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Applying for a personal loan can be a lengthy process, and borrowers can’t always wait for cash in emergencies. Luckily, several lenders offer fast funding — some disbursing funds as soon as the same business day.

To determine the best emergency loans of 2024, we compared personal loan lenders that offer a fully online experience and funding within two days or less. We also considered other factors like minimum credit requirements, interest rates and customer service experience.

Best personal loans for emergencies

Why trust our personal loan experts

Our team of experts evaluated hundreds of personal loan products and analyzed thousands of data points to help you find the best fit for your situation. We use a data-driven methodology to determine each rating. Advertisers do not influence our editorial content. You can read more about our methodology below.

  • 29 personal loan lenders reviewed.
  • 348 data points analyzed.
  • 6-stage fact-checking process.

Compare the best emergency loans

 INTEREST RATESLOAN AMOUNTSTIME TO FUND
LightStream
6.99% to 25.99%
$5,000 to $100,000
As soon as the same day after approval
LendingClub
8.98% to 35.99%
$1,000 to $40,000
As soon as 24 hours after approval
Upgrade
8.49% to 35.99%
$1,000 to $50,000
Within 1 business day after approval
Avant
9.95% to 35.99%
$2,000 to $35,000
As soon as the next business day after approval
Prosper
8.99% to 35.99%
$2,000 to $50,000
Within 1 business day after approval
Upstart
7.8% to 35.99%
$1,000 to $50,000
As soon as the next business day after approval
LendingPoint
7.99% to 35.99%
$2,000 to $36,500
As soon as the next business day after approval
Rocket Loans
9.116% to 29.99%
$2,000 to $45,000
As soon as the same day after approval

All rates include autopay discounts where noted by the lender and are accurate as of June 11, 2024.

Methodology

Our expert writers and editors have reviewed and researched multiple lenders to help you find the best emergency loan. Out of all the lenders considered, the eight that made our list excelled in areas across the following categories (with weightings): loan cost (10%), loan details (15%), eligibility and accessibility (25%), customer experience (15%) and application process (35%).

Within each major category, we considered several characteristics, including APR ranges, time to fund, online application availability, maximum loan amounts and terms, minimum credit score requirements and co-signer acceptance. We also evaluated each provider’s customer support options and customer reviews.

Why some lenders didn’t make the cut

Of the personal loan lenders that we reviewed, only a fraction made the cut. The lenders that didn’t have high enough scores to be included, received lower ratings due to having higher interest rates, longer funding time, limited customer service options and bad customer reviews as well as not allowing co-signers.

What are emergency loans used for?

Emergency loans are a type of personal loan designed to provide immediate funding during times of financial need. Here are some common ways that emergency loans can be used:

  • Home repairs, such as plumbing, heating, roofing and other structural damage.
  • Car repairs, such as replacing tires or fixing an engine problem.
  • Healthcare bills or medical emergencies.
  • Unexpected travel expenses, such as for a family member’s illness.
  • Late rent payments or overdue utility bills.
  • Debt consolidation.
  • Funeral costs.

Tip: Use our personal loan calculator to see how much an emergency loan could cost with different interest rates and repayment terms.

How does an emergency loan work?

An emergency loan works similarly to other types of personal loans. Many lenders provide an entirely online application process, while others might require a phone call or in-person visit to a local branch. 

The interest rate and repayment terms on emergency loans are usually determined by your credit score and financial history — in general, the higher your credit score, the better your rate will be. Most emergency loans are also unsecured, meaning collateral isn’t required. 

One key aspect distinguishing emergency loans from other financial products is the fast funding speed. If you’ve been approved, emergency loan funds can be disbursed as soon as the same or next business day, depending on the lender. This can make emergency loans a suitable solution for urgent financial needs.

After receiving your funds, you’ll repay the loan in monthly installments over a set period of time — typically one to seven years, depending on the lender. 

Only need to borrow a small amount? Compare the best small personal loans.

What loans can you get the same day?

Many loans take several days to receive funds, but some lenders offer same-day or next-day funding. Fast funding speeds are more common with online lenders than with traditional banks and credit unions. 

That said, the time it takes to receive loan funds can ultimately depend on several factors, including how long it takes to apply for a personal loan and how long it takes the borrower’s bank to process the deposit. 

