Quick Personal Loans: Best Fast Cash Lenders of 2020

Emergencies in life can happen at any time. Often, these unexpected circumstances can leave some in need of fast cash. If you need cash now, many of the top lenders across the industry offer fast personal loans that can be used for a wide array of different needs. Taking the time to find the best lender for your quick cash needs can set you up for success navigating life’s storms.

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    In this article

      The best fast cash lenders of 2020

      LenderSimpleScoreAPR RangeLoan AmountFunding Time
      LightStream4.83.49%–20.49%$5,000–$100,000Under 24 hours
      Discover4.46.99%–24.99%$2,500–$35,0001 business day
      Upstart3.48.69%–35.99%$1,000–$50,0001 business day
      Best Egg3.755.99%–29.99%$2,000–$35,0001 business day
      NetCredit2.2534%–155%$1,000–$10,0001 business day

      Best for same-day funding – LightStream

      The ability to get access to money the same day is an incredible benefit offered through LightStream. If you need between $5,000 and $40,000 today, have a look at LightStream personal loans.

      APR Range
      2.49%–19.99% w/AutoPay
      Loan Amount
      $5K–$100K
      Term
      24–84 months
      SimpleScore
      4.8 / 5.0
      close
      SimpleScore LightStream 4.8
      Rates 5
      Loan Size 5
      Customer Satisfaction 4
      Support 5
      Fees 5

      If you’re looking for the fastest cash possible, LightStream’s loans may be a viable option. The company gets you a response to your loan the same day during business hours. If you return your signed paperwork by 2:30 EST on a business day, you’ll get access to your funds that same day.

      • Funding time: Under 24 hours
      • Minimum credit score: Not listed
      • Minimum annual income: Not listed

      LightStream does require you to declare your plans for the money when you apply for your loan, which will affect the APR you receive. APRs as low as 5.95%, depending on your credit profile, the amount you want to borrow, the length of repayment terms and what you are using the money for.

      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 for next-day funding – Discover, Member FDIC

      Discover offers some pretty great flexibility with rates, repayment terms and the availability of funding. If you need between $2,500 and $35,000 quickly, check out Discover.

      APR Range
      6.99%–24.99%
      Loan Amount
      $2,500–$35K
      Term
      36–84 months
      SimpleScore
      4.4 / 5.0
      close
      SimpleScore Discover, Member FDIC 4.4
      Rates 5
      Loan Size 5
      Customer Satisfaction 3
      Support 5
      Fees 4

      If you have to have your money today, you’ll want to use LightStream personal loans. But if you can wait until tomorrow, that opens up some additional options like Discover personal loans. Loans are available through the same company made popular by their credit card offerings.

      • Funding time: 1 business day
      • Minimum credit score: Not listed
      • Minimum annual income: $25,000

      Personal loans through Discover come with no origination fees, fixed rates between 6.99% and 24.99% APR and flexible repayment terms. Additionally, you can return the funds in under 30 days if you need to and pay no interest at all. If you’re looking for funding, speak to one of Discover’s 100% U.S. based customer service specialists.

      Best for short credit histories – Upstart

      Rates at Upstart are competitive. But what is attractive is the company’s willingness to work with smaller loans and work with people with shorter credit histories.

      APR Range
      8.69%–35.99%
      Loan Amount
      $1K–$50K
      Term
      36–60 months
      SimpleScore
      3.4 / 5.0
      close
      SimpleScore Upstart 3.4
      Rates 2
      Loan Size 5
      Customer Satisfaction 4
      Support 3
      Fees 3

      Upstart offers loans from $1,000 to $50,000. The lower end of this range is good for people looking for a smaller infusion of cash. Rates span from 8.13% to 35.99% depending on your state of residence, creditworthiness and loan terms. Upstart also offers no prepayment penalties, so you’ll only pay for the time you need the money.

      • Funding time: 1 business day
      • Minimum credit score: 620
      • Minimum annual income: Not listed

      According to the company’s website, the company looks at more than just your credit score when deciding on approval. Upstart looks at your education, work experience and several other factors to make its decision.

