If you need an emergency loan for bad credit (a score below 620), lenders like Monevo, Upstart, OneMain Financial, and Avant all offer better alternatives to payday loans.

It’s no secret that bad credit makes it harder to qualify for a loan from most lenders. Even if you get an offer, you might be stuck with sky-high interest rates and short repayment terms of two years or less — when more financial stress is the last thing you need. And an emergency may tempt you to accept any terms you can get.

Fortunately, there are emergency loans for bad credit. The lenders I scouted below have flexible credit requirements and fast funding — most promise delivery within the next business day.

What Is an Emergency Loan?

An emergency loan is a personal loan for when you need cash quickly. They typically have short terms, short approval times and sky-high APRs and fees. So tread carefully.

With an emergency loan, you’ll get access to a quick infusion of cash, which can be a lifeline if you’ve been hit with unplanned expenses you can’t afford. You just need to ensure you pay the loan back as soon as possible to avoid any excessive interest charges.

But if you have bad credit, it can be hard to get approved for a personal loan and, of course, emergencies don’t limit themselves to those with high credit scores. Thankfully, these lenders all offer quick loans even if you have bad credit.

Best Emergency Loans for Bad Credit

Monevo: Best for High Loan Limits

  • Best Emergency Loans For Bad Credit - MonevoLoan amounts: $500 to $100,000.
  • APR: 1.99% - 35.99% APR.
  • Repayment terms: 12 months to 144 months.
  • Credit minimum: 450.
  • Funding speed: One business day.
  • Fees: Varies by lender.

As a lending marketplace, Monevo lets you compare lenders and shop for the best deal. They work with over 30 loan providers. Best of all, their bad credit accommodations are exceptional with a minimum FICO score of just 450. Funding is pretty quick with many lenders disbursing funds by the next business day.

Fees and Interest Rates

APRs range between 1.99% - 35.99% APR. Keep in mind that emergency loans for bad credit are unlikely to qualify for the lowest APRs.

Depending on the lender, the interest rates may be fixed (the same over the loan’s life) or variable (rising and falling with the market). Lock in a fixed interest rate if you can, especially if it’ll take you a while to pay back the loan.

Some lenders on Monevo may charge origination fees; these should be included in the APR.

Loan Limits and Terms

Monevo has the widest loan amount range of any lender or marketplace on the list — from $500 for a small loan to $100,000 if you need a lot of cash at once. Don’t borrow more than you need!

Repayment terms also have much more flexibility. You can pay your loan back in as little as three months, or take as long as 144 months (12 years).

I don’t recommend longer loan terms if you can avoid them — interest stacks up over long periods of repayment. But if you need to make smaller payments over time, Monevo can help you out.

Learn more about Monevo or read our full review

OppLoans: Best for Credit Scores Below 400

Best Emergency Loans For Bad Credit - OppLoans

  • Loan amounts: $500 to $4,000.
  • APR: 59% to 199%.
  • Repayment terms: 9 months to 2 years.
  • Credit minimum: 350.
  • Funding speed: One business day.
  • Fees: Varies by state.

Applicants whose low credit scores get them rejected by other lenders may have an easier time at OppLoans. That’s because OppLoans considers factors like employment status, income, and bank balance as well as credit.

But unlike other lenders, OppLoans skips the hard credit check for borrowers (most providers perform a hard credit check — one that affects your credit score). Instead, they’ll check bank transactions using Clarity Services, an alternative credit reporting bureau focused on low-credit consumers.

The credit minimum is 350, by far the lowest on the list. But OppLoans does have other financial requirements. Borrowers need a steady annual income (can be from employment or from benefits including Social Security, Disability, etc.), employer payment via direct deposit, and a valid checking or savings account. And the loans aren’t available in every state. Currently, 36 states are covered, although in 24 of those states, loans are only available through OppLoans’ partners. Active duty military service members are ineligible due to OppLoans’ high APRs.

