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Best emergency loans January 2022

What is an emergency loan?

An emergency loan is a personal loan that you use to pay a medical bill, get a car repaired, or cover some other urgent expense. These loans can be secured or unsecured – unsecured loans are more widely available – and can come from an online lender, a credit union, or a bank.

Check the lender’s requirements to see if you are meeting them. Lenders generally have a minimum and maximum credit score debt to income ratio requirements. Some offer co-signed or joint loans, which may be easier to qualify for.

Look for a lender who can fund your loan quickly (the fastest lenders can usually approve you on the day you apply and fund the loan the next day) and a lender who offers the loan amount you are looking for.

Why we chose these lenders

These lenders offer small personal loans and fund them quickly. Their credit score requirements vary, but borrowers with a fair or bad credit score (below 690 FICO) may be eligible.


Reached is an online lending platform that takes into account alternative data on an application, including where you live and attended school, in addition to credit and income information. The company says it finances 99% of loans within one business day of approval.

Best egg

Best egg says its application only takes a few minutes, and loans are funded within a business day of approval in some cases. This lender provides free access to your credit score, so you can see how on-time payments benefit your score over time.


Main offers personal loans to borrowers with low credit scores, but they come with high APRs and origination fees. The lender says that, on average, loan applications take a day to be approved. ACH Transfer Funded Loans take approximately one to two days after the loan closing date.

Universal Credit

Universal CreditThe low minimum credit score makes it a good choice for borrowers with good or bad credit. It may take a few days for the lender to approve a loan application, but if you can wait, you’ll have access to credit building tools like credit monitoring and a credit score simulator.


Before has a low minimum credit score requirement and says it can fund a loan one business day after approval. Its annual percentage rate includes an administrative fee of up to 4.75%. The company reports payments to the three major credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion – which can help you build credit.

Loan point

Loan point lends to borrowers with low credit scores, but it only reports to two credit bureaus. The company says approval takes a few minutes and funds are usually available the next day.


Opportune Offers small installment loans to borrowers with little or no credit history at high rates compared to other bad credit lenders. Timely can finance loans in one to three days.


SeedFi Loans combine personal and credit loans by allowing the borrower to immediately use some of the money and put the rest in a savings account. The borrower has access to the savings account once the loan has been repaid. These loans are best for someone who wants to cover an urgent expense now and build up an emergency fund for the next time.

How to choose an emergency loan

Compare the total cost: Speed ​​may be your priority, but the total cost of the loan will have a lasting effect on your finances, so look for the cheapest loan – the one with the lowest annual percentage rate.

Most online lenders offer prequalification, which allows you to preview your rate and term without affecting your credit score.

Check the monthly payments: Evaluate the impact of the monthly loan payments on your budget to determine if you can comfortably pay it off on time.

Use a personal loan calculator to see how much you can borrow and what rate and term you will need to make it affordable.

Consider the speed of funding: If you are in dire need of funds, consider a lender who offers quick financing. Although some lenders offer next day financing, most loans can be funded within a week of your application.

Online lenders often disclose the timeline in an FAQ or blog section of their websites, so you’ll know what to expect before you apply.

Gather the required documents – including W-2s, pay stubs, and bank statements – before you apply for a loan, and respond to the lender’s follow-up questions promptly to move the application process forward.

How to get an emergency loan with bad credit

A bad credit score (less than 630 FICO) doesn’t automatically prevent you from getting a loan, but your rating is a factor that lenders weigh the most when applying for a loan.

Add a co-signer or a co-borrower

Adding a co-signer or co-borrower can increase your chances of qualifying or getting a good rate. A co-borrower has equal access to funds, unlike a co-signer. If you cannot repay the loan, the co-signer or co-borrower is responsible for the loan.

Add warranty

Some lenders offer secured personal loans, which allows borrowers to add collateral to the loan and can help bad credit borrowers qualify. If you don’t make any payments, the lender can take the collateral.

Turn to a credit union

Try your bank

If you are a customer of Bank of America or US Bank, you may be able to get one of their low amount loans. Bank of America Balance Assistance offers up to $ 500 for a flat fee of $ 5. A simple loan from the US bank can be up to $ 1,000, and the loan has a charge of $ 6 for every $ 100 borrowed. Both are repaid in three monthly installments.

Emergency loan alternatives

Cheaper alternatives borrowing is not always quick or convenient, and sometimes requires asking for help. But NerdWallet strongly recommends exhausting alternatives first, even in an emergency. Here are some possible alternatives to an emergency loan.

Emergency loans to avoid

Payday loans

Payday loans are short term, high cost loans. Even in an emergency, they are a risky option. Payday lenders charge a fee of up to an APR of 400%, do not check your credit score, and may not confirm your ability to repay the loan.

But they ask for access to your bank account or a blank check to withdraw the money you owe on your next payday. Borrowers who are not ready to repay the loan by then often borrow again, which sends them into a cycle of debt.

Car title loans

With an auto title loan, a lender assesses the value of your vehicle and offers to lend you a percentage of that amount. If you agree, the lender retains title to the car and you receive your loan.

The lender typically does not review your ability to repay the loan and may charge 200-300% APR. These loans are risky because the lender holds the title to your car. If you can’t pay, he’ll take your car.


Pawn shops can have lower APRs than payday and auto title loans, but the risk is similar to auto title loans: rates above 100% and the possibility of losing something you value.

With a pawnshop, you hand over something of value to a pawnshop, they assess its value, and give you a loan based on that assessment. You have to pay it back, with interest, or they’ll keep your item.

If you manage to repay the loan but it takes up too much space in your bank account, you could end up borrowing from the pawnshop again.

Installment Loans Without Credit Check

Beware of online lenders who position themselves as inexpensive alternatives to payday loans but don’t check your credit. Some installment loans without credit check share similarities with payday loans and auto loans, including exorbitant interest rates and additional fees that make the loan less affordable than it looks.

Capital goods fund is a no credit check lender that offers lower rates, but loans are only available in a handful of states.

Tips for building an emergency fund

Once your emergency is over, build a emergency fund to avoid taking out high cost loans in the future.

Here are some tips for getting started with an emergency fund:

  • Set a savings goal. Most financial experts recommend saving between three and six months in living expenses. Starting with a goal of saving at least $ 500 can usually cover small emergency expenses like minor car repairs.

  • Automate savings. Automatically transfer a small amount – maybe $ 10 or $ 20 to start – to a separate savings account. That way it’s out of sight, out of mind, but there when you need it.

  • Find an app to help you save. Some applications will round your spending account transactions to the nearest dollar and deposit the change in a savings account. It’s like a spare pot on your phone.

  • Put away the deals. The last thing you want to do with birthday money is save it, but one way to start your emergency savings is to set aside money you haven’t talked about yet, such as small work bonuses, gifts and tax refunds.