Best Emergency Loans in 2023

Get quick & easy loan offers in minutes

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?
LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.
Privacy Secured  |  Advertising Disclosures

Emergency loan lenders with fast funding

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?
LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.
LenderBest for…APR rangeLoan termLoan amountTime to funding
Avant logoLow credit scores9.95% - 35.99%12 to 60 months$2,000 to $35,000Next business day
Best Egg logoWide range of loan amounts8.99% - 35.99%36 to 60 months$2,000 to $50,000Next business day
Discover logoNo origination fees6.99% - 24.99%36 to 84 months$2,500 to $40,000Next business day
LightStream logoLong loan terms7.49% - 24.49% *with autopay24 to 144 months$5,000 to $100,000Same-day funding available
OneMain Financial logoSmall loans18.00% - 35.99%24 to 60 months$1,500 to $20,000Next business day
SoFi logoLarge loan amounts8.99% - 25.81%*24 to 84 months$5,000 to $100,000Same-day funding available
Upgrade logoFlexible repayment terms8.49% - 35.99%24 to 84 months$1,000 to $50,000Next business day
Upstart logoBuilding credit4.60% - 35.99%36 and 60 months$1,000 to $50,000Next business day

*Includes an autopay discount

Get personalized rates

Read more about how we chose our top lenders for emergency loans.

Top lenders for emergency loans

  • APR: 9.95% to 35.99%
  • Terms: 12 to 60 months
  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $35,000
  • Funding timeline: Next business day

Why we like it: With a credit score requirement of just 580, Avant may be a good fit for consumers with low or fair credit scores who are looking for a smaller loan amount.

 

Overview: Avant offers loans ranging from $2,000 to $35,000 with loan terms that can be as short as 12 months. The minimum credit score required by Avant is 580.

 

If you take out an emergency loan with Avant, you’ll have to pay an origination fee of Up to 4.75% , though this is lower than the 8% that some lenders charge. Avant does not offer consumers the option to apply with a cosigner.

 

ProsCons

  Origination fee is lower than what some lenders charge

  Low credit score requirement

  No prepayment penalties

  Charges origination fees (Up to 4.75%)

  No option to apply with cosigner

  Low maximum loan amount

 

Eligibility requirements: While Avant doesn’t offer much information regarding its eligibility requirements, it does stipulate that it takes consumers’ credit history into consideration. You will also need a verifiable personal checking or savings account.

  • APR: 8.99% to 35.99%
  • Terms: 36 to 60 months
  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $50,000
  • Funding timeline: Next business day

Why we like it: Best Egg offers flexible loan amounts, ranging from $2,000 to $50,000, so borrowers can apply for small or large loans with this lender.

 

Overview: To qualify for an emergency loan with Best Egg, you’ll need a credit score of at least 580, but to get Best Egg’s lowest rates, you’ll need a credit score of at least 700 and a minimum income of $100,000.

 

While it can take up to three days to receive your funds, Best Egg claims that around half of their customers receive it the next business day. You may only be able to borrow up to $35,000 from Best Egg depending on your state of residence and whether you have an offer code.

 

ProsCons

  Offers secured loan options

  No prepayment penalties

  Flexible loan amounts ranging from $2,000 to $50,000

  No autopay discounts

  Max APR is high (35.99%)

  Charges an origination fee (0.99% - 8.99%)

 

Eligibility requirements: To qualify for a Best Egg emergency loan, you’ll need a credit score of at least 640 and cannot live in the following states:

 

  • Iowa
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. territories

  • APR: 6.99% to 24.99%
  • Terms: 36 to 84 months
  • Loan amounts: $2,500 to $40,000
  • Funding timeline: Next business day

Why we like it: Discover borrowers can skip paying an origination fee when they take out a loan — a common administrative fee that can get as high as 8.99% and comes out of the total balance of your loan.

 

Overview: While Discover doesn’t have the highest available loan amounts on the market, it does offer borrowers loan terms of up to 84 months, whereas some lenders only offer up to 60 months. This lender also allows customers to check their FICO scores for free.

 

To be eligible for a Discover emergency loan, you’ll need to have a household income of at least $25,000. While you won’t have to worry about origination fees, you may have to pay a late fee if you miss a payment.