Funds take between one to two business days to arrive via direct deposit.

Fees and Interest Rates

Did the low credit minimum seem too good to be true? OppLoans does have a major drawback of unusually high APRs — from 59% to 199%. These loans are designed to be short-term because the APR is so outrageously high.

Ideally, you’ll pay them back as soon as (the moment!) you’re able, cutting down on the interest that adds up fast at this rate. The laws in your state also affect the loan rates and terms you receive. OppLoans’ loans are unsecured, so you won’t need to put up collateral.

Origination fees vary by state.

Loan Limits and Terms

You can borrow anywhere from $500 to $4,000 (again, limits depend on your state). The terms are the shortest on the list ranging from nine to 24 months (two years). This means you’ll need to be able to pay the loan back within two years — or ideally much sooner because, again, this type of loan should be as short as possible.

Learn more about OppLoans or read our full review

Upstart: Best for Flexible Underwriting

Best Emergency Loans For Bad Credit - Upstart

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $30,000.
  • APR: 6.18% to 35.99%.
  • Repayment terms: 3 or 5 years.
  • Credit minimum: 620.
  • Funding speed: One business day.
  • Fees: 0% to 8% origination fee.

When you apply for an emergency loan with bad credit, Upstart checks your score — but they’ll also check other factors like your income, employment history, and education level. This is part of a trend called “alternative credit data reporting” where lenders take a big-picture view of a potential borrower’s financial situation.

Their credit cutoff — a minimum score of 620 — is relatively high for this list. They’ll look at a borrower’s debt-to-income ratio, and they require borrowers to have no accounts currently in collections or unpaid. Note that West Virginia and Iowa residents won’t qualify for Upstart emergency loans (state law looks a little different everywhere).

For those who do qualify, an Upstart loan gets funded quickly. They promise funding within one business day of accepting the loan for 99% of borrowers.

Fees and Interest Rates

Upstart interest rates are fixed — the same over the life of the loan. And the emergency loans are unsecured, meaning you don’t have to put down any assets as collateral.

Their APRs range from 6.18% to 35.99%, but Upstart estimates an average APR of 21% for all borrowers. As I mentioned, Upstart looks at a lot of factors when determining applicants’ interest rates. If you’re employed and in decent financial shape, a lower credit score won’t matter as much and you may score a lower rate than you would elsewhere.

Origination fee ranges are on the high end from 0% to 8%.

Loan Limits and Terms

Like many lenders, Upstart offers terms of three years (36 months) or five years (60 months). There are no prepayment penalties for paying off the loan early.

Depending on what you need, what you qualify for, and where you live, you can borrow anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000. Residents of certain states have higher minimums listed below.

  • New Mexico: $5,100.
  • Ohio: $6,000.
  • Massachusetts: $7,000.

Learn more about Upstart or read our full review

OneMain Financial: Best for Fast Payout

  • Loan amounts: $1,500 to $20,000.
  • APR: 18.00% – 35.99%.
  • Repayment terms: 24, 36, 48, or 60 months.
  • Credit minimum: None.
  • Funding speed: One hour after loan closes.
  • Fees: Flat origination fees of $25 – $400, percentage-based origination fee of 1% – 10%.

If you are in need of emergency financial relief, why not trust a tried-and-true company like OneMain Financial? OneMain has been helping people get through financial challenges for over 100 years, even if their credit scores are less than desirable. OneMain makes it a point to look past your score, get to know your individual needs, and find you a personal loan that is right for your budget.

Because OneMain understands that emergencies can’t be met with slow loan fund payouts, they will deposit your emergency loan in your bank account one hour after you close on your loan. This can be a huge relief for those facing times of financial distress.

Fees and Interest Rates

OneMain offers fixed interest rates of 18.00% to 35.99% and no prepayment fees.

Flat origination fees range from $25 to $400 based on your individual loan, and percentage-based origination fees range from 1% to 10%.

