8 Emergency Loans for Bad Credit

8 Emergency Loans for Bad Credit

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Brittney Mayer
By: Brittney Mayer
Updated: October 1, 2018
Our popular “How-To” series is for those who seek to improve their subprime credit rating. Our articles follow strict editorial guidelines.

Although everyone rebuilding their credit knows to establish an emergency fund for unexpected expenses, even a well-stocked fund can’t cover every emergency. Sometimes, your needs may simply outweigh your means, no matter how well you plan.

For those with poor credit, a financial emergency can be twice as devastating, as obtaining an emergency loan will often be much harder than it would be for consumers with good credit. Fortunately, you may still have a number of options for emergency loans.

Installment Loans | Short-Term Loans | Credit Card Loans | Speeding the Process

Online “Installment” Loans for Emergencies

If your emergency has a four-figure price tag, then you’ll likely need a personal installment loan, which can be obtained in amounts of $2,500 up to $35,000, depending on your credit profile.

The time it takes to receive your funding after applying will depend on the individual lender and your personal financial situation. Our top-rated lending networks work with lenders who can often provide funding in as little as one business day for well-qualified applicants.



Overall Rating

Loan Amount Interest Rate Loan Term Loan Example
$500 to $10,000 5.99% - 35.99% 3 to 72 Months

See representative example

+See More Personal Loans for Bad Credit

Perhaps the best thing about installment loans is the way they are repaid. Namely, installment loans are repaid via regular payments — or installments — over the entire loan term.

In this way, installment loans are typically much more affordable than other types of financing, such as short-term loans that require a single lump-sum repayment.

Additionally, the installment repayment plan allows you to influence the size of your monthly payment by altering the length of your loan term. Shorter loan terms mean larger monthly payments, while longer loan terms can lower your monthly payment.

However, it’s important to recognize that extending your loan terms will also increase the overall cost of your loan, as each additional month will mean an additional interest payment.

Online “Short-Term” Loans for Emergencies

In cases in which your credit score prevents you from obtaining an installment loan or you only need to borrow a small amount of money (less than $500), short-term cash advance loans are an option.

Unlike installment loans, short-term loans are repaid in a single lump-sum that includes both the principal and all finance charges. Because short-term loans typically have extremely high APRs, it’s important to compare options, perhaps through an online lending network like those below.

  • Short-term loan of $100 to $1,000
  • Bad credit is welcomed
  • Large network of lenders
  • Loan decision as fast as a few minutes; funding as soon as next business day
  • Required: Income of $1000+/month and at least 90 days on job
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.


Overall Rating

Loan Amount Interest Rate Loan Term Loan Example
$100 to $1,000 200% - 2,290% Varies

See representative example

+See More Personal Loans for Bad Credit

If there’s any chance you won’t be able to repay your short-term cash advance loan on the due date, think twice about taking on the loan.
Short-term loans are already usually the most expensive way to borrow — they can easily have APRs in the three digits — which means adding on extra finance charges to rollover your loan can trap you in a debt cycle you can’t afford to escape.

Before taking on a short-term loan, consider if an installment loan or credit card can be used instead. Both will have more flexible repayment methods and lower interest rates than short-term loans.

Online “Credit Card” Loans for Emergencies

In today’s digital world, almost everything can be paid for by credit card, making your everyday go-to card a potential lifesaver in a financial emergency.

If you don’t already have a card to handle emergencies, a number of issuers specialize in providing credit cards to poor-credit consumers, though limits will generally be low. Some of our expert-rated picks offer credit lines of up to $500 for qualifying applicants.

  • Easy application! Get a credit decision in seconds.
  • Build your credit history – Fingerhut reports to all 3 major credit bureaus
  • Use your line of credit to shop thousands of items from great brands like Samsung, KitchenAid, and DeWalt
  • Not an access card
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.


Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
5 Minutes See issuer website Yes 9.0/10
  • Checking account required
  • Fast and easy application process; response provided in seconds
  • A genuine Visa card accepted by merchants nationwide across the USA and online
  • Manageable monthly payments
  • If approved, simply pay a program fee to open your account and access your available credit
  • Reports monthly to all three major credit bureaus
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.


Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 Minutes See terms Yes 8.5/10
  • Get the security and convenience of a full-feature, unsecured Visa® Credit Card – accepted at millions of merchant and ATM locations nationwide and online
  • Reporting monthly to all three major credit reporting agencies
  • Perfect credit not required for approval; we may approve you when others won’t
  • Easy and secure online application
  • If approved, pay a Program Fee and you can access the $300 credit limit (subject to available credit)
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.


Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
10 Minutes See Terms Yes 8.0/10

+See More Credit Cards for Bad Credit

While credit cards will generally have higher APRs than installment loans, they’re still more affordable than short-term loans, particularly if you can pay off your balance before the end of the grace period to avoid interest altogether.

Additionally, if you desperately need cash, a credit card cash advance may end up being more affordable than a short-term cash advance loan, as the APR will often be lower. Most cards will charge a cash advance fee, however, so include that in your calculations.

Also, keep in mind that credit card cash advances don’t come with an interest rate grace period, so pay off your balance quickly to avoid accruing too many interest fees.

Advice for Getting Your Funds Faster

The amount of time it takes to receive your funds after applying for a loan can vary drastically depending on your credit profile, the type of loan, the specific lender, and even the method of applying.

For example, online loan applications are often much quicker than paper applications, as online applications can be analyzed by a computer algorithm rather than requiring a human review for a decision.

Another key way to ensure your loan is processed quickly is to research the loan ahead of time so you can provide everything that’s needed when you apply. Typical requirements include:

  • Your name, address, and birth date
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your employer’s name, address, and phone number
  • Your monthly income, gross and net
  • Your previous addresses
  • Your mother’s maiden name

Your loan can take longer to process if the lender has to follow up for more information or to verify information, so be sure everything is included — and accurate — as requested on your application.

It’s also important to apply for loans you have the best chance of being approved for, as a denial is definitely going to delay things. Checking your credit reports and scores ahead of time can alert you to any potential red flags and give you an idea of what loan terms to expect.

Credit Report Evaluation Infographic

If you’re applying for a new credit card and need to start using it as soon as possible, then consider requesting expedited shipping on your new card. Many issuers will expedite a new card upon request, though some may charge an extra fee for the service.

Get the Cash You Need, When You Need It

One of life’s more annoying certainties is that no matter how well you plan, things will inevitably wind up off course at some point. In other words: stuff happens.

Emergencies crop up that can exhaust even the best emergency funds, making it necessary to find outside financing. While this can be a challenge with poor credit, it may not be an impossible task. With a little research, most consumers can find the emergency loan they need.