Best Emergency Loans
Life can be uncertain, and you never know what is around the corner. If you don’t have enough savings, you could find yourself in need of cash fast when there are unexpected expenses. That’s where an emergency loan can be a saving grace in times of trouble when you need a little help.
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Like any loan, the interest can end up costing you significantly more than you borrow, but because of the urgency of your loan, you will likely incur much higher rates than traditional loans.
The best emergency loans of 2020
- TD Bank – Best for small amounts (the TD express loan)
- OneMain Financial – Best for average credit
- RISE Credit – Best for bad credit
- LightStream – Best for low APRs
- Avant – Best online application
|APR||Loan Amount||Terms||Funding Time|
|TD Bank||6.99% – 18.99%||$2,000 – $25,000||12 – 60 months||48 hours|
|OneMain Financial||18.00% – 35.99%||$1,500 – $20,000||24, 36, 48, or 60 months||Same day|
|RISE Credit||36% – 299%||$500 – $5,000||Varies by state||1 business day|
|LightStream||As low as 3.49%||$5,000 – $100,000||2 – 7 years||Same day|
|Avant||9.95% – 35.99%||$2,000 – $35,000||2 -5 years||1 business day|
The best emergency loans of 2020
TD Bank – Best for small amounts
TD Bank offers many types of loans, including unsecured loans and unsecured lines of credit, but the TD Express Loan is a fantastic choice for an emergency loan. There are no application fees and no origination fees, saving you money right from the start. Rates are reasonable from 6.99% to 18.99%, and you can receive an extra 0.25% off the interest rate when you enroll in automatic payments from your TD checking or savings account.
However, TD Bank is not available to everyone, with service limited to the East Coast. You also must complete the application process in person, which is an extra inconvenience that can delay your loan.
OneMain Financial – Best for average credit
OneMain is excellent when you’re in a financial bind because this lender can have money to you the very same day if your application is approved before noon. You pay for this convenience, however, with interest rates that are significantly higher than other lenders.
OneMain is more forgiving than others when it comes to your credit score, making it a good choice if you have just average credit. There’s a ton of flexibility for the loan terms, and you can have your pick of completing the application process online, via phone, or in-person at one of its 1,500 branches. What’s more, you also have the added peace of mind knowing that you can always meet with someone in-person should you ever need assistance.
RISE Credit – Best for bad credit
RISE Credit easily volunteers its perks for emergency loans: there is no minimum credit score, and you can have $500 to $5,000 as soon as the next business day. However, this is a program designed for those with bad credit who are unable to get a loan anywhere else. The interest rates are exorbitant, reaching nearly 300% depending on your resident state. This can cost you thousands more than you borrow, making it really only a good option if you have exhausted all possibilities and need cash fast. RISE lets you choose your terms, but like your interest rate, your term options will largely depend on where you live and what is available.
LightStream – Best for low APRs
With LightStream, you can enjoy some of the lowest rates available for personal loans, starting below 3.50%. Your exact rate will depend on what you are using your loan for, as different purposes are set up with their own unique terms and rates. LightStream services the entire U.S. with absolutely no fees, and you can take advantage of an extra 0.50% discount when you enroll in autopay.
You have to have excellent credit to benefit from LightStream’s rates, but it allows you to create a loan that works best for you with the option to choose your loan amount, terms and funding date. If you are not satisfied with the services you receive, LightStream will pay you $100 as part of its Loan Experience Guarantee program.
Avant – Best online application
Avant is one of our favorites for the sheer simplicity of its application process. There is no minimum credit required, nor are there any income requirements. Loans are typically available from $2,000 to $35,000, and you can pay off the loan early without incurring any fees.
Avant’s rates may be too high for people with excellent credit, but it is a great option for borrowers with mediocre to poor credit. Interest rates range from below 10% to nearly 36 percent, and there is an origination fee of 4.75 percent. They process their loans very quickly; if your application is approved by 4:30 p.m. CST, you could see funds the next business day.
What is an emergency loan?
When you need an emergency loan, it is usually because there are unexpected expenses that suddenly and urgently must be paid. There are many reasons why you may need an emergency loan: perhaps there was a death in the family, you lost your job or a recent storm ran off with parts of your roof. Your car could break down or you could be saddled with enormous hospital bills.
Whatever the reason for an emergency loan, this is a way to get cash fast, with some lenders even offering same-day funding. However, these loans come at a price, and anything you borrow will need to be repaid with interest accrued and applied fees as well.
When you need an emergency loan, it is most often in the form of a personal loan.
Personal loans can be used for nearly any purpose, making them a versatile choice for funding. Funding is typically available quickly with loans from $1,000 to $100,000 and with terms of up to seven years.
Check Your Personal Loan Rates
Answer a few questions to see which personal loans you pre-qualify for. The process is quick and easy, and it will not impact your credit score.
There are many types of loans available when you need money fast, but there are also some types of loans that borrowers should try to avoid, such as payday loans. These types of loans will front you the cash from your next paycheck, but they carry exorbitant fees and are usually limited to small amounts of $1,000 or less.
Payday Alternative Loans
Payday alternative loans are a little different in that they offer a steadier repayment plan. Rather than paying your loan back in one big payment, these loans allow you to loan at a little bit over time with a far more manageable repayment plan. These loans are available from $200 to $1,000 with a maximum 28% APR and repaid within six months. To apply, you must be a member of a federal credit union in the national database. Every credit union has different stipulations for its payday alternative loans, so be sure to shop your options carefully.
A title loan uses your car’s title as collateral for your emergency loan. This is a common solution for borrowers with poor credit, but they carry very short repayment windows of usually just a month. The APRs are well into the triple digits, making them horribly expensive for loans that run from $100 to over $10,000 in some cases.
Title loans are just another reason why you need to exercise extreme caution when shopping for a lender. If you find yourself suddenly needing an emergency loan, first take the time to fully understand the different types of loans that are available so you know how they can best benefit you without high APRs or discriminating loan terms.
Tips for getting your funds faster
Urgency is one of the key factors of an emergency loan, and you rarely have the luxury of awaiting extended processing times. There are some things you can do to receive your funds faster.
- Apply for a reasonable amount.
When deciding how much of a loan you need, you should take care never to borrow more than you need. The more money you request, the greater risk there is for the lender, and it can lead to a more in-depth and approval process than you would normally have with a smaller loan.
- Confirm your loan terms.
When you receive the terms of your loan, be sure to carefully review all the details for accuracy. There may be additional fees, such as processing, lien and origination fees that are buried in the fine print. It is important to check that the APR, finance charge and term are all accurate before you commit to your loan with a signature.
- Set up your payment account.
You can simplify the process by connecting your bank account for easy transfer. It will take the lender some time to prepare and process your loan, so you can get a headstart by ironing out any kinks in advance with your payment information. Most companies allow you to complete the payment process online, saving valuable time when it counts most.
The bottom line
There may be times in life when an emergency loan is necessary, but you should still take the time to carefully shop your options and always read the fine print. There are many types of loans that can help you in a pinch, such as a personal loan, payday loan or title loan, but these can land you in financial trouble if you aren’t careful. Lenders leverage the urgency of your situation to make a tidy profit off exaggerated APRs and uncompromising terms.