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Best emergency loan rates for June 2024

Updated Jun 11, 2024

What to know first: The best emergency loan rates are available to borrowers with high credit scores and stable incomes. If you need quick money to finance an unexpected expense, like medical bills, expensive car repairs or emergency home renovations, you may be able to get the cash you need the same day you apply at some lenders.

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PERSONAL LOANS

Upstart: Best for small bad credit emergency loans

4.8

Est. APR
7.80- 35.99%
Loan term
3-5 yrs
Loan amount
$1k- $50K
Min credit score
300
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PERSONAL LOANS

OneMain Financial: Best for same-day bad credit emergency loans

4.4

Est. APR
18.00- 35.99%
Loan term
2-5 yrs
Loan amount
$1.5k- $20K
Min credit score
Not disclosed
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PERSONAL LOANS

Avant: BEST EMERGENCY LOANS FOR FAIR CREDIT

4.7

Est. APR
9.95- 35.99%
Loan term
1-5 yrs
Loan amount
$2k- $35K
Min credit score
550

PERSONAL LOANS

Best Egg: Best for secured and unsecured emergency loan options

4.6

Est. APR
8.99- 35.99%
Loan term
3-5 yrs
Loan amount
$2k- $50K
Min credit score
600
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PERSONAL LOANS

Upgrade: Best emergency loans for longer repayment terms

4.7

Est. APR
8.49- 35.99%
with AutoPay
Loan term
2-7 yrs
Loan amount
$1k- $50K
Min credit score
600
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PERSONAL LOANS

Prosper: Best emergency loan for joint borrowers

4.6

Est. APR
8.99- 35.99%
Loan term
2-5 yrs
Loan amount
$2k- $50K
Min credit score
640

PERSONAL LOANS

Discover: BEST FOR GOOD CREDIT AND FAST FUNDING

4.8

Est. APR
7.99- 24.99%
Loan term
3-7 yrs
Loan amount
$2.5k- $35K
Min credit score
660

Compare emergency loan rates from Bankrate’s top picks 

Use this table for a quick look at everything from the lowest and highest APRs the lender offers to the credit score you’ll need to qualify. If you need funds to pay for an emergency now, check the lender reviews to find out how quick each lender can get your cash in the bank.

Also look out for:

  • Minimum and maximum loan amount: Choose a lender that allows you to borrow as little or much as you want.
  • What the lender is best for: Bankrate’s editorial staff has vetted each lender to give you an idea of where each company shines to help you narrow down your choices. 
LENDER BEST FOR CURRENT APR RANGE LOAN AMOUNT MINIMUM CREDIT SCORE
Upstart Small bad credit emergency loans 7.80%-35.99% $1,000-$50,000 No requirement
OneMain Financial Same-day bad credit emergency loans 18.00%-35.99% $1,500-$20,000 Not specified
Avant Fair credit 9.95%-35.99% $2,000-$35,000 550
Best Egg Secured and unsecured emergency loan options 8.99%-35.99% $2,000-$50,000 600
Upgrade Longer repayment terms 8.49%-35.99% $1,000-$50,000 600
Prosper Joint applications 8.99%-35.99% $2,000-$50,000 Not specified
Discover Low APR emergency loans seven days a week 7.99%-24.99% $2,500-$40,000 660

A closer look at our top emergency loan lenders

Here's a deep dive into the lenders we picked, why each is the best in its category and which borrowers would benefit most from borrowing from the lender.

Upstart: Best for small bad credit emergency loans

Upstart
Rating: 4.8 stars out of 5
4.8

Overview: Headquartered in San Mateo, California, Upstart’s loans go from as little as $1,000 to $50,000. This wide range of amounts makes them versatile for covering a number of emergencies, from minor car fixes to costly home repairs. What’s more, Upstart considers more than just borrowers’ credit score and income for approval — something unique in the industry.

Est. APR
7.80%–35.99%
Loan amount
$1k– $50k
Min credit score
300

OneMain Financial: Best for same-day bad credit emergency loans

OneMain
Rating: 4.4 stars out of 5
4.4

Overview: With over 100 years of industry service, OneMain Financial provides personal loans to borrowers with poor credit or better. The lender is also one of the few that offers secured personal loans. This, in turn, could result in more favorable rates for those whose credit scores aren’t in top shape.

Est. APR
18.00%–35.99%
Loan amount
$1.5k– $20k
Min credit score
Not specified

Avant: Best emergency loans for fair credit

Avant
Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5
4.7

Overview: Having serviced over two million customers since 2012, Avant is a solid option for fair credit borrowers. Its minimum credit score requirement is much lower than the industry average. That means those with fair credit or better are more likely to secure a more competitive rate. 