      Upstart Disclosure

      * The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 3-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart Platform will have an APR of 19% and 36 monthly payments of $35 per $1,000 borrowed. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Average APR is calculated based on 3-year rates offered in the last 1 month. Your APR will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will be approved. ** Estimated savings are calculated based on the credit profiles of all loans originated by Upstart-powered lenders using the Upstart Platform as of April 1, 2019 in which the funds were used for credit card refinancing. Estimated savings are calculated by deriving current credit card APR using minimum monthly payment and 1% of the principal balance. The estimated credit card APR is then compared to the accepted loan to determine median savings per borrower. To evaluate savings on a loan you are considering, it is important to compare your actual APR from your existing debt to the APR offered on the Upstart Platform. More than 303,000 loans have been originated on the Upstart platform as of July 1, 2019. Images are not actual customers, but their stories are real. † If you accept your loan by 5pm EST (not including weekends or holidays), you will receive your funds the next business day. Loans used to fund education related expenses are subject to a 3 business day wait period between loan acceptance and in accordance with federal law. ‡ While most of our borrowers opt for automated recurring payment for ease of use, we also accept payments by check or one time electronic payments. Borrowers have the flexibility to choose the repayment method that works best for them. 9 out of 10 Upstart users surveyed internally reported that they would recommend Upstart. †† When you check your rate, we check your credit report. This initial (soft) inquiry will not affect your credit score. If you accept your rate and proceed with your application, we do another (hard) credit inquiry that will impact your credit score. If you take out a loan, repayment information will be reported to the credit bureaus. § Your loan amount will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will qualify for the full amount. Loans are not available in West Virginia or Iowa. The minimum loan amount in MA is $7,000. The minimum loan amount in Ohio is $6,000. The minimum loan amount in NM is $5,100. The minimum loan amount in GA is $3,100.

      Best for debt consolidation – Best Egg

      Best Egg is only available to people with credit scores over 640. While this isn’t great news for anyone with less-than-great credit scores, customers with good to great scores can enjoy better rates.

      APR Range
      5.99%–29.99%
      Loan Amount
      $2K–$35K
      Term
      3–5 years
      SimpleScore
      3.8 / 5.0
      close
      SimpleScore Best Egg 3.8
      Rates 4
      Loan Size 5
      Customer Satisfaction N/A
      Support 3
      Fees 3

      Best Egg offers personal loans between $2,000 and $35,000 to borrowers with at least a 640 credit score. This minimum score is higher than in many other places but may earn you a better rate. The minimum rate of 5.99% on a personal loan is lower than most of the other options presented on this list.

      • Funding time: 1 business day
      • Minimum credit score: 640
      • Minimum annual income: Not listed

      People looking to consolidate debt can get up to $35,000 from Best Egg in a matter of minutes. If you have outstanding debt and rates are now lower, or your credit profile has changed, you may be able to save significantly.

      Best Egg Disclosure

      Best Egg loans are unsecured personal loans made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. “Best Egg” is a trademark of Marlette Funding LLC. All uses of “Best Egg” on this site mean and shall refer to “the Best Egg personal loan” and/or “Best Egg on behalf of Cross River Bank, as originator of the Best Egg personal loan,” as applicable. Loan amounts generally range from $2,000-$35,000. Offers up to $50,000 may be available for qualified customers who receive offer codes in the mail. The minimum individual annual income needed to qualify for a loan of $50,000 is $130,000. Borrowers may hold no more than two open Best Egg loans at any given time. In order to be eligible for a second Best Egg loan, your existing Best Egg loan must have been open for at least six months. Total existing Best Egg loan balances must not exceed $50,000. All loans in MA must exceed $6,500; in NM and OH must exceed $5,000; in GA must exceed $3,000.

      Best for bad credit – NetCredit

      The money you can get through a NetCredit personal loan is expensive and limited. But if you have bad credit, you may need to take what you can get and start rebuilding your credit for access to better options.

