Financial hardship happens to everyone. It’s not a personal failing, but it can be scary. Getting an emergency loan without a job is not impossible, and it might be the tool you need to weather a rough financial patch. However, there’s more to getting a loan without a job than simply filling out an application.

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Can you get a loan without a job?

Yes, you are still eligible for a personal loan even if you are unemployed. Your approval will depend on proving to the lender that you can make your payments. Lenders are concerned about getting loans back, not necessarily about what your employment status is. If you are approved for a loan without a job, you are 100% responsible for paying it back in the terms agreed upon. Not having a job doesn’t preclude you from paying the loan back.

Criteria lenders will look for

  • A source of income: This doesn’t have to be from a job. You simply have to show lenders that you have money coming in that can be used for the loan payments, such as from investments, rent from rental real estate property or social security income.
  • Your credit score: Your credit score will be used to calculate things like the amount you’re approved for and your interest rate
  • Your credit history: Without a job, your credit history will be very important to a lender. Lenders will want to see a history of on-time payments and proof that you’ve handled credit well in the past. Negative marks on a credit report, like missed payments or bankruptcies, will work against you.

Can I qualify for a loan with alternative income?

Yes, alternative income is acceptable for an emergency loan. Think broadly about alternative income sources. This could be:

  • Social Security
  • Rental property income
  • Capital Gains or investment dividends
  • Partner income
  • Savings
  • Inheritance
  • Disability income

The best emergency loans for the unemployed

The best personal loan is one that you can afford. Luckily there are many lenders with flexible terms and offers for those in a financial emergency.

LendUp – Best for next-day funding

LendUp gets money to borrowers fast. You can apply online 24/7 and get an instant decision. You can get your money as soon as the next business day, which is priceless for people who need money ASAP. LendUp rates depend on your state, but 664.04% for a 14-day term is common, and loans can range from $100-$300. LendUp may charge you a CAB fee, which for single payment loans is $25 per $100 borrowed and is rolled into the total loan amount taken out.

Credible – Best marketplace lender

Fill in the application on Credible and you’ll be given several loan options from up to 13 different lenders, tailored to your needs. Rates for personal loan lenders start at 4.99%. Loan amounts range from $1,000 to $100,000, depending on the lender you go with. Your required credit score will depend on the lender you choose. Credible is free for borrowers to use, though lenders may have fees of their own. Credible partners with lenders that specifically do not charge origination fees or application fees. – Best for bad credit

At, loans range from $500 to $5,000 and terms are from three to 36 months. There is no minimum credit score required to apply through the marketplace, but each lender determines its own interest rate for loans and applicants will be able to review them all before signing any paperwork. states that rates can be anywhere from 4.99% to 35.99%. Like Credible, is free to use, though a lender may charge a fee in your specific loan terms. – Best for alternative income

Loans range from $500 to $35,000 at this marketplace. Each lender determines its own interest rate for loans, but applicants will be able to review each lender’s offer. states that many lenders it works with have rates from 5.99% to 35.99%. Similarly, a lender can set its own loan terms, but shares that many lenders offer terms of 90 days to 72 months. There is no fee to use this platform, though a lender may charge a fee in your specific loan terms.

How to choose an emergency loan

There are many options for emergency loans, so it’s important to figure out what type of loan terms are most important to you. Consider these questions as you choose an emergency loan for yourself.

Does applying lower my credit score? Applying for some loans may result in a lower credit score. If you have bad credit and need a personal loan, this might be a dealbreaker for you, as it will further lower your score.

What are all the fees? Fees can really add up, especially if you are looking for a longer-term loan. Are there application fees, origination fees, late payment fees? Add up the total you will pay in fees over the life of your loan and make sure it’s something you can afford.

Are there restrictions? Some loans can’t be used for certain purposes or may require automatic payments. This may disqualify certain lenders for you, depending on your emergency and financial situation.

Does the lender report to credit bureaus? Lenders may report your payments (or lack thereof) to credit bureaus. If you miss a payment this could negatively impact your credit score and harm your chances at a future loan.

How much money do I need? Many lenders have restrictions around how much they can lend out. These restrictions might be tighter for those looking for an emergency loan but have bad credit.

Emergency loan alternatives

Before you take out an emergency loan, consider all your financial options. Remember that taking out a loan costs money to do, and then must be paid back. Are there other things you can do first?

  • Apply for unemployment: If you are eligible, unemployment benefits are an alternative route to replacing your income. You must apply through your state, and if approved you can receive a weekly check.
  • Negotiate your bills: Call your utility companies, your landlord, and any services you pay for that you need. Can they offer you a payment plan until you find a new job? Can they extend a promotional rate? Can you take on work around the home in exchange for lower rent? It never hurts to ask.
  • Local help: Many cities and states offer programs for people in financial crisis. You can take advantage of local food pantries to feed yourself or inquire if your city has grants or support programs for unemployed people. Many cities offer free professional training, where you can learn new skills. Look into local groups that offer financial or home support.
  • Ask for support: Reach out to family and friends and ask for support. If someone is able to lend you money, that can be an immediate source of financial relief that may end up cheaper than a personal loan.

What to know before taking out a loan

Taking out a loan does come with risk. If you default, your loan will be sent to collections and your credit score will take a significant hit. Unsecured defaulted loans can ultimately end up in court, which would be even more expensive in the long term.  Taking out a loan you can’t pay back may also land you in bankruptcy. Bankruptcy also negatively impacts your credit score and stays on your credit report for seven years.

Read everything carefully before you sign anything. If you don’t understand the language used by a lender, look it up to make sure you’re clear on everything. The most important thing to know before taking out a loan is that this is not free money. You must pay it back plus interest and fees, so it’s crucial that you only borrow what you can afford to pay back.

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The bottom line

Being unemployed is not an automatic disqualifier for an emergency personal loan. The money may be just what you need to get back on your feet. Do your homework and shop around for a lender that fits your needs and budget.

Once you’ve decided to apply, your next steps are to find a lender that you trust and that fits your needs. Then, compare all the rates in front of you and make sure you can fulfill the terms of the loan. Finally, explore every option to get yourself back into a great financial position as you repay your loan.