Est. APR
9.95%–35.99%
Loan amount
$2k– $35k
Min credit score
550

Best Egg: Best for secured and unsecured emergency loan options

Best Egg
Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5
4.6

Overview: Headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, Best Egg has made a name for itself as a reputable and affordable personal loan solution. Best Egg’s loans feature quick funding and a low minimum credit score requirement of 600. The latter allows it to keep APRs competitive for those with good credit.

Est. APR
8.99%–35.99%
Loan amount
$2k– $50k
Min credit score
600

Upgrade: Best emergency loans for longer repayment terms

Upgrade
Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5
4.7

Overview: Personal loans from Upgrade benefit from competitive, fixed rates, a simple application process and a wide range of amounts. Unlike other lenders with longer funding timelines, Upstart disburses your funds as soon as the next day after closing. This makes its loans an ideal option for those in a time crunch.

Est. APR
8.49%–35.99%
Loan amount
$1k– $50k
Min credit score
600

Prosper: Best emergency loan for joint borrowers

Prosper
Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5
4.6

Overview: Prosper is a personal loan pioneer — the company became the first firm to enter the peer-to-peer lending arena when it launched in 2005. Prosper is one of the few lenders allowing co-borrowers on its personal loans. This can help borrowers with imperfect credit qualify for better rates and higher loan amounts.

Est. APR
8.99%–35.99%
Loan amount
$2k– $50k
Min credit score
640

Discover: Best for low APR emergency loans seven days a week

Discover
Rating: 4.8 stars out of 5
4.8

Overview: Known for its credit cards, Discover also offers personal loans, among other financial services. The lender’s loans feature next-day funding and no origination fees. This combination and its low starting APR make Discover loans ideal for good credit borrowers in a pinch.

Est. APR
7.99%–24.99%
Loan amount
$2.5k– $35k
Min credit score
660

What are emergency loans and how do they work?

An emergency loan is a type of personal loan that's used for emergency situations, like medical bills, vehicle repairs or household appliance repairs. Most borrowers seek out these types of loan for quick access to cash — which is usually directly deposited into your account within one business day of approval. They’re also a much cheaper alternative to credit cards and payday loans. Like any type of loan, they can damage your credit if you default.

Most emergency loans are installment loans, which means you receive all your funds in a lump sum that’s repaid in fixed payment. Most lenders offer repayment periods between one and seven years. Emergency personal loans feature fixed rates, giving you a predictable payment for the life of the loan. 

They can be funded quickly because they are unsecured, which means you don’t need collateral like a car or home to qualify. Your approval and APR are based mostly on the income and credit score documentation the lender collects when you apply.

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Bankrate insight

Many standard personal loans are branded as “emergency loans.” Always check the advertised funding times — some lenders offer same-day funding which may come in handy if you need cash faster than the one to two business days most lenders take to fund an emergency loan. Consider starting or beefing up your emergency savings fund to avoid borrowing for unexpected issues in the future.  

Types of emergency loans and their uses

There are many ways to get funds in an emergency and some carry more benefits than others. A few of the most common types of emergency loans include the following.

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Personal loans are a good option for emergencies because they can be disbursed quickly, sometimes within the same day of approval. They’re often less expensive than credit cards. Many credit cards have interest rates of 20 percent or more, while the average personal loan interest rate hovers just above 12 percent. People with excellent credit and a strong income can score rates below 8 percent.

  • Best for: This option works best for borrowers who need money quickly and want a low barrier to entry when it comes to eligibility requirements. Excellent credit borrowers may benefit from single-digit rates to keep their payments low. 

Home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) are less common for emergency uses since they take longer to fund. However, they usually come with the lowest rates since they're secured by your home.

  • Best for: Home equity loans and HELOCs are best for borrowers who don’t need the funds immediately and have substantial equity in their homes. However, both add the risk of losing your home if you can’t repay the balance or default on the loan, so they're only recommended as a last resort when financing an emergency.

Your credit card company may extend you a short-term loan in the form of a cash advance. This type of loan is one of the fastest ways to access money, but the interest rates and fees can be higher than they are for standard purchases with your card. Also, unlike with a standard purchase, there's typically no grace period, so interest starts accruing immediately.

  • Best for: A cash advance can be a good option for borrowers who need same-day funds and have enough available credit on their credit card to cover the expense. It could also be useful if you can repay the debt within a few months, but be mindful of potentially high interest rates.

