your credit score.
  6. Sign and accept: If you can, sign and accept early in the day, as you’ll have a better chance of getting a fast loan.
  7. Receive your funds: Wait for the funds to be deposited into your bank account. Then withdraw what you need to pay for your emergency.

How to Get an Emergency Loan with Bad Credit

  • Apply with a co-signer or joint applicant: One way to improve your approval odds is to apply with a creditworthy co-signer or joint applicant, depending on what the lender allows. You might be able to get a better rate or qualify for more money if the other applicant has great credit or provides another source of income.
  • Look into secured options: Some lenders offer secured loans for borrowers with bad credits. You’ll need to offer up collateral, like your vehicle, but you’ll have a better chance of being approved for a lower APR.
  • Explore online lenders: Many online lenders review information besides your credit score when making a decision about your application. Some online lenders have looser credit requirements than banks. There are also bad credit lenders out there that charge high APRs but offer options for people with credit problems.

How Do You Repay an Emergency Loan?

You repay an emergency loan in fixed monthly installments of principal and interest. Over time, you’ll pay back more than you borrowed. Typically, you’ll login to your lender’s online portal to set up a payment. Most lenders offer Autopay so you won’t forget, and you can often get a rate discount for enrolling.

Emergency Loans to Avoid

  • Payday Loans: Payday loans are short-term, small dollar loans that are typically repaid out of your next paycheck. While they’re quick, they’re very costly. The average APR on a payday loan is 391%, and many borrowers end up trapped in a cycle of debt because they can’t afford to pay all of the fees in such a short time.
  • Title Loans: Title loans are short-term loans secured by the title to your vehicle. Not only do these loans come with triple-digit APRs, but you can lose your vehicle if you fail to repay. And that happens more often than you might think — the CFPB found that one in five title loan borrowers default and have their vehicles repossessed.
  • Pawn Shop Loans: Pawn shop loans require you to leave something of value with the pawn shop owner and repay the loan to get it back. They come with an average APR of 152% and short repayment terms that can make them unmanageable for some people. As a result, some borrowers end up losing their possessions when they can’t repay.

Emergency Loan Alternatives

  • Payment Plans: Your contractor, mechanic, doctor, veterinarian, or other service provider may be able to offer you the opportunity to pay over time. Check if they offer no-interest financing before you start looking at loan offers.
  • Paycheck Advances: Your employer may be able to offer you a one-time advance on your paycheck, especially if you are honest about your hardship with them.
  • Credit Cards: Credit cards are great for small emergencies that you can afford to repay quickly. If you can qualify for a 0% introductory APR credit card, you can even get a break on interest for 12-18 months.
  • Crowdfunding: People might be sympathetic to your situation, especially if it’s a sudden medical or veterinary emergency. You can start a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for your unique challenge.
  • Friends and Family: It can be tough to ask for help, but borrowing from friends and family is usually less costly and more flexible. Go over your plan for repayment so you don’t destroy the relationship.
  • Nonprofit or Government Assistance: Research nonprofits and charities that might be able to help people in your situation. If you’re struggling to pay your bills in general, relying on government assistance programs might also free up cash. Check to see if you qualify for Medicaid or SNAP.
  • Borrow from Your 401(K): Raiding your retirement account can hinder your future goals. But in an emergency, it can sometimes be a good option, especially if you have bad credit. It’s one of the only safe loans with no credit check that you can get, so check if your plan administrator offers loans. You may also qualify for a hardship distribution, which does not need to be repaid.

How to Build an Emergency Fund

Once you’ve repaid your loan, it’s a good idea to prepare financially for any future unexpected expenses. If you’re not currently saving, you’ll need to either increase your income or reduce your expenses. Start by tracking what you’re currently spending, and then create a budget. Look for areas where you can cut costs, such as canceling subscriptions or making coffee at home. You may also want to secure an additional income source, such as a side hustle.

Many financial experts recommend that you “pay yourself first,” which means saving some of your paycheck right away before you spend it. Once you have a budget, you can set up automatic deposits into a savings account. A good rule of thumb is to aim for three to six months worth of expenses in your emergency fund. If that seems like a lofty goal, aim for at least $2,467 to start. That’s the amount economists say will reduce your chances of financial hardship.

Conclusion

Emergencies can strike at any time, and if you’re not prepared with sufficient savings, you’re not alone. 36% of U.S. adults wouldn’t be able to cover a $400 unexpected bill without borrowing money or selling something, according to the Federal Reserve. But if you’re strapped for cash, you have options. Many lenders offer same or next-day funding on personal loans, and some are even accessible to bad credit borrowers. If you find yourself needing quick cash, choose the lender with the lowest rates and fewest fees that you can qualify for. And once you’re back on your feet, make sure to build an emergency fund to avoid needing to borrow in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can You Get Emergency Loans for Veterans?
Yes. While the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs doesn’t issue or back any emergency loans, veterans can apply for an emergency loan from an online lender. Most lenders will even count VA disability compensation as income.
How to Get an Emergency Loan with No Job?
If you’re unemployed, you may face difficulty getting an emergency loan, since lenders require a source of income for repayment. However, keep in mind that income sources such as Social Security typically count in place of employment. If you have no job and no income, you may still be able to get a loan if you apply with a co-signer or joint applicant or put up collateral. You can also take a loan, withdrawal, or hardship distribution from your 401(k). While pawn shop and title loans may also be options, these loans can be risky and should be avoided if at all possible.
Will Emergency Loans Impact My Credit Score?
Yes. First, applying for an emergency loan will require a hard credit check, which will cause a slight dip in your credit score. However, over time, paying back an emergency loan may actually improve your credit. Having an installment loan adds to your credit mix, and making payments on-time will positively impact your payment history.
How Fast Can I Get an Emergency Loan?
Some online lenders can approve and fund an emergency loan the same day. Our top picks for the best emergency loans all issue funds as soon as the same or following business day. However, funding can take longer if the lender requires additional documentation for approval. And bank processing times can also vary, which can impact when your funds will be available.
What Is the Easiest Loan to Get?
Easy loans are not always the best loans. For example, a pawn shop loan is one of the easiest loans to get because it requires no income and no credit but provides you with instant cash. However, pawn shop loans come with high APRs and the risk of losing your valuables. Luckily, many of our top picks for the best emergency loans are available to folks with bad credit, offer a quick and easy online application process, and provide funding within a day.

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About the Author

Lindsay Frankel

Lindsay Frankel

Personal Finance Expert

Personal finance expert with 3 years experience specializing in researching, writing, and editing insurance, loans, and credit cards content.

More about me