Key takeaways

  • If you struggle to get approved for a personal loan or need a loan in a hurry, products like emergency loan and payday loans may be appealing.
  • All may come with higher interest rates and shorter repayment timelines than a standard personal loan.
  • Payday loans and some no-credit-check loans may have fees translating to triple-digit interest rates, meaning they should be used as a last resort.

However, these loans often come with higher-than-average interest rates and unfavorable terms, so it’s best to use these as a last-resort option.

What are the easiest personal loans to get?

If used carefully, alternative loans can help meet urgent financial needs in tough situations. But it’s important to consider the long-term financial risks, like rapid high-interest debt accrual or significant credit damage.

Knowing the risks before you sign can empower you to make the right decision for your current and future finances.

Emergency loans

An emergency loan helps you cover unexpected expenses, such as medical bills or car repair bills. Lenders typically have low borrowing minimums of $1,000. Some offering loan amounts up to $50,000.  =Although specific funding timelines vary by lender, some promise funding by the next business day.

There are multiple emergency loan types. Some are traditional personal loans that offer faster funding. But be wary of payday and title loans. They’re predatory lending products often marketed as emergency loans.

Emergency loan rates from online lenders may reach 35.99 percent. But payday loans can have rates up to 600 percent. In general, emergency loans can come with higher interest rates than other forms of lending. This is especially likely if you have lower credit, higher existing debt or low or unstable income.


Your loan may come with high rates and fees if you don’t have a good to excellent credit score (at least 670) and a solid income.

Where to get

Here are a few Bankrate-reviewed personal loan lenders that offer emergency loans.

Rocket Loans

APR range: 9.116%-29.99%

Amount: $2,000-$45,000

Rocket Loans offers same-day funding to borrowers who are approved and sign their loan agreements before 1 PM EST during business hours.


APR range: 7.49%-25.49%* (with AutoPay)

Amount: $5,000–$100,000

With LightStream, you can receive funds as soon as the same business day. But you need to sign your loan agreement and select your funding method by 2:30 PM EST during a business day.


APR range: 7.99%-35.99%

Amount: $1,000–$36,500

If you’re approved for a personal loan with LendingPoint, you can have funds deposited into your bank account as fast as the next business day.

Bad credit loans

A bad credit loan is a personal loan for borrowers with less-than-stellar credit or minimal credit history. Although bad credit loan qualification requirements vary by lender, you’ll typically need a credit score above 500.

Lenders are taking on more risk by lending to borrowers with bad credit, so you may not get approved for the amount you need. Also, expect to be charged origination fees.

You may not qualify for the longest loan terms. However, your term will be at least 12 months — far longer than the two weeks you have to repay a payday loan.

These loans are still a better option than payday loans as long as they’re offered by regulated institutions. That includes online lenders, credit unions and community banks.


If you have fair or poor credit, you will likely face rates closer to the lender’s maximum than their minimum. Failure to make on-time payments will damage your credit score. On the plus side, keeping up with payments should help you grow your credit score.

Where to get a bad credit loan

Check out Bankrate’s reviews of these lenders before applying.


APR range: 9.95%-35.99%

Amount: $5,000–$40,000

Avant offers personal loans to applicants with credit scores as low as 550. If you’re approved, you can receive funds as quickly as the next business day.


APR range: 8.98%-35.99%

Amount: $1,000–$40,000

LendingClub offers a quick online application process – the majority of consumers receive approval in a few hours. Once approved, you can receive your funds in an average of four business days.

OneMain Financial

APR range: 18.00%-35.99%

Amount: $1,500–$20,000

OneMain Financial offers secured and unsecured personal loans. Secured loans may be easier to qualify for and have lower interest rates for those with bad credit. If you’re approved and sign your loan agreement, you can receive funds as soon as the next business day.

No-credit-check loans

If you don’t meet the lender’s minimum credit score requirement, getting a no-credit-check loan is a possible alternative. The downside to a no-credit-check loan is that many have a similar fee structure to a payday loan. Fees may translate to interest rates above 100 percent.

No-credit-check loans should be treated as a last-resort option due to the potential risk involved.

However, if you need to go this route, check to ensure the lender reports repayment to the three credit bureaus.

Some no-check lenders don’t report your payments. That means your credit wouldn’t be damaged if you fail to make the payments. But this also means on-time payments won’t help you grow your credit so you can qualify for better rates in the future.


You risk incurring triple-digit interest rates and high fees with a no-credit-check loan. Failing to repay could trap you in growing debt.