Payday loans are short-term loans that don't require a credit check and will typically need to be repaid with your next paycheck. They are extremely risky with triple-digit APRs and high fees. Failing to make payments could send you deeper into debt.

  • Best for: This type of loan is best used as a last resort for borrowers who can’t qualify for a bad credit personal loan and need the funds to cover essentials like heat or food for their family. 

Just like payday loans, title loans are a type of short-term loan that is typically repaid within 15 to 30 days after getting the funds. These loans, while convenient, carry increased risk, like sky-high interest rates and fees. They also use your car as collateral and the lender could seize your vehicle if you default on your loan.

  • Best for: Borrowers who can’t qualify for an emergency loan with a traditional lender and have a vehicle with no current loans on it.

Pros and cons of emergency loans

Emergency loans' pros may outweigh their cons if you're in a pinch, but you should know both to make an informed decision.

Green circle with a checkmark inside

Pros

  • You can use the funds to pay for just about any emergency expense.
  • You can get money very quickly, sometimes the same day you apply.
  • You can split a big-ticket expense in manageable, monthly payments.
  • Interest rates are fixed, so your payment won’t go up.
Red circle with an X inside

Cons

  • You might have to pay a high interest rate, which can increase the overall cost of what you're fixing.
  • It can turn a one-time expense into long-term debt.
  • Could send you down a debt spiral if you don’t correct bad savings habits.
  • You may have to settle for a smaller loan amount than you want.

Where to get an emergency loan

You can get an emergency loan from any lender that provides personal loans. Some of the most common sources include banks, credit unions and online lenders. 

  • Banks and credit unions offer several advantages in rates and loan terms, but their loan processes tend to take longer than other options. If you need money right away, you may want to consider an online lender. 
  • Online lenders are often the fastest source of emergency loan funding. Some even offer immediate, same-day or next-day approval.

How to compare emergency loans

While it may be tempting to go with the first lender you qualify with, try to prequalify with at least three before deciding on one. When choosing an emergency loan, there are a number of factors to consider. These are a few of the most important to keep in mind.

  • Approval requirements: Each lender has its own requirements for loan approval. They consider your credit score, debt-to-income ratio and overall financial health. Some lenders consider things like area of study and job history. If you have fair credit or lower, it’s a good idea to look for lenders with lower minimum credit requirements or that allow joint applications.
  •  Calculate monthly payments: Determine your monthly payments by reviewing your budget. You can then use a personal loan calculator to see what loan amount, interest rate and repayment terms you can afford to choose the right lender. 
  • Interest rates: The lowest advertised interest rate is never guaranteed, and emergency loans may carry higher interest rates than regular personal loans. Subtract any added fees the company charges from the amount you’ll need to ensure you borrow enough. 
  • Loan amounts: Make sure the lenders you consider offer the amount of money you need to borrow. Some lenders offer loan ranges better suited for small purchases, while others offer loans up to $100,000.
  • Repayment options: Personal loan lenders typically offer repayment options ranging between one and seven years. If you are borrowing a larger sum of money, it might make sense to choose a longer repayment period to decrease your monthly payment. If you take out a smaller loan, a shorter repayment period makes sense to cut down on the overall interest.
  • Unique features: Keep an eye out for perks offered by lenders, such as interest rate discounts, unemployment protection and online financial tools.

How to get an emergency loan

Getting an emergency loan is not too different from getting a regular personal loan, but you'll need to pay close attention to each lender's funding timeline. For a smooth and quick application, have the necessary documentation on hand before beginning the process. 

Try some of these tips to improve your odds if you get denied on the first couple of attempts: 

  1. Apply for a secured loan: Some personal loan lenders offer loans secured by an asset, such as your car. This asset serves as collateral and reduces the lender’s risk, which may result in more flexible credit criteria and lower interest rates.
  2. Add a co-borrower or co-signer: While not every lender offers these options, using a creditworthy joint applicant or cosigner can increase your approval odds and help you secure a more competitive rate.  
  3. Target your search: There are personal loan lenders that specialize in emergency loans for bad credit borrowers. However, these are often much more expensive than traditional loans. But if the fees and high rates don't impact your budget, then it may be worth looking into lower credit loans to better avoid the predatory alternatives

Alternatives to emergency loans

If your credit score is holding you back from qualifying, there are still some alternatives to emergency loans.

