Best Emergency Loan Rates In October 2020

As of

An emergency loan is a loan you can get quickly when you need the money right away. A 2020 Bankrate survey found that nearly four in 10 Americans would need to borrow money to cover a $1,000 emergency, and an emergency loan could be a viable option. Before you apply for a loan for emergencies, 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.

APR from
5.95%*
with AutoPay
Term
2-7yr*
Max. loan amount
$100,000
NEXT
APR from
5.99%
with AutoPay
Term
2-7yr
Max. loan amount
$100,000
NEXT
APR from
5.99%
3 or 5 year term
Term
3-5yr
Max. loan amount
$30,000
NEXT
APR from
5.99%
Term
2-5yr
Max. loan amount
$35,000
NEXT

Not Rated

APR from
6.49-17.99%
Term
1-5yr
Max. loan amount
$20,000
NEXT
APR from
6.99-19.99%
Term
3-6yr
Max. loan amount
$40,000
NEXT
APR from
7.95-35.99%
Term
3-5yr
Max. loan amount
$40,000
NEXT
APR from
7.98-35.99%
Term
3-5yr
Max. loan amount
$50,000
NEXT
APR from
7.99-35.97%
with AutoPay
Term
3-5yr
Max. loan amount
$35,000
NEXT
APR from
9.95-35.99%
Term
2-5yr
Max. loan amount
$35,000
NEXT
APR from
10.68-35.89%
with AutoPay
Term
3-5yr
Max. loan amount
$40,000
NEXT
APR from
15.49-34.99%
Term
2-4yr
Max. loan amount
$25,000
NEXT
APR from
18.00-35.99%
Term
2-5yr
Max. loan amount
$20,000
NEXT

Bankrate's guide to choosing the best emergency loan

As of Saturday, October 31, 2020

Why trust Bankrate?

At Bankrate, our mission is to empower you to make smarter financial decisions. We’ve been comparing and surveying financial institutions for more than 40 years to help you find the right products for your situation. Our award-winning editorial team follows strict guidelines to ensure the content is not influenced by advertisers. Additionally, our content is thoroughly reported and vigorously edited to ensure accuracy.

When shopping for a personal loan, compare APRs across multiple lenders to make sure you’re getting a competitive rate. Also look for lenders that keep fees to a minimum and offer repayment terms that fit your needs. Loan details presented here are current as of the publish date. Check the lenders’ websites for more current information. The personal loan lenders listed here are selected based on factors such as APR, loan amounts, fees, credit requirements and more.

Best emergency loan rates in October 2020

Lender
Current APR Range
Loan Amount
Minimum Credit Score
Best For
Best Egg
5.99%–29.99%
$2,000–$35,000
640
Good credit
Avant
9.95%–35.99%
$2,000–$35,000
580 FICO
Fair credit
LendingPoint
9.99%–35.99%
$2,000–$25,000
585
Bad credit
OneMain Financial
18.00%–35.99%
$1,500–$20,000
Not specified
Small loan amounts
Upgrade
7.99%–35.97%
$1,000–$35,000
620
Fast funding
Upstart
7.98%–35.99%
$1,000–$50,000
600
Range of loan amounts

Details: best personal loans for emergencies

  • Best Egg: Best emergency loans for good credit
  • Avant: Best emergency loans for fair credit
  • LendingPoint: Best emergency loans for bad credit
  • OneMain Financial: Best emergency loans for small loan amounts
  • Upgrade: Best emergency loans for fast funding
  • Upstart: Best emergency loans for range of loan amounts

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 6.99 percent. Late payment and returned payment fees also apply.

Impact to emergency loan borrowers: Borrowers with good credit will find some of the lowest interest rates available with Best Egg, making emergency loans more affordable than alternatives like credit card cash advances. Additionally, its fast turnaround time is ideal for people who need to pay for unexpected expenses quickly.

Lender Best Egg
Bankrate Rating 4.7 / 5.0
Minimum Credit Score 640
Est. APR 5.99% – 29.99%
Loan Amount $2,000 – $35,000
Term Lengths 36 to 60 months
Fees Origination fee: 0.99% to 6.99%; Late fee: $15; Returned payment fee: $15

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 claims that most borrowers have a score between 600 and 700, although it accepts borrowers with FICO scores as low as 580. 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.

Impact to emergency loan borrowers: Avant claims that funds are generally deposited within one business day if you are approved by 4:30 p.m. CT, Monday through Friday. While it doesn't offer the lowest rates possible, its low credit score threshold makes it attainable for many borrowers.

Lender Avant
Bankrate Rating 4.5 / 5.0
Minimum Credit Score 580 FICO and 550 Vantage
Est. APR 9.95% – 35.99%
Loan Amount $2,000 – $35,000
Term Lengths 24 to 60 months
Fees Administrative fee: up to 4.75%; Late fee: $25; Dishonored payment fee: $15

LendingPoint: Best emergency loans for bad 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.

Impact to emergency loan borrowers: Borrowers with bad credit may be tempted to turn to payday lenders for quick cash. However, LendingPoint's low minimum credit score requirement makes it a viable alternative, and even its higher APR cap is likely lower than what you'd find with payday lenders. Its loan products are great for borrowers who need a small amount of money for emergencies and who would like to pay off the debt quickly.

