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Best Short-Term Loan Lenders for 2022
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A short-term loan can come with a repayment period of just a few years — or even less time. By taking on a loan with shorter term limits, your monthly payments may be higher but your APR may be lower, and you may end up paying less overall than you would with a longer-term loan.
To help you shop for loan options, below are 10 short-term lenders and marketplaces that offer a minimum repayment period of 12 to 36 months.
10 short-term personal loans
|Best for||Term length||APR*||Borrowing limit|
|Avant||Fast funding||24 to 60 months||9.95%-35.99%||$2,000 to $35,000|
|Best Egg||Borrowers with good credit||36 or 60 months||5.99%-35.99%||$2,000 to $50,000|
|LendingClub||Small loans||36 or 60 months||7.04%-35.89%||$1,000 to $40,000|
|LendingPoint||Borrowers with poor credit||24 to 60 months||9.99%-35.99%||$2,000 to $36,500|
|Marcus by Goldman Sachs®||Repayment perks||36 to 72 months||6.99%-19.99%||$3,500 to $40,000|
|OneMain Financial||Debt consolidation||24 to 60 months||18.00%-35.99%||$1,500 to $20,000|
|PenFed Credit Union||Building credit||12 to 60 months||5.49%-17.99%||$600 to $50,000|
|Prosper||Co-borrowering||36 or 60 months||7.95%-35.99%||$2,000 to $40,000|
|Upgrade||Secured loans||36 or 60 months||5.94%-35.97%||$1,000 to $50,000|
|Upstart||Borrowers with fair credit||36 or 60 months||4.37%-35.99%||$1,000 to $50,000|
*May include an auto-debit discount
1. Avant: Best for fast funding
- Term length: 24 to 60 months
- APR: 9.95%–35.99%
- Borrowing limit: $2,000 to $35,000
Avant has a quick funding turnaround time of just one business day once you’re approved for a short-term loan. Most of Avant’s borrowers have credit scores between 600 and 700, so even those with less-than-perfect scores may be eligible for a loan with this lender.
Unfortunately, on top of charging an origination fee of Up to 4.75%, Avant’s eligibility requirements aren’t clearly laid out. In addition, this lender doesn’t give borrowers the option to apply with a co-borrower.
On the plus side, Avant doesn’t charge a prepayment fee, and allows you to see if you prequalify for a loan.
2. Best Egg: Best for borrowers with good credit
- Term length: 36 or 60 months
- APR: 5.99%–35.99%
- Borrowing limit: $2,000 to $50,000
Best Egg is an online lender that’s best for borrowers with good credit, given that the required minimum credit score for a personal loan is 700.
While Best Egg does charge customers an origination fee of 0.99% - 5.99%, borrowers can receive their money from this lender quickly. Best Egg claims that about half of its customers receive their funds the day after they’re verified, though it can take anywhere from one to three business days.
Best Egg allows borrowers to check their potential rates, terms and approved amounts via a soft-credit check, so they can compare their offerings with other lenders.
3. LendingClub: Best for small loans
- Term length: 36 or 60 months
- APR: 7.04%–35.89%
- Borrowing limit: $1,000 to $40,000
LendingClub is an online lender through which you could access a short-term installment loan, depending on your eligibility. After initial approval, investors who use the platform will decide whether to fund your loan request. The majority of loan applicants are approved within 24 hours and receive their requested loan amount within two days, according to the platform.
LendingClub does apply a one-time origination fee of 3.00% - 6.00% of the total loan amount, with the rate varying depending on the strength of your credit score; however, there are no fees for making additional payments or paying your loan off early. Still, borrowers located in the state of Iowa or U.S. territories won’t be able to use LendingClub.
4. LendingPoint: Best for borrowers with poor credit
- Term length: 24 to 60 months
- APR: 9.99%–35.99%
- Borrowing limit: $2,000 to $36,500
LendingPoint works with bad credit borrowers and has a minimum credit score requirement of 585. However, it’s mandated that you earn a minimum of $20,000 in annual income.
LendingPoint offers fast loans: You can be approved for and finalize your loan within a few minutes, and you may receive your funds as soon as the next day. Loans are available in the District of Columbia and all states, except for Nevada and West Virginia — plus, depending on where you live, there may be an origination fee of 0.00% - 7.00% of the loan amount. There’s no penalty for prepaying the loan back, which is a bonus since interest rates on its loans run high. However, with much shorter repayment windows than many other personal loan lenders grant, early repayment may not be feasible for many anyway.
5. Marcus by Goldman Sachs®: Best for repayment perks
- Term length: 36 to 72 months
- APR: 6.99%–19.99%
- Borrowing limit: $3,500 to $40,000
Marcus by Goldman Sachs offers a lot of unique perks to its borrowers that other personal loan lending companies don’t. It doesn’t charge origination fees, late fees, prepayment fees or processing fees, and also allows borrowers to defer a monthly payment for one month after 12 consecutive on-time payments are made, without accruing additional interest or fees.