  • Local nonprofits and charities: Some states and local municipalities have grants or interest-free loans you can take advantage of when you’re in a pinch. Try calling 211 and explaining your financial hardship to get matched up with resources in your area. You might also qualify for state or federal relief programs or grants.
  • Payment plans: Instead of paying a sum of money in full, ask if you can set up a payment plan. Whether it’s for a medical bill or a credit card, lenders will usually work with you on alternative repayment. Try to do this as soon as you can — the longer you wait, the more difficult it can be to get assistance.
  • Help from family and friends: If you don’t qualify for an emergency loan or you don’t feel comfortable taking out a loan, ask friends and family for help. Whatever you do, make sure to get your loan agreement — including the repayment details — in writing so you know what’s expected from both parties. 
  • Paycheck advances: If you’ve been at your job for a while, consider borrowing money from your future self and asking your employer for a paycheck advance. Keep in mind that this isn't 'free' money and will come out of your next paycheck or will need to be repaid by your next payday. 
  • Early withdrawal from a bank CD: While an easier option, taking out money from a CD before it matures could diminish the value or purpose of taking out a CD in the first place. When you withdraw early, it will cost you a penalty equal to the interest earned over a certain number of months.
  • Loan or hardship distribution from your 401(k) plan: If you have a 401(k) through your job, you technically can take money out of your retirement plan early through a 401(k) loan. However, not every employer offers this and you'll have to pay the borrowed balance back quickly if you leave your job. 
  • Local credit unions: If you belong to a local credit union, reach out to see if you qualify for a personal loan. Specifically ask for a Payday Alternative Loan (PAL). These are short-term, lower-cost emergency loans with capped interest rates and borrowing limits up to $1,000. PALs are only offered by credit unions and can save borrowers thousands when compared to predatory lending options. 

Importance of building an emergency fund

Unemployment, an urgent medical procedure, emergency repairs and sudden death or disability can easily put your finances under pressure. While you can't completely prepare for unexpected hardship, you can at least build yourself a buffer. 

An emergency fund is a separate account that ideally should house between three to six months' worth of expenses. Putting aside even a little bit of money at a time into a dedicated savings account can help you prepare for any setbacks.

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Expert insight

“If you don’t have to pay the bill for an emergency immediately, take some time to research alternatives like funding through nonprofits and charities or getting an advance on your next paycheck.

Borrowing money to pay for an emergency expense should always be a last resort because it makes your total bill – with interest – larger than what you originally owed. The temporary relief of loan funds in the midst of an emergency may be replaced by ongoing financial stress caused by having another monthly payment to make.”

– Denny Ceizyk, Bankrate Senior Loans Writer

Emergency loans to avoid

You should avoid any emergency loan that affects your ability to earn money or could result in losing an asset like a car or a home. Before you consider a payday loan, title loan or home equity loan or HELOC, consider the substantial financial risks. 

  • Payday loans: Payday loan rates and fees are exorbitant and tied to your regular paycheck. They are one of the most predatory loan products in existence, which is why some states have chosen to outlaw them or enforce strict limits on payday lending terms. 
  • Title loans: With a title loan, you risk creating the future emergency of losing your vehicle if you can’t repay a title loan. The higher rate on a bad credit personal loan may be worth it to prevent this risk. 
  • Home equity loans and HELOCs: Although the rates are lower and you have much longer terms than other types of emergency loans, avoid converting your home’s equity into debt to pay for an urgent expense. You could lose your home to foreclosure if you can’t repay the loan. 

What is the relationship between emergency funds and loans?


Nationally recognized student financial aid expert

An emergency fund provides money to cover the cost of unforeseen expenses, such as car repairs or unemployment. You should save half a year’s salary in an emergency fund in case you need it. A loan, on the other hand, is borrowed money that must be repaid. The difference is with an emergency fund, you save in advance, while with a loan, you pay afterwards. But, you may not always be able to get a loan in an emergency, and a loan costs more than an emergency fund.

Senior Loans Writer

Emergency loans exist because most consumers don’t keep enough cash in an emergency fund to pay for unexpected expenses. The balance in an emergency fund should grow with every asset you acquire. If you buy a new car, you should stash cash to pay for a tire blowout, a check-engine light repair or regular maintenance items like oil changes. If you own a home, consider adding funds for an unexpected plumbing or air conditioning crisis, to avoid turning to credit cards or loans. The beauty of an emergency fund is that it allows you to pay in full for those rainy day moments. Monthly payments on emergency loans are like constant reminders of a one-time crisis.

Frequently asked questions

How we made our picks for the best emergency loans

Bankrate's trusted personal loans industry expertise

57

years in business

30

lenders reviewed

20

loan features weighed

665

data points collected

To select the best personal loans, Bankrate’s team of experts evaluated over 30 lenders. Each lender was ranked using a meticulous 20-point system, focusing on four main categories:

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