Your APR will be determined by your creditworthiness.

Loan Limits

Through OneMain, you can borrow $1,500 to $20,000, depending on your credit history. The terms of your loan will be determined on an individual basis and are dependent on your ability to meet certain requirements. That said, term lengths are 24, 36, 48, or 60 months. 

In certain states, borrowers have a higher minimum loan amount:

  • Alabama: $2,100.
  • California: $3,000.
  • Georgia: $3,100 (unless you are an existing customer).
  • Ohio: $2,000.
  • Virginia: $2,600.

In other states, unsecured loans are held to a maximum loan amount:

  • Florida: $8,000.
  • Iowa: $8,500.
  • Maine: $7,000.
  • Mississippi: $7,500.
  • North Carolina: $7,500.
  • New York: $20,000.
  • Texas: $8,000.
  • West Virginia: $14,000.

Learn more about OneMain Financial or read our full review

Lending Club: Best for Having a Cosigner

Best Emergency Loans For Bad Credit - LendingClub

  • Loan amounts: Up to $40,000.
  • APR: 5.98% to 35.89%.
  • Repayment terms: 3 or 5 years.
  • Credit minimum: 600.
  • Funding speed: 4 to 7 business days.
  • Fees: 2% to 6% origination fee.

Lending Club offers a wide variety of loans, including a medical loan program. Their emergency loans for bad credit have a credit score limit of 600, slightly lower than Upstart’s. And LendingClub lets borrowers apply for joint loans with a cosigner. This means even with a score below 600 you may get approved for a loan, as long as your cosigner has better credit. And anyone who doesn’t live in Iowa or a U.S. territory is eligible to apply.

Funding takes four business days or longer; plan on waiting up to a week.

Fees and Interest Rates

APRs range from 5.98% to 35.89%. The rates are fixed, meaning the same over the loan’s life.

Origination fees are on the high end at 2% to 6%.

Loan Limits and Terms

You can borrow up to $40,000, and the terms are fairly standard: three or five years.

Learn more about Lending Club or read our full review

Avant: Best for Next-Day Funding

Best Emergency Loans For Bad Credit (UPDATE) - Avant

  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $35,000.
  • APR: 9.95% to 35.99%.
  • Repayment terms: 24 to 60 months.
  • Credit minimum: 580.
  • Funding speed: 1 business day.
  • Fees: 4.75% administration fee.

Geared toward those with fair credit, Avant issues loans between $2,000 and $35,000. But perhaps the best thing about Avant is that you can get your funds in as little as one business day. 

With Avant, the sign-up process is quick, and you can get a pre-approval without affecting your credit score. Plus, your credit score is only one of the factors used to approve you for an Avant loan. You’ll also be asked to provide information about your income and financial holdings. This can all be used to give you a loan you wouldn’t qualify for on your credit score alone.

Fees and Interest Rates

Avant’s APRs are based on individual creditworthiness, but they range from 9.95% to 35.99% APR.

Your interest rate will be fixed, so you won’t have to worry about the interest rate changing with the market. The AvantCard, a separate option, is variable, so cardholders don’t enjoy this benefit.

Avant also charges a loan administration fee that will cost you an additional 4.75%.

Loan Limits and Terms

What I like about Avant loans is that you can get an unsecured loan of as much as $35,000, provided you qualify. Obviously, you might not need nearly that much, but it can be a great way to consolidate debt and get a good interest rate. In addition to your creditworthiness, state laws may affect the minimum loan you can take from Avant.

Loan terms range from 24 to 60 months, so if you’re looking for a loan you can pay back over a five-year period, it might worth seeing if you qualify.

If you’re looking for a quick turnaround on your loan, Avant is a good option. The application process is quick and easy, and once the loan is finalized, you could see the funds in your account in as little as one business day.

