Best Emergency Loan Rates In August 2020

An emergency loan is a loan you can get quickly when you need the money right away. Before you apply for a loan, see which ones offer the timeliest payout with low fees and easy repayment terms.

Check Your Personal Loan Rates

Answer a few questions to see which personal loans you pre-qualify for. The process is quick and easy, and it will not impact your credit score.

Compare current emergency loan rates:

Lender
Current APR Range
Minimum Credit Score
Best for:
Best Egg
4.99% - 29.99%
640
Best for good credit
Avant
9.95% - 35.99%
600
Best for fair credit
LendingPoint
9.99% - 35.99%
585
Best for poor credit
OneMain Financial
18.00% - 35.99%
Not specified
Best for small loan amounts
Upgrade
7.99% - 35.97%
Not specified
Best for fast funding
Upstart
6.18% - 35.99%
620
Best for low APR

Best emergency loan lenders of 2020

Best Egg: best emergency loans for good credit

Overview: If you need money immediately and have good credit, you can try Best Egg; the company has a quick prequalification, application and approval process, and it offers loans to people with a credit score of 640 and above. Because of this, it's able to keep APRs low.

Perks: Best Egg's fast application process makes it a great choice for more immediate loan needs — Best Egg claims that half of its customers receive loans the day after they apply.

What to watch out for: Best Egg charges a number of fees, including an origination fee from 0.99 percent to 5.99 percent. Late payment and returned payment fees also apply.

Lender Best Egg
Bankrate Rating 4.7 / 5.0
Minimum Credit Score 640
Est. APR 4.99% - 29.99%
Loan Amount $2,000 - $35,000
Term Lengths 36 or 60 months
Fees Origination fee, late fee, returned payment fee

Avant: best emergency loans for fair credit

Overview: If you don’t have stellar credit (or much credit at all), an Avant loan can come in handy. Avant doesn't specify a minimum credit score, but it does say that most borrowers have a score between 600 and 700. With poor or fair credit, you can still take out a personal loan, although you might not qualify for the lowest rates available.

Perks: With a speedy prequalification option, you can see if you are eligible for an Avant loan without triggering a hard credit pull. Once approved, you can get your money within a day.

What to watch out for: Avant charges an administration fee of up to 4.75 percent, along with a late payment fee and a dishonored payment fee. You’re not allowed to have a co-signer or co-borrower, which means if you don’t qualify on your own, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Lender Avant
Bankrate Rating 4.5 / 5.0
Minimum Credit Score Not specified
Est. APR 9.95% - 35.99%
Loan Amount $2,000 - $35,000
Term Lengths 24 to 60 months
Fees Administrative fee, late fee, dishonored payment fee

LendingPoint: best emergency loans for poor credit

Overview: Not everyone has excellent credit. Sometimes people with little credit history to their name — or those with a few negative marks on their record — need to borrow money. LendingPoint is available to those borrowers in need.

Perks: LendingPoint's minimum credit threshold of 585 means that most people will qualify for a LendingPoint loan. And while APRs might be higher for people in that credit band, LendingPoint allows you to pay off your loan early without facing a prepayment penalty.

What to watch out for: To accommodate for its lower credit requirements, LendingPoint has slightly higher APRs than many of its competitors — so it's likely not the best choice if you have good credit. And because its repayment terms are also shorter than those of many other lenders, monthly payments are likely to be even higher.

Lender LendingPoint
Bankrate Rating 4.4 / 5.0
Minimum Credit Score 585
Est. APR 9.99% - 35.99%
Loan Amount $2,000 - $25,000
Term Lengths 24 to 48 months
Fees Origination fee

OneMain Financial: best emergency loans for small loan amounts

Overview: OneMain's loans are best for people who need to borrow only a small amount. It caps loan amounts at $20,000 and offers loans of as little as $1,500.

Perks: OneMain doesn't advertise a minimum credit score, meaning poor or subprime credit borrowers may be eligible. Even if you don’t qualify on your own, OneMain does allow you to add a co-applicant in order to boost your overall credit picture.

What to watch out for: In-person branch visits are required, which could hold up getting your money quickly. OneMain's APRs are also exceptionally high, with rates starting at 18 percent.

Lender OneMain Financial
Bankrate Rating 3.9 / 5.0
Minimum Credit Score Not specified
Est. APR 18.00% - 35.99%
Loan Amount $1,500 - $20,000
Term Lengths 24 to 60 months
Fees Origination fee, late fee, non-sufficient funds fee

Upgrade: best emergency loans for fast funding

Overview: If you don’t need to borrow much money but still need money fast, an Upgrade loan might be best for you. Personal loans start at $1,000, and the money can be sent to your bank within one business day — no branch visit required.

Perks: Upgrade allows you to pay off your loan early without penalty. Additionally, there is flexibility in your payment schedule, as Upgrade allows you to choose your monthly payment due date to best fit with your schedule.

What to watch out for: Upgrade's origination fees are on the high side: 2.9 percent to 8 percent. This fee is deducted from your total loan amount, so make sure to factor it in when deciding how much you want to borrow.