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: 0% to 6%

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.

Impact to emergency loan borrowers: If you need an emergency loan but have no or little credit, OneMain Financial allows you to add a co-signer in order to improve your odds at approval. Its low loan amounts could also be good for a smaller emergency expense, like a minor car repair.

Lender OneMain Financial
Bankrate Rating 3.7 / 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: $25 to $400 or 1% to 10%; Late fee: $5 to $30 or 1.5% to 15%; Nonsufficient funds fee: $10 to $50

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 at 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.

Impact to emergency loan borrowers: Because Upgrade can send as little as $1,000 within a day of verification, it's great for small, urgent needs. The ability to adjust your payment date is also a perk that could help you better manage your emergency loan repayment.

Lender Upgrade
Bankrate Rating 4.8 / 5.0
Minimum Credit Score 620
Est. APR 7.99% – 35.97%
Loan Amount $1,000 – $35,000
Term Lengths 36 or 60 months
Fees Origination fee: 2.9% to 8%; Late fee: up to $10; Returned payment fee: $10

Upstart: Best emergency loans for range of loan amounts

Overview: Borrowers with good credit will find low APRs with Upstart, with rates starting at just 8.69 percent APR. 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's origination fee is fairly high; you could be charged as much as 8 percent of your loan amount. You'll also face late fees of 5 percent or $15, whichever is greater, if you fail to make a payment within 10 days of your due date.

Impact to emergency loan borrowers: Upstart should be able to help with many types of emergencies, with an uncommonly large loan amount range of $1,000 to $50,000. If you need a lot of money fast, Upstart is a good option.

Lender Upstart
Bankrate Rating 4.5 / 5.0
Minimum Credit Score 600
Est. APR 7.98% – 35.99%
Loan Amount $1,000 – $50,000
Term Lengths 36 or 60 months
Fees Origination fee: 0% to 8%; Late fee: 5% or $15; Returned payment fee: $15

What you need to know about emergency loans

What is an emergency loan?

Emergency loans are personal loans that are used for unexpected expenses, like medical treatment or a car breakdown. Often the loan is made for a few thousand dollars and can be disbursed within a few days. Some lenders even disburse emergency funds on the same day as approval, making it easier to address urgent needs.

How it works

Many lenders don't advertise specific "emergency loans," since an emergency loan is just a personal loan. If you need to take out a personal loan for emergencies, your best bet is to find a lender that advertises fast approval and fast funding for a loan amount that suits your needs.

Once you've gotten quotes from a few lenders, you'll send in your application to the one with the best interest rate and terms. You'll likely need to provide identity and income verification during this stage of the application process. Once you're approved, funds can be sent directly to your bank account.

Why are personal loans good for emergencies?

Personal loans are a good option for emergencies because of the speed at which many can be disbursed and because they often come with low interest rates. While it might be convenient to charge a large bill to your credit card and worry about paying it off later, many credit cards have interest rates of 16 percent or more. The average personal loan interest rate hovers around 11.88 percent, although good-credit borrowers can score rates as low as 2.49 percent.

These low interest rates mean that a personal loan could be much less expensive overall, especially if you're able to pay off the loan early. Personal loans can also be disbursed quickly, sometimes within the same day of approval.

Types of emergency loans

There are many different ways to get funds in an emergency. Types of emergency loans include:

  • Personal loans. Personal loans are the most traditional type of emergency loan. They offer quick payment and competitive interest rates, especially if you have good credit.
  • Home equity loans. Home equity loans and HELOCs are less common for emergency funds, since they're typically slower to disburse funds. However, they will usually offer the lowest rates, since they're secured by your home.
  • Credit card cash advances. 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 sky-high.
  • Payday loans. Payday loans are short-term loans that don't check your credit and will typically require repayment by your next payday. Payday loans are extremely risky and not recommended; they charge extremely high interest rates and fees, and failing to make payments could send you deeper into debt.

Emergency loans in the coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has put many people out of work and in need of emergency funds. Interest rates have fallen on many types of loans, and many lenders are offering competitive rates on personal loans during this time. Some lenders, particularly credit unions, are also offering dedicated coronavirus hardship loans, which are great for emergency needs. These loans are designed for people financially affected by COVID-19, with lower loan amounts and shorter repayment periods.

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-signers; 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 would.

What is the easiest loan to get?

The easiest loan to get is not always the best loan; for instance, payday lenders will approve loans quickly and without checking credit, but their risk is often not worth the benefit. Instead of searching out these types of lenders, look for emergency loans from reputable banks, credit unions and online lenders. Many of these lenders list their credit requirements on their websites, and most offer prequalification — meaning you can easily apply and see if you'll be approved within minutes and without damaging your credit score.

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 for the lenders listed above, there are emergency loan alternatives.

  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 it is that they’ll be willing to help you.
  • 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. 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.
  • 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 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 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.

The bottom line

Personal loans for emergencies are a great and relatively low-risk way to pay for unexpected expenses. With many lenders, you could have access to funds within a few days. Make sure to compare quotes from a few lenders before applying to make sure you find an interest rate and repayment term that works for you.