Learn more about Avant or read our full review

Payoff (Happy Money): Best for Consolidating Credit Card Debt

Best Emergency Loans For Bad Credit (UPDATE) - Payoff

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $40,000.
  • APR: 5.59% to 24.99%.
  • Repayment terms: 2 to 5 years.
  • Credit minimum: 660.
  • Funding speed: 3 to 6 business days.
  • Fees: 0% and 5% origination fee.

Those with less-than-stellar credit are often looking for a way to boost that score. That’s where Happy Money by Payoff can help.

With Payoff, not only can you borrow funds without a good credit score, but your on-time payments will help improve your FICO score. You’re getting the money you need while also ensuring you’re eligible for future borrowing opportunities.

Payoff loans are specifically designed for debt consolidation. If you have debt on multiple credit cards, for instance, you can transfer those balances to Payoff and potentially get a lower interest rate. Best of all, you’ll only have one monthly payment.

What really sets Payoff apart, though, is its dedication to improving your credit score. Your loan will grant you access to check your FICO score on a regular basis. This means you can see the boost that your on-time monthly payments give to your score.

Fees and Interest Rates

Payoff works with a small selection of lending partners who have their own rate ranges. For loan amounts up to $40,000, you’ll typically be charged between 5.99% APR and 24.99% APR. For loans above $15,000, rates start at 6.99% APR at minimum.

Payoff’s loan rates are fixed. There is no application fee, but you will pay a loan origination fee between 0% and 5%.

Loan Limits and Terms

With Payoff, the amount you choose affects your repayment terms. Loan terms are set between two and five years. You can borrow between $5,000 and $40,000 from Payoff.

Learn more about Payoff or read our full review.  

Prosper: Best for Funding Vacations

Best Emergency Loans For Bad Credit (UPDATE) - Prosper

  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $40,000.
  • APR: 6.95% to 35.99%.
  • Repayment terms: 2 to 5 years.
  • Credit minimum: 640.
  • Funding speed: 1 to 3 business days.
  • Fees: 2.41% to 5% origination fee.

Peer-to-peer lending is a growing area of personal loans. You borrow money from individuals who have agreed to lend it in exchange for interest on repayments. Prosper is a standout platform in the peer-to-peer lending space, with loan amounts available between $2,000 and $40,000 and flexible repayment terms.

When you apply to Prosper, your loan needs the approval of an individual lender. You’ll list how much you need and what you’ll be using the money for, then answer some basic questions about your income. From there, lenders will consider your application.

Once your application has been reviewed, you’ll be presented with any loan offers. You can then choose the one with the best APR and terms.

Prosper is ideal if you want the freedom to use your loan funds for purchases like vacations or a special occasion. You can select from a wide range of loan purposes during the application process.

Fees and Interest Rates

Lenders naturally conduct a risk assessment before offering a loan to each borrower. For that reason, if your credit is struggling, you may find you aren’t quoted the rates you’d see with other loans geared toward those with bad credit.

With Prosper, APRs start at 6.95%, with no APR higher than 35.99%. The loan approval and interest rate are also based on the amount and purpose of the loan, so the rates you’re quoted will be personalized to your situation. If you have better credit, you may find you’re getting more lenders interested in your business, so the offers may be much more competitive.

Prosper also charges a loan origination fee that ranges from 2.41% to 5%.

Loan Limits and Terms

The smallest Prosper loan you can get is $2,000, with loans available in amounts up to $40,000. You’ll be offered repayment terms between two and five years.

Funding will be direct deposited to your account within one to three business days after your loan has been processed.

Learn more about Prosper or read our full review

How I Came Up with This List

I looked for lenders with the following characteristics:

  • Solid reputation – By and large these lenders get good reviews for the way they treat their customers, and they’re all registered with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
  • Credit flexibility – Each lender on the list accepts borrowers with credit scores in the low 600s, and a few will consider scores in the lowest brackets.
  • Funding speed – Time is of the essence in emergencies. Except for Lending Club, all listed lenders work to get you funded within the next business day.
  • Full disclosure – These lenders are transparent — they know the last thing you want is a surprise fee.