 

ProsCons

  No origination fees

  Offers free FICO scores

  Flexible loan terms (36 to 84 months)

  Charges late fees ($39)

  Low maximum loan amount

  No option to apply with co-borrower

 

Eligibility requirements: Discover stipulates that you’ll need to meet the following requirements in order to qualify for an emergency loan:

 

  • Credit score of at least 660
  • Minimum income of $25,000
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident

  • APR: 7.49% to 24.49% *with autopay
  • Terms: 24 to 144 months
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Funding timeline: Same-day funding available

Why we like it: At 144 months, Lightstream has one of the longest loan terms available on the market.

 

Overview: Lightstream offers emergency loans with terms as high as 144 months and amounts as large as $100,000. Additionally, Lightstream customers don’t have to worry about paying fees of any kind.

 

Unlike many emergency loan lenders, however, Lightstream does not offer prequalification. This means that you’ll have to submit to a hard credit inquiry if you want to see the rates you qualify for. Hard credit inquiries can cause your credit score to decrease by a few points.

 

ProsCons

  Doesn’t charge fees

  Terms up to 144 months

  High maximum loan amount

  No option to prequalify

  Consumers with low credit may not qualify

  Unclear eligibility requirements

Eligibility requirements: Lightstream is not very transparent when it comes to how to qualify for a personal loan. However, its website states that applicants must have a good to excellent credit score and a robust credit history to be approved.

  • APR: 18.00% to 35.99%
  • Terms: 24 to 60 months
  • Loan amounts: $1,500 to $20,000
  • Funding timeline: Next business day

Why we like it: With a loan amount ceiling of just $20,000, OneMain Financial may be best for consumers looking for small loans with quick funding.

 

Overview: OneMain Financial has the lowest maximum loan amount on our list, which may appeal to small-loan seekers. This lender also offers secured loans, making it easier for borrowers with low credit scores to qualify, as long as they have valuable collateral.

 

However, OneMain Financial has higher annual percentage rates (APR) than the other lenders on this list, so those with good or excellent credit scores may find better rates elsewhere.

 

ProsCons

  Option to change due date

  Offers secured loans

  No prepayment penalties

  High minimum APR (18.00%)

  Low maximum amount ($20,000)

  Charges origination fees (1.00% - 10.00% )

 

Eligibility requirements: While OneMain Financial doesn’t spell out its specific loan requirements, you’ll need to provide the following documents during the application process:

 

  • A government-issued identification
  • Documentation to verify your residence
  • Proof of income

  • APR: 8.99% to 25.81% (with autopay discount)
  • Terms: 24 to 84 months
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Funding timeline: Same-day funding available

Why we like it: SoFi boasts a maximum loan amount of $100,000 for borrowers who need to cover large expenses in an emergency — one of the highest amounts on the personal loan market.

 

Overview: To qualify for an emergency loan with SoFi, you’ll need a credit score of at least 680. If you’re approved for a loan, you’ll have access to unique benefits such as no required fees, autopay discounts and unemployment support.

 

If you don’t have a robust credit profile and high credit score, you may have a difficult time qualifying for a loan through this lender. However, SoFi does offer the option to apply with a co-borrower (as long as you live at the same address) to increase your chances of getting approved.

 

ProsCons

  Offers joint applications

  No required fees

  Provides 0.25% autopay discount

  High minimum loan amount ($5,000)

  Need good credit score to qualify

  No physical branch locations

 

Eligibility requirements: SoFi offers clear guidelines on the boxes applicants will need to tick to be eligible for a personal loan:

 

  • Minimum credit score of 680
  • Must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or non-permanent resident
  • Must be employed or have employment offer to start in 90 days
  • If not employed, must have verifiable income from other sources

  • APR: 8.49% to 35.99%
  • Terms: 24 to 84 months
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Funding timeline: Next business day

Why we like it: Whether borrowers want to pay off their loan in just 24 months or spread out their payments over 84 months, Upgrade customers have flexibility when choosing their emergency loan terms.

 

Overview: Consumers can borrow between $1,000 to $50,000 from Upgrade. This lender also offers loan terms (up to 84 months) that are longer than what some other lenders provide.