      APR Range
      34%–155%
      Loan Amount
      $1K–$10K
      Term
      12–60 months
      SimpleScore
      2.3 / 5.0
      close
      SimpleScore NetCredit 2.3
      Rates 1
      Loan Size 2
      Customer Satisfaction N/A
      Support 3
      Fees 3

      While NetCredit does not list the minimum credit score it’s willing to work with, the company does boast that people are more than just a credit score. Additionally, the much higher rates signal it’s willing to take on riskier investments, which means lower credit scores.

      • Funding time: 1 business day
      • Minimum credit score: Not listed
      • Minimum annual income: Not listed

      The maximum you can borrow on a NetCredit personal loan will depend on the state that you live in. In most states, though, that maximum is $10,000. While this is a smaller amount than the other options on the list, it may be all you qualify for if you have bad credit.

      How to get a quick loan

      1. Gather a copy of your credit report and your supporting financial documents. You’ll need all of this during the application process. If you find errors in your credit report, get them corrected first. Even if you have less-than-great credit, you may still be able to qualify for a bad credit loan.
      2. Begin shopping lenders to find the options that may work for you. Remember, even though you need the money fast, you still need to make fiscally smart decisions. Find the lender that offers the best rates, most favorable terms and the right dollar amount for your needs.
      3. Complete the approval process. Most quick cash lenders will have a preapproval process that will give you an idea of whether you will get final approval. Once you find the right lender that preapproves you, fill out the paperwork for final approval. The quicker you get your paperwork in, the quicker you’ll get access to your funds. Some lenders may be able to get you your funds the same day.

      Types of quick loans

      Unsecured personal loans: Unsecured personal loans are borrowing programs where you don’t have to put up collateral to get a loan. The rates are higher than secured personal loans, but the approval process is quicker.

      Payday loans: While payday loans promise quick cash, they are predatory and can put you on course for a debt cycle you can’t escape. Use payday loans as a very last resort after you’ve exhausted every other possible option.

      Car title loans: These quick loan options give you fast cash in return for a high-interest rate and putting your car title up for collateral. While this might seem like a quick fix, the longer-term impact can be devastating. If you default on one of these loans, you will lose your car.

      Risks and alternatives to fast cash loans

      The money is expensive. Access to quick cash may be more expensive than traditional loan options like secured personal loans or credit cards. If you can wait, take the additional time to seek out other cost-effective options. In addition, quick loans may make you susceptible to falling into a debt cycle. If you don’t have a plan to pay back your loan, you shouldn’t take one out. Many people find themselves trying to pay off debt with other forms of debt, which begins a downward debt cycle. Have a plan for repayment before you borrow.

      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 Bankrate.com

      If the thought of borrowing money fast and repaying it back with interest bothers you, try asking friends or family for a short-term loan. Draw up an agreeable contract that has little to no interest and see if someone will agree to lend you the cash you need to bridge those financial gaps. Furthermore, it may be possible to ask your employer for a paycheck advance if you’re really hurting for the cash.

      Alternatively, using a credit card can help patch things up in a pinch. Instead of opening another line on your credit profile or paying origination fees, your current credit card can be a source of quick cash in the case of an emergency. Just be sure to pay it back as soon as possible — as you would with a personal loan — in order to avoid heft interest charges on your balance.

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

      Methodology

      SimpleScore

      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 hayley@thesimpledollar.com.

      Rates

      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.)

      Support

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

      Fees

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

      Jason Lee

      Contributing Writer

      Jason Lee is a U.S.-based freelance writer with a passion for writing about dating, banking, tech, personal growth, food and personal finance. As a business owner, relationship strategist, and officer in the U.S. military, Jason enjoys sharing his unique knowledge base and skill sets with the rest of the world. Follow Jason on Facebook here

      Reviewed by

      • Courtney Mihocik
        Courtney Mihocik

        Courtney Mihocik is an editor at The Simple Dollar who specializes in insurance, personal finance, and loans. Previously, she wrote and edited for Interest.com, PersonalLoans.org, Ballantyne Magazine, Thread Magazine, The Post, ACRN, The New Political, Columbus Alive and the Institute for International Journalism.