Quick Ways to Borrow Money

A car repair, medical expense or job loss could render your finances short of cash fast. When the unexpected happens, it’s important to consider where you could borrow money. Some of these options include:

  1. Get a cash advance on your credit card
  2. Apply for an online personal loan
  3. Get a cash advance from your bank or credit union
  4. Borrow from your HELOC
  5. Borrow from a friend or family member
  6. Borrow from your retirement account

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In this article

    Emergency loans are loans provided by lenders that are easy to apply for, offer reasonable rates and have quick funding time to mitigate the emergency that the borrower is facing.

    The 4 best quick funding loans of 2021

     RatesLoan AmountTermsFunding Time
    One Main Financial18.00%–35.99%$1,500 – $20,0002 – 5 yearsSame day if approved by noon
    TD Bank6.99%–18.99%$2,000 – $50,0001 – 5 yearsNormally within 48 business hours
    Rise Credit50.00%–299.00%$300 – $5,0004 – 26 monthsWithin one business day
    LightStream3.99%–19.99% w/AutoPay$5,000 – $100,0002 – 12 yearsSame day approval–conditions apply

    OneMain Financial – Best for emergencies

    If you need access to borrow money quickly, then OneMain Financial makes it simple. You can apply online or through one of its branches located nationwide. If you’re approved by noon, you could receive your cash the same day, making it a great option when you’re in a pinch and need money fast. And unlike payday lenders, you’ll pay much less in interest rates and you’ll have flexible repayment terms to align with your budget.

    However, OneMain has higher rates compared to lenders like LightStream, but borrowers don’t need great credit to qualify. Furthermore, in order to complete the loan approval process, applicants must visit a branch in person to sign the final documents.

    TD Bank – Best for next-day funding

    Normally, when you need to borrow money fast you’ll pay for it in higher interest rates. However, TD Bank’s express personal loans offer some of the lowest interest rates available, they range from 6.99%–18.99%. This, coupled with the flexible loan amounts and repayment terms make TD Bank a smart choice for when you need money fast but don’t want to have to pay a higher total loan cost.

    Rise Credit – Best for bad credit

    If you have experienced credit problems in the past, then Rise Credit is one of the best bad credit loans to consider. Unlike payday loans, Rise gives you more flexibility in repayment options — depending on the amount borrowed. Moreover, its interest rates are far more favorable than a payday lender and with fast approval times, you could have the money you need the next business day.

    LightStream – Best for good credit

    Lightstream is the top emergency lender for flexibility because it offers higher borrowing amounts, where you can get a loan for up to $100,000. It also provides more flexibility in repayment terms as you have anywhere from two to 12 years to repay your loan. Lastly, if you have excellent credit, then LightStream will be your best option. It advertises interest rates from 3.99%–19.99% APR and will beat any competitor’s offer by 0.10%.

    Other ways to borrow money quickly

    Get a cash advance on your credit card

    One of the main advantages of having credit cards is the ability to use them in a pinch for emergency expenses. And if you need physical cash, many credit card companies allow cash advances through ATMs, though you’ll have a withdrawal limit and fees may apply. This should be a last resort given the high-interest rates credit card issuers charge on cash advances. Still, even with the higher interest rates, it’s less expensive than a payday loan.

    Apply for an online personal loan

    Many lenders allow you to apply online and with approval, you could have money within 24 hours. Before applying for a personal loan, you’ll want to check if your credit is good enough to receive approval and favorable rates. Moreover, you’ll want to know what the loan terms are such as the interest rate, repayment term, and the loan’s total cost — which is the amount borrowed plus the interest and any fees. Many lenders will let you check your rates to see if you qualify without doing a hard pull on your credit.

    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

    Get a cash advance from your bank or credit union

    Some banks and credit unions have express personal loans where you can borrow the cash you need at a lower interest rate. Some have shorter repayment terms ranging from your next payday to a few months, so it’s important to budget the repayment costs to ensure this is a good option for you.

    Borrow from your home equity line of credit

    Your home equity line of credit could also be an option when times are tough. Often, these loans come with low interest rates, giving you access to the cash you need without making it an expensive proposition. It’s important to check first to make sure you meet the federal guidelines for a home equity loan.

    Borrow from a friend or family member

    If you have a lower credit score or don’t want to take on a costly loan, then borrowing money from a family or friend could be a smart option. To make the process easier on both of you, it’s ideal you show proof you can repay the loan and you both agree to terms of repayment before borrowing, so each is on the same page.

    Borrow from your retirement account

    Some retirement accounts allow you to do emergency/hardship loans. However, any money you borrow from your account that you don’t repay will be subject to tax and fees. You should check with your broker to see the terms and conditions that apply for hardship loans then consider if it’s a good option for you.

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) Financial Wellness Resources

    Where to Find Financial Relief During Coronavirus (COVID-19)
    Coronavirus Stimulus Package: Everything You Need to Know
    How to get your stimulus check as soon as possible
    How to cash quickly during the Pandemic
    Preparing for life after the Coronavirus

    Why payday loans and no-credit-check loans should be a last resort

    Payday loans often come with hefty interest rates close to 400% and short repayment times of only a month — two months at the most. Once you’re in this form of borrowing, it could be difficult to break out. If you’re facing eviction, a utility disconnection or other emergencies, it can help, but it’s by far the most expensive and least favorable option.

    Before signing up for a payday loan, be sure that you’ve exhausted all other possible payday loan alternatives.

    How to avoid cash emergencies in the future

    The best way to avoid emergencies in the future is to plan ahead. Setting aside money now can ensure you have funds for emergencies. A simple way to do this is to analyze your budget and see if you can create some wiggle room by reducing eating out, getting rid of cable, going to a prepaid cell phone plan and cutting out other unnecessary expenses. Even a small amount such as $10 weekly ends up being over $500 in one year.

    Once you have an amount you can save per pay period, treat it as an expense by setting up automatic transfers from your checking to a high-yield savings account for that amount. This allows you to save money so when the unexpected happens, you have some funds to account for it.

    Sean Jackson

    Contributing Writer

    Sean Jackson is a creative copywriter living in Florida. He’s had work published with Realtor.com, theScore, ESPN and the San Francisco Chronicle. In his free time, Sean likes to play drums, fail miserably at improv and spend time at the beach.

    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 Interest.com, PersonalLoans.org, and elsewhere.