Most personal loans can be processed within a few days. If you’re facing an emergency, this is good news — you won’t have to wait long for funds. But in order to make the most of this speed, you’ll have to do some legwork on your end to make it easier for your lender to approve you.

Time it takes to get an emergency loan

Emergency loans are typically unsecured personal loans. This means most lenders are able to process applications and fund them within one to three business days.

Some lenders are able to offer same-day funding. But to qualify, you will need to apply before the cutoff and be ready to submit every piece of documentation the lender might need. Even then, it could still take a day or two for your bank to make your loan funds available to you.

However long it takes your lender and bank to process your funds, the application should take no more than thirty minutes to fill out. Most will require less time, but you should prepare by gathering all the documents and information you will need first.

Lender Time it takes to fund
Best Egg 1-3 business days
Avant 1 day
LendingPoint 1 day
OneMain Financial Same day as approval
Upgrade 1 day
Upstart Within 1 day of loan origination date

How to expedite the emergency loan process

To ensure a quick process, you need to be prepared. Almost every lender will require the same information and documentation to process an emergency loan application.

Know your credit score

To find the right lenders, you need to know your credit score. This will guide you toward a lender you can qualify for, saving you the frustration of being rejected — and the time it takes to fill out an application only for it to not result in a loan.

Compare lenders

Not every lender offers a quick turnaround for emergencies. While many should be able to get you funded within two to three business days, be sure the one you want actually offers this by comparing lenders. If not, you may end up waiting over a week for funds.

Prepare documents before you apply

Lenders want the same basic information:

  • Proof of income like your W2s, pay stubs or tax returns.
  • Copy of your driver’s license or other government-issued ID.
  • Social Security number and contact information.

Having all of this prepared ahead of time will streamline the application process. It comes in handy when you submit multiple applications for prequalification to check rates — which you should always do. Even in an emergency, finding the most competitive rate is crucial to staying on budget.

Double-check your application

Before you submit your application, make sure you have all fields filled out to the best of your ability. You will need to present the most accurate picture of your finances to the lender. To keep things quick, double-check before you hit submit.

What to do if money won’t arrive in time

There are emergency loan alternatives that may be quicker — and less expensive — than emergency loans themselves.

  • Ask your loved ones for help. Friends and family may be willing to spot you the money if you are able to show you can pay them back quickly.
  • Paycheck advances — either directly from your employer or from an app — can cover small amounts before you get an emergency loan.
  • Utility companies and local governments may offer hardship programs that you can apply for to reduce or defer bills or rent while you are struggling financially.
  • Adjusted payment plans or deferment periods offered by lenders or billing companies may also provide some flexibility to your budget to make it easier to make ends meet and avoid an emergency loan.

If you’re being pressured, take a step back

Unfortunately, emergency loans — especially for borrowers with bad credit — are prone to predatory lenders. Products like payday loans and auto title loans are frequently called emergency loans to entice borrowers.

If you are facing an emergency situation where you need money fast, you need to be careful. Any salesperson who pressures you to agree to a loan without reading over the documentation is a bad sign. Even in an emergency, you need to take the time to review every detail about fees and repayment that come along with a loan.

You should also be aware of scams. No legit lender will ask you to send a payment to “verify” your bank account or to pay a fee with a gift card. These are scams, and if you spot them, turn the other way. Consider your alternative options instead.