How to apply for an emergency loan

An emergency loan can be a quick solution when other savings or financial resources aren’t readily available. If you’re ready to apply, follow these steps:

  1. Check your credit. Your credit is a major factor in whether a lender will approve your application as well as what interest rate you qualify for. Before you apply, check your credit reports and credit score to see where you stand. You can use a site like AnnualCreditReport.com to review your credit reports for free. To see your credit score, use an online credit-monitoring service; you might also have access to your score through your bank or credit card company.
  2. Research lenders. Be sure to shop around and compare your options with as many lenders as possible to find the right emergency loan for your needs. Consider interest rates, fees, repayment terms, and eligibility requirements. Many lenders let you get preapproved with only a soft credit check that won’t impact your credit score — this will give you an idea of the rates and terms you could qualify for.
  3. Pick a loan option and apply. After you’ve done your research, choose the loan option that works best for you. You’ll then need to fill out a full application. Many lenders allow you to apply for emergency loans online, though some might require a visit with a loan officer at a local branch. Also be prepared to submit required documentation, such as proof of income and identification.
  4. Get your funds. If you’re approved, the lender will have you sign for the loan so the funds can be disbursed. Depending on the lender, you might receive your funds as soon as the same or next business day after approval.

Alternatives to an emergency loan

While personal loans are a popular way to get quick access to funds, they don’t suit everyone’s financial situation. Here are some alternatives to consider if a personal loan doesn’t seem right for you:

Credit card

How fast to get funds: As soon as the same day after approval (seven to 10 business days if the card issuer requires you to wait for your physical card to arrive)

Unlike a personal loan that gives you access to a one-time lump sum, a credit card is a revolving credit line that you can repeatedly draw on and pay off. This can be helpful if you have recurring expenses or don’t know exactly how much you need to borrow. However, credit cards typically come with higher interest rates than personal loans.

Tip: Some credit cards also come with introductory 0% APR periods, which means you could avoid paying interest. Keep in mind that you could get stuck with interest charges if you can’t repay your balance before this period ends, though.

Home equity loan

How fast to get funds: Typically two to six weeks

If you own a home, tapping into your equity could be a way to cover large expenses. Like a personal loan, a home equity loan provides a lump sum to use how you wish. Home equity loans also tend to have lower rates than personal loans and credit cards — this is because this type of loan is secured by your home, which lowers the risk for the lender.

Note that home equity loans generally take longer to close than personal loans and credit cards, so they’re better suited for future expenses. They also come with closing costs, and you could lose your home if you can’t make your payments.

HELOC 

How fast to get funds: Typically two to six weeks

Another way to access home equity is through a home equity line of credit (HELOC). Similar to a credit card, a HELOC is a revolving credit line that allows for repeat borrowing. This could make it a particularly good option if you need to borrow money over time rather than receiving a lump sum. HELOCs also generally have lower rates than both personal loans and credit cards.

Just keep in mind that like with a home equity loan, a HELOC will come with closing costs as well as the risk of the lender foreclosing on your home if you fail to make your payments.

401(k) loan

How fast to get funds: One to five days for an online application or up to several weeks for a manual application

Borrowing against your retirement savings through a 401(k) loan might be a viable option if you’re facing financial difficulty. Unlike the other options here, this type of loan doesn’t impact your credit, which could be appealing if you’ve had a hard time qualifying for other kinds of emergency loans. Interest rates on 401(k) loans are also typically lower compared to those of other financing options.

However, proceed with caution: You typically must repay the funds within five years, and you could face penalties for early withdrawal of retirement funds. Plus, you’re effectively reducing your retirement savings, and you could miss out on the growth that those funds could have seen if you hadn’t withdrawn them.

Loan from family or friends 

How fast to get funds: As soon as the same day

If you have a strong relationship with someone who can help you out, they could be a source of financial assistance if you’re dealing with an emergency. 

However, this kind of loan can also strain your relationship if you fail to keep up your end of the agreement. Because of this, it’s a good idea to draw up a loan agreement that includes how much you’re borrowing, the interest rate (if applicable) and the repayment terms. Most importantly, include what you’ll do if you can’t make a payment. 

Be careful! If you need fast access to cash, you might consider a short-term loan like a payday loan, pawn shop loan or car title loan. But while these sorts of loans can be easy to get, they also tend to come with astronomically high rates and fees, and they’re often predatory in nature. Pawn shop loans and car title loans also come with the risk of losing your property if you can’t pay.