 

You will have to pay an origination fee with Upgrade (1.85% - 9.99% ) and, if you’re more than 15 days overdue on your loan payment, you may have to pay a late fee of $10. If your credit score is on the low side, Upgrade allows borrowers the option to put down collateral to qualify for lower rates.

 

ProsCons

  Offers an autopay discount

  Loan terms up to 84 months

  Option to change due date

  Charges origination fees (1.85% - 9.99%)

  Charges $10 late fees

  High maximum APR (35.99%)

 

Eligibility requirements: Here’s what consumers will need to qualify for an emergency loan with Upgrade:

 

  • Minimum credit score of 580
  • Must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or have a valid visa
  • Must have a valid email and bank account

  • APR: 4.60% to 35.99%
  • Terms: 36 and 60 months
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Funding timeline: Next business day

Why we like it: If you’re relatively new to credit and are in need of an emergency loan, Upstart may be a good option to help build your credit profile and cover your expenses.

 

Overview: With its low credit score requirement (300) and flexibility on the length of your credit history, Upstart could be a fit for consumers who need an emergency loan but don’t have much experience with credit.

 

However, Upstart borrowers are limited to just two repayment term options: 36 or 60 months. Also, if you don’t meet Upstart’s application requirements, this lender does not offer the option to file a joint application or get a secured loan.

 

ProsCons

  Flexible loan range

  Low minimum credit score requirement (600)

  Works with consumers with thin credit histories

  Limited loan terms (36 and 60 months)

  No joint applications or secured loan options

  Charges origination fee (up to 8.00%)

 

Eligibility requirements: Upstart clearly outlines many of its emergency loan requirements. Here’s what you need to know:

 

  • Minimum credit score of 300
  • Must be U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Cannot live in Iowa or West Virginia
  • Must have a full-time job, a full-time job offer to start in six months, a part-time job or another source of consistent income

What are emergency loans?

An emergency loan is a personal loan that is disbursed quickly so you can use it for urgent or unplanned expenses. You might need fast access to cash to take care of unexpected events, such as a car breaking down or an emergency medical expense. Borrowers with strong credit will score the lowest rates on emergency personal loans.

Emergency loans pros and cons

An emergency loan could be a good option to cover an unexpected cost you hadn’t budgeted for. However, there are some downsides you’ll want to consider as well:

ProsCons

  Depending on the lender, you may be able to get your funds the same day you’re approved for a loan.

  Because personal loans offer flexibility, you can use it to cover just about any unexpected cost.

  If you have good credit, you may be able to qualify for low interest rates.

  You may not be able to qualify for the amount of money you need if you don’t have the required income and credit score.

  You may get stuck paying high interest rates if you don’t have a good credit score and strong credit history.

  Some lenders charge origination fees, which will come out of the total balance of your loan funds.

How to choose an emergency loan

Rather than settling for the first loan you find, shop around with several lenders to find the best one for you. Here are some important factors to consider when choosing an emergency personal loan:

  • APR: Your loan’s annual percentage rate (APR) includes your interest rate, as well as any associated fees. Since it’s a more inclusive measure of your loan costs, you can use it to compare different loan offers on an apples-to-apples basis. Shopping for a low rate could save you a significant amount of money over the life of your loan.
  • Time to funding: If you’re searching for an emergency loan, chances are that you need cash fast. Some lenders can deposit your loan funds into your checking account the same day you apply, while others will take days or even weeks to process your application.
  • Repayment terms: The amount of time you have to repay your loan will have a big impact on your monthly payment. A longer term will have lower monthly payments, but you’ll pay more in interest over the life of the loan. A shorter term, however, will have higher monthly bills but your total cost to borrow will be lower. Think about how fast you want to pay back your loan, how much you can afford each month and what term options the lender offers. If you’re borrowing a small loan, some lenders may only give you a few months to pay it back.
  • Penalties and fees: Take a look at any fees associated with the loan, such as an origination fee or a late payment fee. You might need to request a higher amount than you actually need to take an origination fee into account.
  • Eligibility requirements: Finally, consider the criteria you’ll need to meet to borrow the loan. In most cases, your credit score has a big impact on both your ability to qualify and the rate you’ll qualify for.