How Do I Get an Emergency Loan with Bad Credit?

First, get your financial paperwork (or electronic “paperwork”) together.

Lenders typically require proof of income: pay stubs, W-2s, 1099s, and/or copies of your tax returns for the past two years. Have recent bank statements handy as well as your employer’s contact info if you’re working.

You’ll also want proof of identity and residence: driver’s license or state ID, utility bills, etc.

It’s a good idea to explain your emergency circumstances in writing if you’re comfortable sharing the details. Provide documents (such as medical bills or job loss notification) to back up your story. The idea is to let lenders know this is a rare or one-time event, not a financial pattern.

Keep in mind loan providers consider your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio along with your credit score. You can calculate the ratio yourself by adding your monthly debt load — from student loans, mortgage and car payments, child support, etc. — and dividing it by your monthly income. If you’re putting less than 35% of your income towards debt, that’s a point in your favor.

Next, shop around. Get options from each lender on the list and compare them. Lenders will initially do a “soft” credit check — one that doesn’t affect your score.

The “hard” credit check doesn’t happen until you finalize an application and accept an offer. These are the credit checks you want to minimize since they drop your score a few points.

Read more: Soft Pull vs. Hard Pull – How Each Affects Your Credit

Before signing for the loan read every word of your offer, including the fine print. Make sure you’re in good shape to pay the loan back on schedule.

Can I Take Out a Payday Loan?

You can, but you shouldn’t. Payday loans are falsely marketed as good emergency loans for bad credit.

They might seem reasonable at first glance since they have small loan amounts and short payment terms. But APRs are astronomical (up to 300% or 400%!). And if you can’t pay by the end of the term — often your next payday, hence the name “payday loan” — you get hit with extra charges and fees.

Here’s how to recognize a payday loan:

  • The lender promises not to run a credit check. Legitimate loan services will have some way of checking your financial status.
  • Amounts are small — $500 or less — and easy to get without much documentation or due diligence on your part.
  • APRs are high, anywhere from 200% to 400%.
  • You have a short time to pay the loan back: think weeks, not months. While a brief payment term may seem to cut down on your overall interest, it’s usually not realistic for borrowers to come up with the money that quickly. You may end up owing more than you did in the first place.

Read more: What Is a Payday Loan and Why Is It a REALLY Bad Idea to Get One?

Important Things to Know About Emergency Loans for Bad Credit

An Application Doesn’t Guarantee an Offer

This is the case even for borrowers with good credit. Each lender adds a disclaimer to this effect on their site. Lending marketplaces emphasize you might not find a match.

Inquiries Won’t Hurt Your Credit Score

Most loan providers let you shop around and check different rates without a hard credit check. So it doesn’t hurt to look at every option.

Send in Supporting Documents ASAP

The faster you get your paperwork “ducks in a row” the faster you’ll get funded.

Be Careful About Secured Loans

Unsecured loans have higher APRs, but secured loans include the possibility you’ll lose whatever you put up as collateral (a vehicle, for example) if you can’t pay the loan back.

Pick a Fixed Interest Rate if You Can

Borrowers with bad credit pay higher interest rates; that’s, unfortunately, the industry standard. But each lender here has fixed-rate options, so you won’t have to worry about your rate rising if the market changes.

The Bottom Line on Emergency Loans for Bad Credit

Yes, you can get an emergency loan with bad credit. And as a bonus, timely payments to your loan providers will be reported to credit bureaus, hopefully giving your rating a boost.

Then, once the dust settles, you can focus on repairing your credit (it’s possible!) and get on track for the future. 

Read more:

About the author

Amy Bergen Writer
Total Articles: 99
Amy Bergen is a writer and editor based in Portland, Maine. She's interested in technology, literature, and how the world will change in the future. You can reach Amy on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.