After you’re approved for a loan, the funds could be in your bank account within one to four days. To apply, you’ll need to be at least 18 years of age; however, if you live in Alabama, you’ll need to be at least 19, while Mississippi and Puerto Rico residents are required to be 21 or older.
6. OneMain Financial: Best for debt consolidation
- Term length: 24 to 60 months
- APR: 18.00%–35.99%
- Borrowing limit: $1,500 to $20,000
Unlike other loan providers mentioned, OneMain Financial offers both unsecured and secured personal loan options. For good-credit borrowers, OneMain Financial may not be a competitive option for an unsecured loan; its minimum APR is a high 35.99%. However, OneMain Financial’s secured loan could be a great alternative for those with bad credit. With this type of loan, you’ll back your loan with collateral, such as a car — fail to repay your debt, however, and you risk the lender seizing your collateral. Because lenders view this type of loan as less risky, you may be able to access more competitive terms, if you can’t or just don’t want to obtain an unsecured loan.
With OneMain Financial, borrowers can sign their loan agreement and receive funds as soon as the next business day, depending on how you choose to receive the funds. This will require an in-person visit to one of the company’s branches to verify personal information. But because OneMain Financial only operates its around-1,400 branches in 44 states and the District of Columbia, those residing in Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont will have to find another lender. Your state of residence may also play a part in the loan amount you can borrow, as well as determining how large the loan origination fee will be and whether it will be a flat amount.
7. PenFed Credit Union: Best for building credit
- Term length: 12 to 60 months
- APR: 5.49%–17.99%
- Borrowing limit: $600 to $50,000
Short-term loans from PenFed Credit Union come with a lot of flexibility — it offers borrowers repayment terms with time spans ranging from 12 to 60 months. This lender also allows you to skip out on origination fees (which some lenders charge), as well as any prepayment penalties.
PenFed allows borrowers to prequalify, and if approved, they can expect to receive funds within one to two business days. Those struggling to meet PenFed’s credit score requirements can apply with a co-borrower to increase their chances of getting approved.
While you don’t have to be a member of the PenFed Credit Union to apply for a loan, you will need to join if you want to receive the funds. Luckily, the process for joining is straightforward:
- You’ll need to provide PenFed with your basic information including your full name, address, phone number and email.
- Next, you’ll need to open a savings account with PenFed and deposit at least $5 into the account.
- Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll officially be a member of the PenFed Credit Union and will be eligible to receive your funds.
8. Prosper: Best for co-borrowing
- Term length: 36 or 60 months
- APR: 7.95%–35.99%
- Borrowing limit: $2,000 to $40,000
If you don’t quite have the credit score to qualify for a personal loan on your own, Prosper offers the option to apply with a co-borrower. Because a co-borrower takes equal responsibility for a personal loan, this can lower your risk level as a borrower in the eyes of lenders.
However, unlike many of the companies on this list, Prosper is a peer-to-peer lending marketplace. Instead of applying for and receiving funds from a traditional lender, you’ll apply with Prosper and once you’re approved, your request is listed for investors, who will choose whether to fund your loan.
Prosper charges an origination fee of 2.41% - 5.00%, but may fund your loan within one business day.
9. Upgrade: Best for secured loans
- Term length: 36 or 60 months
- APR: 5.94%–35.97%
- Borrowing limit: $1,000 to $50,000
While Upgrade typically extends unsecured personal loans, they can be a great option for short-term secured loans. Like OneMain Financial, it offers secured personal loans backed by a vehicle if an applicant is unlikely to qualify without collateral. It charges no prepayment fees if you wish to pay off the debt ahead of schedule, but all loans will come with origination fees totaling between 2.90% - 8.00% of the total borrowed amount.
Approval for a loan can be obtained quickly and, once the agreements are finalized, the loan funds can be sent within a day; within four business days of approval, you should have the requested money sent directly to you.
10. Upstart: Best for borrowers with fair credit
- Term length: 36 or 60 months
- APR: 4.37%–35.99%
- Borrowing limit: $1,000 to $50,000
Instead of using traditional FICO score-based models, Upstart uses artificial intelligence to approve borrowers. According to Upstart, this means that it can offer higher approval rates for borrowers.
Unfortunately, Upstart charges origination fees (0.00% - 8.00%), late payment fees (5% of past due amount or $15, whichever is greater) and failed payment fees ($15).
This online lender offers personal loans of up to $50,000 and has a low minimum credit score (600) so borrowers who need to work on their credit may be approved. If you want a smaller loan, the minimum amount you can borrow varies depending on your state of residence.
Borrowers typically receive their loans within the next business day after being accepted. Notably, though, Upstart personal loans aren’t available in Iowa or West Virginia.