Every lender sets its own rates and terms, so it’s worth comparing several offers so you can find the best loan for you.

See personal loan offers

How to get emergency loans

While the process of applying for an emergency loan will vary from lender to lender, you’ll follow the same general process when hunting for the right loan for your unique situation:

Check your credit score

Your credit score can play a big role in determining whether you’ll qualify for an emergency loan. Generally, you’ll want a credit score of at least 640, though every lender will have different requirements.

If you have a low credit score, you may want to work on improving your credit score. This can help you to not only qualify with more personal loan lenders, but it may help you access better interest rates, loan amounts and terms.

See if you prequalify

Prequalifying for a loan allows you to see the rates, amounts and terms you may be eligible for without any impact to your credit score. While many lenders offer this as an option, some lenders will require you to submit to a hard credit inquiry, which can cause your credit score to decrease by several points.

Prequalification allows consumers to easily compare multiple personal loan lenders to find the lowest rates and terms that align with their financial goals.

Submit an application

Once you choose a lender, next you’ll submit a formal application. As part of the application process, you’ll need to verify your income, your identity, your residency and other personal or financial details. For instance, you may have to provide the lender with pay stubs, W-2s, a government-issued form of ID and your mortgage/rental agreement.

During this process, the lender will conduct a hard credit inquiry, which can cause your credit score to temporarily go down by a few points.

Where to find emergency loans

You can get an emergency loan from credit unions, banks and online lenders. While traditional banks and credit unions may offer some unique perks, online lenders typically offer faster application and funding timelines.

You can also find emergency loans with payday lenders. While these lenders offer fast access to cash and typically don’t do credit checks, their lending practices are often predatory and the loans can come with APRs as high as 400%. Many borrowers struggle to repay their payday loans and get trapped in a cycle of debt. As a general rule, it’s best to avoid payday lenders.

Emergency loans for bad credit

Having a low credit score can make it challenging to qualify for an emergency loan, but there is hope. Poor-credit borrowers have options when it comes to accessing loan funds to cover an emergency expense.

  • Use a co-applicant. Applying for a loan with a cosigner or co-borrower can improve your chances of qualifying as it can decrease your risk as a borrower in the eyes of lenders. This is because two people are taking legal responsibility to repay the loan instead of just one. Keep in mind that if you are unable to repay your emergency loan, your co-applicant will have to take responsibility for the payments.
  • Offer collateral. A collateral loan, also known as a secured loan, can increase your chances of emergency loan approval because you’ll need to put a valuable piece of property on the line. If you’re unable to repay the loan, your lender can legally seize your collateral to recoup its financial losses. While it depends on the lender, vehicles and savings accounts are common forms of collateral.
  • Apply for a payday alternative loan. While traditional payday loans can be problematic, some credit unions offer payday alternative loans (PALs) as a safer option. PALs are unsecured and have a maximum APR of 28%. However, PALs often come in smaller loan amounts, so it may not cover all of your emergency expenses.

Alternatives to emergency loans

Before taking on debt, it’s worth weighing all your options. Here are a few alternatives to consider before applying for an emergency loan:

  Borrow from friends or family

If you’re in need of cash, it could be worth asking your loved ones for help. To protect your relationship, be sure that everyone involved is clear on the expectations around borrowing and paying back the money.

  Open a credit card with 0% intro APR

Some credit cards offer zero-interest introductory periods for new account holders. If you can repay your purchases in full before this promo period ends, you can avoid paying any interest. Note that these credit cards are usually reserved for borrowers with strong credit.

  Take out a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC)

Are you a homeowner? You might be able to borrow against your equity with a loan or line of credit. These loans tend to come with low interest rates, but you are using your home as collateral.

  Ask your employer for a paycheck advance

Some employers might be able to pay you ahead of schedule to help you through a tough time. If not, there are paycheck advance apps you may be able to utilize.

  Ask about hardship programs

If you’re struggling to pay off existing loans, your lenders might grant you temporary forbearance. With this pause in payments, you might free up enough cash to cover your emergency expenses.

  Medical repayment plans

If you’re dealing with medical bills, the hospital might be willing to set you up on a repayment plan, allowing you to pay off the expenses over time rather than all at once.