Payday loans

Payday loans are short-term loans — typically $500 or less — designed to be paid back by your next pay period. Most payday lenders don’t check your credit, so these are among the easiest loans to get approved for. However, don’t let that sway you. They come with serious drawbacks, including sky-high interest rates and exorbitant fees.

Interest rates on a 14-day payday loan can be more than 650 percent in some states. The ease of approval makes it possible to borrow past your means and get trapped in a cycle of debt. In fact, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that 75 percent of the fees collected by payday lenders per year are from borrowers with over 10 loans.


Payday loans pose a serious risk to your finances. Due to the short repayment term, excessive fees and high interest rates, only consider these loans if you’ve exhausted all of your other options and are certain you can pay back the balance.

Why an easy loan can make your life hard

Getting approved for an easy loan can give you temporary financial relief. However, these debt products often become more costly than borrowers initially imagined. They may cause long-term financial distress.

For starters, easy loans generally come with exorbitant interest rates and fees, which means you’ll pay several hundreds or thousands of dollars in interest over the loan term. If you opt for a payday loan, you could pay less interest overall. But the short timeline and three-figure interest rate could make it hard to keep up with payments.

Falling behind on loan payments could also mean adverse credit reporting, damaging your credit score.

Alternatives to easy loans

If you want to avoid the potential borrowing costs associated with the above loans, here are some alternatives to consider.

Local banks and credit unions

If you’re a member of a local bank or credit union, contact it to see if you can qualify for a personal loan. You may qualify for better rates and terms since you have a relationship with the institution.

Select federal credit unions offer unsecured payday alternative loans (PALS). Although the interest rate is based on your credit score, the rates are capped at just 28 percent. These loans are easier to get approved for than traditional loans. They come with maximum amounts up to $2,000. To get approved, applicants must be a member of the credit union.

Local charities and nonprofits

Check with your local chamber of commerce or library or dial 211 to see if grants are available in your area. Your income level may qualify you for federal or state rental or food assistance programs.

If you need help paying for rent, you can use the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s database to search for rental assistance programs in your area.

Payment plans

Can’t afford to pay for a phone bill, medical bill or another bill in full? Ask the company if you can set up a payment plan. Although you’ll probably be charged an additional fee or interest, it may cost less than getting a loan. While you won’t have to undergo a credit check, you may still have to apply and pass an approval process.

Paycheck advances

If you need to pay for an expense immediately but don’t get paid until a week from now or later, ask your employer for a paycheck advance. You’ll be borrowing money from yourself, which prevents you from racking up debt and having to repay interest and fees to a lender.

If your employer doesn’t offer an advance, consider using a third-party payday advance app. These apps allow you to access a portion of your paycheck early for a small fee (or for free). Keep in mind that you’ll likely need to repay the borrowed amount from your next paycheck.

Loan or hardship distribution from your 401(k) plan

If you need more money than you could get with a paycheck advance and you have a 401(k), consider asking for a 401(k) loan or hardship assistance. There’s no credit check, and you can access the funds quickly in most cases.

But you can expect to pay interest on the loan amount even though you’re borrowing from yourself. These funds are deposited back into your retirement account but on a post-tax basis. And if you lose or leave your job while carrying a balance, you’ll need to repay it by the next tax day.

Borrow money from family or friends

This option lets you avoid the formal process of applying for a loan. You may have more flexible repayment options. Also, the person who loans you money might not charge you interest. Get the terms of the loan agreement in writing and repay the loan as promised to avoid damaging your relationship with the lender.

The bottom line

Before you take out an easy loan, make sure you explore all of your borrowing options. Take some time to research and weigh each alternative’s benefits and drawbacks to decide which makes the most financial sense.

Before turning to a payday loan or similar option, try prequalifying for bad credit personal loans with several lenders so you can compare potential rates. If you have a credit union or bank membership, contact it to see if you qualify for a loan and ask about benefits or perks you could get by being an existing customer. Regardless of whichever option you choose, assess your spending plan and only borrow what you can afford to pay back promptly.

Frequently asked questions

  • Every lender is unique. Many lenders, however, offer fast funding, especially those online. You may be able to receive the money via direct deposit within a few business days, 24 hours, or even the same day you apply.
  • In most cases, you must provide some documents to apply for a loan. These may include a government-issued ID like your driver’s license or passport that proves your identity, pay stubs, and tax forms that reveal your financial situation.
  • To get approved for a loan with a low rate and favorable terms, boost your credit score. You can do so if you pay your bills on time, lower your debt levels, limit how often you apply for new accounts, and dispute any errors or inaccuracies on your credit reports.