What is a short-term loan? The basics
A short-term loan is a type of loan that’s repaid within a small window of time. This can range anywhere from 12 to 36 months, though minimum loan terms can be even shorter depending on the lender.
Typically, the shorter the loan term, the less you have to pay in the long run. Loans with longer terms usually have higher interest rates, while loans with shorter ones commonly have lower interest rates. However, with short-term loans, you’ll have higher monthly payments.
How to compare short-term loans
While researching lenders for a short-term loan, there are several details you’ll want to pay attention to as you compare offers.
- Loan terms: If you’re looking for short-term lenders, you’ll want to pay particular attention to the repayment terms they offer. Decide ahead of time how quickly you’d like to repay the loan and look at which lenders offer terms that fit your timeline. The shorter your loan term, the less you’ll end up paying over time.
- APR: The APR a lender offers you may determine how much you end up paying throughout the life of the loan. The higher your credit score, the more likely that you’ll be eligible for a lender’s lowest APR.
- Eligibility requirements: Before applying for a loan, you’ll want to check with the lender as to what kind of eligibility requirements they have. Many lenders have minimum credit score criteria as well as minimum income requirements you’ll have to meet. Some also have criteria around a borrower’s debt-to-income ratio and how they use the loan.
- Fees and penalties: Many lenders charge borrowers origination fees, which are taken out of the total amount of the loan. Other fees to look out for include late fees, prepayment penalties and administrative fees. However, some lenders avoid all fees, so be sure to read all the details of a loan offer.
- Time until funding: The amount of time it takes for a lender to deposit the loan funds into your account varies from lender to lender. If you’re in a hurry to receive your loan, you’ll want to pay attention to how long the lender says it’ll take for approval, as well as how long it’ll be before you receive your funds.
How to qualify for a short-term loan if you have bad credit
Having a bad credit score can get in the way of your ability to get approved for a loan. Some lenders are still willing to provide bad credit loans, but keep in mind that you may not receive the lowest interest rates.
If you’re struggling with how to improve your credit score, you can try some of the following tactics:
Pay your bills on time. Your payment history makes up 35% of your credit score, so if you miss or default on payments, it can have a big impact. To keep your credit score up, stay on top of paying all of your bills on time.
Cut down on your current debt. Credit utilization makes up 30% of your credit score — and if you’re using more than 30% of your available credit, creditors can interpret that negatively. For example, if you have a credit card with a $3,000 limit, you’ll want to try to keep the total amount you use under $900 to keep your credit utilization rate down.
Check your credit report. Reviewing your credit history can go a long way toward improving your credit score should you find any discrepancies in your credit report. If you find mistakes or potential cases of fraud on your report, you can dispute them with the credit bureau(s) reporting that information (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). You can check your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com.
Avoiding predatory short-term lenders
Before you start your search for a short-term loan, it’s important to be aware of predatory lending practices. Unfortunately, there are predatory lenders out there that may try to take advantage of borrowers in desperate situations.
Some read flags you may need to look out for are:
Lenders that don’t do credit checks
Enormous interest rates
Lenders requiring direct access to your checking or savings account
Lots of negative feedback on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s complaint database
These are all potential signs that you may be dealing with a predatory lender. Taking on a predatory loan, like a payday loan, can trap borrowers in a cycle of debt and leave them in a worse financial position than before.
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Other types of short-term loans
|What it is||Pros||Cons|
|Paycheck advance||Advance on your next paycheck from your employer or a financial app|| |
|Credit card cash advance||Borrowing from your existing credit card account|| |
|Pawnshop loan||A loan that relies on a valuable item as collateral|| |
|Payday loan||Advance on your next paycheck from a lender|| |
|Car title loan||A loan that relies on using your vehicle title as collateral|| |
|Traditional loan||A loan from a traditional lending institute, like a bank|| |
Think of a paycheck advance as borrowing from your future self. For this type of loan, your employer agrees to front you the needed money based on work you’ve already completed, which would normally be paid out in two weeks’ or a month’s time. This short-term loan typically won’t cost you any interest, but it does depend on your employer being willing to do this.
If your employer doesn’t offer salary advances, there are a variety of mobile paycheck advance apps that may allow you to borrow funds without a credit check. When you do receive your paycheck, the amount prepaid to you is deducted from your account with no interest or fees charged.
However, this type of app will limit the amount you can borrow each pay period to small sums, at least in the beginning. Earnin, for example, limits you to just $100 when you first start using it, though you may have the opportunity to increase these short-term loan paycheck advances to $500 over time.
Credit card cash advance
You can tap your existing credit card account for cash with an advance. This kind of short-term loan requires no credit check, as you’ve already been approved for the card and a certain maximum borrowing amount. Funds can be withdrawn from an ATM using your credit card or through a convenience check sent by the credit card company. How much you can access generally depends on your credit limit, though with some lenders, there may even be a separate cash credit limit, which could be a fraction of your actual credit limit.