How to build an emergency fund

Once you’ve dealt with your emergency expense, plan ahead for the next rainy day. By building an emergency fund, you’ll be more prepared for surprise costs in the future.

Here are some strategies that will help:

  • Set a savings goal. Whether it’s $500 or $5,000, setting a goal will give you something to work toward. Set a deadline and calculate how much you’ll need to save each month to meet your goal on time.
  • Create a realistic budget. Determine how much money you need each month to cover your rent or mortgage, car payments and other recurring expenses. By taking a close look at your finances, you might find that you’re spending money on avoidable or frivolous expenses. Cut back where you can and stick to the budget you create to reach your savings goals.
  • Keep track of your spending. Once you have your budget in place, record your spending to make sure you’re staying on track. A budget-tracking app can take care of the legwork for you.
  • Set up automatic transfers into a savings account. Consider creating a separate savings account and automatically transferring a certain amount from each paycheck into savings. This way you can set it and forget it; your savings will grow without any additional effort on your part.
  • Put any windfalls you receive directly into your savings. If you receive cash as a birthday present, a bonus at work or another windfall, consider funneling it directly into your emergency fund to boost your savings.

Over time, you’ll see your emergency fund grow. When you get hit with an unexpected expense in the future, you might have the cash on hand to cover it so you don’t have to turn to a loan.

How we picked chose our picks for best emergency loans

We looked at 17 companies to determine the eight best lenders for emergency loans. By offering a detailed and objective account of each lender’s rates and terms, LendingTree’s goal is to provide you with all the information you need to make a financially sound decision specific to your situation.

Here’s the criteria we assessed to choose the best emergency loan lenders:

  • Funding timelines
  • Flexible loan use
  • Transparent rates and repayment terms
  • Wide range of loan amounts
  • Low fees

Frequently asked questions

Emergency loans are typically unsecured personal loans that offer fast access to cash. You can usually get the funds in your account a day or two after loan approval. Some lenders can even disburse the money the same day you apply.

 

Unsecured emergency loans don’t require you to put up any collateral. You don’t have to worry about losing your assets, such as your car or home, if you can’t pay back the loan. However, failing to repay it can tank your credit score.

 

Lenders will look at your credit and income to determine whether you qualify for a loan. Borrowers with good to excellent credit will qualify for the lowest rates. It’s a good idea to shop around and compare your options so you can find a loan with the most attractive terms.

We recommend unsecured personal loans to cover your emergency expenses, but there are other types of emergency loans, too. Here are the various types of emergency loans, so you understand your options:

 

  • Personal loans: These are installment loans that you pay off over a set period of time. Strong-credit borrowers might be able to get low interest rates in the single digits. Unsecured personal loans are the most common, but some lenders might also offer secured personal loans that are backed by a personal asset as collateral.
  • Payday loans: These are usually small-amount loans that come with a high interest rate. In fact, the rate can be 400% or higher. You can access cash quickly with a payday loan, but you’ll need to pay it back quickly as well. We recommend avoiding payday loans because they can be extremely expensive and can trap borrowers in a cycle of debt.
  • Title loans: These are a type of secured loan where the lender takes the title to your car until you pay back your loan. If you are unable to repay the loan, the lender can legally seize your car. We also recommend avoiding title loans if you can, since they tend to come with high interest rates and place your vehicle at risk of seizure.
  • Pawn shop loans: If you have valuable collateral to offer, you might consider a pawn shop loan. Like a title loan, pawn shop loans can be expensive, and you risk losing something of value.
  • Credit card advances: You might be able to get a cash advance from your credit card if you have open credit. Credit card cash advances usually have much higher interest rates than your usual card APR, and you’ll probably have to pay cash advance fees as well.

Funding timelines entirely depend on the lender you choose.

Some lenders deposit money in your account the same day you apply. Others can take one to two days to process your application, while slower institutions can take a few weeks to process everything.

 

When comparing lenders, find out how long it will take to get your loan funds.

Applying for any loan can slightly ding your credit, and emergency loans are no exception. However, some lenders let you prequalify online with no impact on your score, allowing you to shop around before committing to a loan. Making on-time payments can improve your credit score, while late payments will damage it.