Ultimately, these loans should only be a last resort. It’s usually better to consider an emergency personal loan instead. Several traditional personal loan lenders also have less stringent requirements that can make it easier to get approved. For example, Upstart accepts credit scores as low as 300 and also works with borrowers who don’t have enough credit history to generate a credit score.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Taking out a loan can be time-consuming, but there are a few options to consider if you need emergency money quickly. First, an online personal loan may fit the bill if the lender offers fast approval times and same- or next-day funding. These loans generally have lower interest rates than other forms of financing, such as payday loans or cash advances. Still, they may require more paperwork and time for approval than some options.

If you have poor credit and can’t qualify for a loan, consider borrowing from friends and family. This is often the quickest way to access funds as long as you know someone who can help. You might also be eligible for an advance on your paycheck from your employer if it allows you access to some of your earned wages before your next check comes in.

The easiest loan to get approved for may depend on your financial situation and credit history. Generally, online personal loans from lenders with easy application processes may be easier to qualify for than traditional bank loans as long as you meet the lender’s eligibility requirements.

Some payday loans, pawn shop loans and car title loans also come with quick funding options and have lower qualification standards than personal loan eligibility requirements. However, these loans come with extremely high interest rates and other fees that are often considered predatory. These costs, combined with abbreviated repayment terms, make payday loans difficult to repay and can lead to a cycle of debt.

It’s generally easiest to get an emergency loan from a payday lender because it doesn’t require a credit check. But because of the enormous costs that are often involved, it’s usually best to go with a personal loan lender that offers fast funding. 

In general, online personal loan lenders offer the fastest funding and have the least stringent eligibility requirements compared to traditional banks and credit unions.

The required credit score for an emergency loan can significantly vary depending on the lender. Traditional banks often require a good to excellent credit score, typically around 670 or higher on the FICO scale. 

However, some online lenders and credit unions might approve emergency loans for borrowers with poor or fair credit. For example, Upgrade permits scores as low as 580, while Upstart works with borrowers who have thin credit profiles. However, keep in mind that bad credit loans typically come with higher rates compared to good credit loans.

If you’re struggling to get approved on your own, you might consider applying with a co-signer or joint applicant to increase your chances. Note that some lenders only permit individual applications, so be sure to check before applying. Also keep in mind that while a co-signer will be liable for repayment if you miss a payment, a joint borrower will be equally responsible from the start of the loan.

Blueprint is an independent publisher and comparison service, not an investment advisor. The information provided is for educational purposes only and we encourage you to seek personalized advice from qualified professionals regarding specific financial decisions. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Blueprint has an advertiser disclosure policy. The opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Blueprint editorial staff alone. Blueprint adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. The information is accurate as of the publish date, but always check the provider’s website for the most current information.

Kiah Treece

BLUEPRINT

Kiah Treece is a small business owner and former attorney with extensive experience in business and consumer finance. She focuses on demystifying debt so individuals and business owners can take control of their finances. Her work has been published on Forbes Advisor, Investopedia, The Spruce, Rolling Stone, Treehugger and more.

Jamie Young

BLUEPRINT

Jamie Young is Lead Editor of loans and mortgages at ӣƵ Blueprint. She has been writing and editing professionally for 12 years. Previously, she worked for Forbes Advisor, Credible, LendingTree, Student Loan Hero, and GOBankingRates. Her work has also appeared on some of the best-known media outlets including Yahoo, Fox Business, Time, CBS News, AOL, MSN, and more. Jamie is passionate about finance, technology, and the Oxford comma. In her free time, she likes to game, play with her two crazy cats (Detective Snoop and his girl Friday), and try to keep up with her ever-growing plant collection.

Ashley Harrison is a ӣƵ Blueprint loans and mortgages deputy editor who has worked in the online finance space since 2017. She’s passionate about creating helpful content that makes complicated financial topics easy to understand. She has previously worked at Forbes Advisor, Credible, LendingTree and Student Loan Hero. Her work has appeared on Fox Business and Yahoo. Ashley is also an artist and massive horror fan who had her short story “The Box” produced by the award-winning NoSleep Podcast. In her free time, she likes to draw, play video games, and hang out with her black cats, Salem and Binx.