Swiping your card for cash rather than typical purchases comes with added costs: Not only will you likely pay a fee for the privilege, but you may be charged a separate, higher interest rate as well. The upfront fee can be either a fixed cost or a percentage of the total cash advance.
The average credit card charges a fee of 3% to 5% of the loan. This fee is added to the amount you wish to borrow, and that new total will incur interest at a higher rate than what you’d pay for normal purchases. Expect an APR around 17% to 29% for a cash advance short-term loan, and for interest to begin accruing immediately. Low-interest credit cards may help you save money on interest and fees.
High-value items, like jewelry or electronics, can be used to secure a short-term loan from a pawnshop. Rather than selling your valuable personal item, you use it to back the loan; however, this means that if you fail to repay on time, the shop becomes its new owner.
Because pawnshops will be looking to resell the item if you fail to repay, they won’t offer a loan matching its full value, but only 25% to 60% of what it’s worth. You may need to offer up items that are far more precious than anticipated to secure enough cash, and you likely won’t be walking away with a $1,000-plus loan.
According to the National Pawnbrokers Association, the average pawnshop loan is only for $150, with repayment due in 30 days. Most pawnshops won’t charge an interest rate; rather, they’ll charge different fees for the privilege of borrowing money. These fees could be equal to an APR of more than 200%. A small silver lining is that this short-term loan has no credit check to qualify and, should you default, your credit score won’t be impacted.
Payday loans are short-term loans that act as a kind of advance on your future paycheck. They are easy to qualify for — most payday loan lenders simply require proof of income and a bank account — and this kind of short-term loan doesn’t require a credit check. However, that ease of approval comes with hefty fees and tight repayment deadlines that can make paying off the debt tricky.
Short-term payday loans carry astronomical interest rates that can equate to around 400% for a two-week loan, as lenders generally charge a flat fee of between $10 and $30 for every $100 borrowed, depending on your state of residence and its laws. In addition, lenders may charge late fees or tack on additional fees, and you could also have to pay a fee when accessing the loan funds through a prepaid debit card, for things like checking your balance or monthly service.
For all this, you’ll typically only be able to access small amounts of cash: $500 is a common limit (though the max short-term loan amount varies by state), and it must be repaid in a single payment, usually within two to four weeks.
Car title loan
Like with a pawnshop short-term loan, approval for a car title loan hinges on offering something valuable as collateral. In this case, it’s the title to a car, truck or motorcycle. Putting such a big asset on the line grants access to larger loan balances than any other short-term loan option; most will range from $100 to $5,500, but balances can reach as high as $50,000.
Because lenders can repossess the vehicle should you default, this kind of short-term loan typically doesn’t have a credit check or the strict approval requirements of a personal loan. However, you’ll risk losing your vehicle if you don’t make payments.
Title loans come with high fees and APRs of about 300%. Plus, the turnaround time for repaying your outstanding short-term loan is tight, typically 30 days or less.
Alternative short-term lenders can be an effective way for borrowers to avoid long wait times and lengthy application processes, but getting a loan from a traditional lender has its benefits as well.
For instance, if you have excellent credit, you may be able to secure a lower rate with a traditional lender rather than using an alternative lender. This is because traditional lenders typically have more stringent approval criteria than alternative lenders, so they tend to work with borrowers with better credit. This allows them to afford lower interest rates. On the other hand, alternative lenders are sometimes more willing to work with borrowers whose credit could use some improvement, so their interest rates tend to be a bit higher.
Traditional lenders, like banks, are heavily regulated by the federal government, so you may find these types of lenders to be a bit more trustworthy. On the other hand, because they’re so regulated, the application process takes much longer than with alternative lenders.
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. For this list, we prioritized choosing lenders that offer minimum loan terms of 12 to 36 months.
Short-term lenders were chosen based on the following criteria:
- Minimum loan terms of 12 to 36 months
- Transparent rates and repayment terms
- Flexible loan amounts
- Low fees
Short-term lenders: FAQ
How do I get a short-term loan?
You can get a short-term loan by filling out an application with a bank, credit union or online lender. Each lender will have its own set of criteria that you’ll need to meet, such as a minimum credit score or income. Once you complete the application, you may have to verify your information with the lender and submit to a hard credit check.
Do short-term loans build credit?
Short-term loans can build credit as long as your lender reports your payments to the credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). You’ll want to do research on the lenders you’re interested in to make sure that they report to the credit bureaus and find out which one(s) they report to.
What is the shortest term for a personal loan?
The length of a personal loan term depends on the type of lender or loan you choose. For example, payday loans tend to have terms that only extend a few weeks, while more traditional lenders may have terms that extend for several months.