Lender Upgrade
Bankrate Rating 4.8 / 5.0
Minimum Credit Score Not specified
Est. APR 7.99% - 35.97%
Loan Amount $1,000 - $35,000
Term Lengths 36 or 60 months
Fees Origination fee, late fee, returned payment fee

Upstart: best emergency loans for low APR

Overview: Borrowers with good credit will find low APRs with Upstart, with rates starting at just 6.18 percent. Upstart also makes clear that it considers more than just your credit score when applying; it also takes into account your education, area of study and job history.

Perks: You can get your money within a day of your application being approved. You also can use the prequalification option to see if you’re eligible without triggering a hard credit pull.

What to watch out for: Upstart isn't transparent about its fees; it doesn't list any fees on its site, but multiple sources report origination fees of up to 8 percent, as well as late fees.

Lender Upstart
Bankrate Rating 4.5 / 5.0
Minimum Credit Score 620
Est. APR 6.18% - 35.99%
Loan Amount $5,000 - $30,000
Term Lengths 36 or 60 months
Fees Origination fee, late fee, returned payment fee

How to choose an emergency loan

When you need money in a pinch, it's easy to jump to the lender with the lowest advertised APR. However, it's usually best to compare offers from a few different lenders before committing to one. When comparing lenders, look for features like:

  • Minimum credit score: One way to decide if a lender is right for you is to check its eligibility requirements. If you can't meet the credit score minimum on your own, see if the lender allows co-borrowers; adding someone with good credit to your loan may make you more eligible.
  • Time to receive funds: If you need your money right away, see how fast your potential lender will fund your loan. If it’s not within a day or two, or if funding requires a visit to a local branch, you may want to explore other options.
  • Fees: Aside from your principal balance and interest rate, what fees does the lender charge? In addition to late fees and prepayment penalties, look out for origination fees, which are often taken out of your total loan amount.
  • Prequalification: If you don’t have great credit, look for a lender with a prequalification option. This lets you see if you’re eligible for the loan through a soft credit check, which won't ding your credit score as a hard credit check does.

What to watch out for when getting a fast loan

If you’re on the hunt for an emergency loan, be cautious of lenders that might be out to scam you or at least take advantage of your difficult time. Pay attention to:

  • No credit checks: A loan that does not require a credit check may be attractive for someone with poor credit, but these lenders often mitigate their risk by charging exorbitantly high APRs.
  • Repayment terms: If possible, avoid payday loans. These types of loans require you to make payments in full by your next paycheck, often with triple-digit APRs. Longer repayment terms not only give you more time to pay back your emergency loan, but they'll also decrease your monthly payment.
  • State registration: Not all lenders are registered in every state, since states set their own loan requirements. Before you apply, make sure your potential lenders are registered in your state.

Emergency loan alternatives

Not everyone has a solid credit history to take out an emergency loan. If your credit score is holding you back or you otherwise don’t qualify, there are emergency loan alternatives.

1. Local credit unions and banks

Our best emergency loans above consist mostly of online lenders. If you belong to a local credit union or a bank, reach out to see if you qualify for a personal loan. Both options are friendlier toward current account holders, and you may have an easier time accessing a loan.

2. Get help from 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 2-1-1 and explain your financial hardship to get matched up with local resources that are specific to your area. You might also qualify for state or federal relief.

3. Explore payment plans

Instead of paying a sum of money in full, ask if you can set up a payment plan. Whether it’s for an old 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 less likely they’ll be willing to help you.

4. Ask your employer for a paycheck advance

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. If you have a 401(k) through your job, you may want to ask about a 401(k) loan or about taking money out of your 401(k) for hardship assistance.

5. Ask family and friends for help

If you don’t qualify for an emergency loan or you don’t feel comfortable taking out a loan, ask friends and family for a little extra cash. If you don’t need to borrow a lot of money, friends and family might be more willing to help you out. Some may let you pay them back whenever you can, and they may not even charge you interest. No matter your situation, get your agreement in writing so you know what’s expected from both parties.

Building an emergency fund

While it might be too late to stash money away in case of an emergency right now, you can take some steps to build up your emergency fund in the future.

  1. See where your extra cash is: Review your budget and see where to make cuts. Look at how much you spend on groceries or other line items that have flexibility, like dining out or monthly subscriptions. Anywhere you can find extra cash, put it into an emergency fund.
  2. Open a high-yield savings account: Use any account that has access to funds when you need them. A high-yield savings account doesn’t have as much return as investing in the stock market, but you also don't risk losing money.
  3. Set up autopay: If you can put money into your fund whenever you can, you’re already doing great. But take it a step further and automate your savings. Paying yourself first means you don’t think of yourself last.
  4. Make mini goals: A good final goal is to have at least six months of expenses saved up. But that can seem daunting if you’re just starting out. Instead of looking at the bigger number, take the time to establish goal checkpoints. For instance, save up $1,000 as quickly as you can. Then save up one month’s worth of expenses. Then two, and so on.
  5. Replenish as necessary: If you need to dip into your emergency fund to cover unexpected costs, go for it! That’s what it’s there for. But remember to build up your funds again when you’re financially able to.