Best Emergency Loans of 2021

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.

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. We rated and reviewed the best emergency loans using our SimpleScore system, which compares rates, fees, loan amounts, customer satisfaction and customer service.

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      The best emergency loans of 2021

       APRLoan AmountTermsFunding Time
      TD Bank6.99%–18.99%$2,000–$50,00036–60 months1 business day
      OneMain Financial18.00%–35.99%$1,500–$20,00024, 36, 48, or 60 monthsSame day
      RISE Credit50.00%–299.00%$300–$5,000Varies by state1 business day
      LightStream2.49%–19.99% with AutoPay$5,000–$100,0002 –7 yearsSame day
      Avant9.95%–35.99%$2,000–$35,0002–5 years1 business day

      *Rates accurate as of July 2021.

      The best emergency loans of 2021

      Best for Existing Customers – TD Bank

      TD Bank requires no application or origination fees for emergency loans, so you save money right from the start.

      APR Range
      Loan Amount
      36–60 months
      4.6 / 5.0
      SimpleScore TD Bank 4.6
      Rates 5
      Loan Size 5
      Customer Satisfaction 5
      Support 4
      Fees 4

      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%–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.

      Best for average credit – OneMain Financial

      If you have average credit and need flexible terms, OneMain Financial is a great option. Though you’ll pay for those perks with higher interest rates.

      APR Range
      Loan Amount
      2–5 years
      3.3 / 5.0
      SimpleScore OneMain Financial 3.3
      Rates 2
      Loan Size 3
      Customer Satisfaction N/A
      Support 5
      Fees 3

      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.

      OneMain Financial Disclosure

      Not all applicants will qualify for larger loan amounts or most favorable loan terms. Loan approval and actual loan terms depend on your ability to meet our credit standards (including a responsible credit history, sufficient income after monthly expenses, and availability of collateral). Larger loan amounts require a first lien on a motor vehicle no more than ten years old, that meets our value requirements, titled in your name with valid insurance. Maximum APR is 35.99%, subject to state restrictions. APRs are generally higher on loans not secured by a vehicle. The lowest APR shown represents the 10% of loans with the most favorable APR. Active duty military, their spouse or dependents covered under the Military Lending Act may not pledge any vehicle as collateral for a loan. OneMain loan proceeds cannot be used for postsecondary educational expenses as defined by the CFPB’s Regulation Z, such as college, university or vocational expenses; for any business or commercial purpose; to purchase securities; or for gambling or illegal purposes.

      Borrowers in these states are subject to these minimum loan sizes: Alabama: $2,100. California: $3,000. Georgia: Unless you are a present customer, $3,100 minimum loan amount. Ohio: $2,000. Virginia: $2,600.

      Borrowers (other than present customers) in these states are subject to these maximum unsecured loan sizes: Florida: $8,000. Iowa: $8,500. Maine: $7,000. Mississippi: $7,500. North Carolina: $7,500. New York: $20,000. Texas: $8,000. West Virginia: $7,500. An unsecured loan is a loan which does not require you to provide collateral (such as a motor vehicle) to the lender.

      Best for bad credit – RISE Credit

      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.

      APR Range
      Loan Amount
      4–26 months
      2.5 / 5.0
      SimpleScore RISE Credit 2.5
      Rates 1
      Loan Size 1
      Customer Satisfaction N/A
      Support 3
      Fees 5

      RISE Credit easily volunteers its perks for emergency loans: there is no minimum credit score, and you can have $300 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.

      Best for low APRs – LightStream

      With LightStream, you can enjoy some of the lowest rates available for personal loans, starting below 6.00%.

      APR Range
      2.49%–19.99% w/Autopay
      Loan Amount
      24–84 months
      4.8 / 5.0
      SimpleScore LightStream 4.8
      Rates 5
      Loan Size 5
      Customer Satisfaction 4
      Support 5
      Fees 5

      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.

      LightStream Disclosure

      Disclaimer: Your loan terms, including APR, may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term length, and your credit profile. Excellent credit is required to qualify for lowest rates. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount. AutoPay discount is only available prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay may be higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice.

      Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 4.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $299.66

      © 2020 Truist Financial Corporation. SunTrust, Truist, LightStream, the LightStream logo, and the SunTrust logo are service marks of Truist Financial Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Lending services provided by Truist Bank.

      Best online application – Avant

      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.

      APR Range
      Loan Amount
      24–60 months
      3.2 / 5.0
      SimpleScore Avant 3.2
      Rates 2
      Loan Size 5
      Customer Satisfaction 2
      Support 4
      Fees 3

      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.

      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.

      Avant Disclosure

      The actual loan amount, term, and APR amount of loan that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination and state law. Minimum loan amounts vary by state. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.

      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.

      Personal loans

      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.

      Payday loans

      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.

      Title loans

      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.

      Check Your Personal Loan Rates

      Answer a few questions to see which personal loans you pre-qualify for. It’s quick and easy, and it will not impact your credit score.

      Get Started

      with our trusted partners at

      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.

      We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the personal loans we recommend. Contact us at with comments or questions.



      The SimpleScore is a proprietary scoring metric we use to objectively compare products and services at The Simple Dollar.

      For every review, our editorial team:

      • Identifies five measurable aspects to compare across each brand
      • Determines the rating criteria for each aspect score
      • Averages the five aspect scores to produce a single SimpleScore

      Here’s a breakdown of the five aspect scores and their rating criteria for our review of the best personal loans of 2020.

      Why do some brands have different SimpleScores on different pages?

      To ensure the SimpleScore is as helpful and accurate as possible, we developed unique criteria for every category we compare at The Simple Dollar. Since most brands offer a variety of financial solutions, their products and services will score differently depending on what we’re scoring on a given page.

      However, it’s also possible for the same product from the same brand to have multiple SimpleScores. For instance, if we compare NetCredit’s personal loans according to our criteria for the best personal loans, it scores a 2.3 out of 5. But when we compare NetCredit according to the criteria for the best bad credit personal loans, it scores considerably higher, since the criteria for the latter review are more lenient (lenders who serve borrowers with bad credit will always offer higher rates, so we needed to adjust our category methodology to account for different industry standards).

      Questions about our methodology?

      Email Hayley Armstrong at


      We looked at the maximum APR for each lender — the lower their maximum rate, the higher their score.

      Loan Size

      We awarded higher scores to lenders with more generous loan sizes.

      Customer Satisfaction

      We leveraged the J.D. Power 2019 Personal Loan Satisfaction Study℠ to see how customers rated their experience with each lender. (If a lender wasn’t included in J.D. Power’s study, we skipped this aspect and averaged the four remaining aspect scores.)


      We awarded higher scores to lenders with the most channels for customer support.


      We looked at the three most common fees — origination, late payment, and pre-payment — and penalized lenders for each fee charged.

      Lena Borrelli

      Contributing Writer

      Lena Borrelli is a Tampa-based freelance writer who has worked with leading industry titans, such as Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, and Simon Corporation. Her work has most recently been published on sites like TIME, ADT, Fiscal Tiger, Bankrate and Home Advisor, as well as many other websites and blogs around the world.

      Reviewed by

      • Courtney Mihocik
        Courtney Mihocik
        Loans Editor

        Courtney Mihocik is an editor at The Simple Dollar who specializes in personal loans, student loans, auto loans, and debt consolidation loans. She is a former writer and contributing editor to,, and elsewhere.