Key takeaways

  • In rare cases, emergency loans can be deposited in your account the same day you apply.
  • Most emergency loan lenders will send you the funds within a few business days after approval.
  • Checking your credit, comparing lenders and gathering the necessary documentation beforehand are key to a speedy process.

Emergency loans can be a lifesaver if you’re hit with a sudden expense and in need of some fast cash. While most loans are funded within days of approval, some lenders may offer same-day funding. That said, you will need to submit plenty of information to make it easier for the lender to approve you and expedite the entire process.

How long does it take to get an emergency loan?

You can get an unsecured personal loan from banks, credit unions and online lenders. Regardless of the institution you choose, most lenders will send the funds your way a few days after approval.

That said, there are some lenders that offer same-day funding. To qualify, you will need to apply before the cutoff time on a business day and submit every piece of required documentation the lender might need. Even then, it could still take a day or two for you to access your emergency loan funds, depending on how long it takes for your bank to process the deposit.

However long it takes your lender and bank to complete the transaction, the application likely won’t take you more than 10 minutes to fill out. In some cases, you may be able to finish it in less time if you have all the information you need at hand.

The table below shows the average funding timeline of some of the best emergency loan lenders.

Lender Time it takes to fund the loan
Avant 1 day
Best Egg 1 day
Discover 1 day
LendingPoint 1 day
OneMain Financial Same day as approval
Upgrade 1 day
Upstart 1 day

How to expedite the emergency loan process

Almost every lender will require the same information and documentation to process an emergency loan application. To speed up the process, compare lenders and gather all the information you may need before you start.

1. Know your credit score

Each lender has its own minimum credit score requirement to approve you for the loan. Likewise, your credit score will be a key factor in determining your interest rate.

To find the right lender for your situation, you will need to check your credit score. This will allow you to narrow down your search to lenders that offer loans to consumers within your same credit band, saving you time and sparing you the frustration of being rejected.

2. 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.

Besides funding timelines, take a look at each lenders’ annual percentage rates (APRs), repayment terms and fees to ensure you get a loan you can afford.

3. Gather the necessary documents

Lenders will want copies of the following to verify that the information you provided is accurate.

  • Proof of income like 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 will also come in handy if you’re submitting multiple applications to prequalify and check rates — which you should always do. Even in an emergency, finding the most competitive rate is crucial to staying on budget.

4. Double-check your application

Once you select your lender and fill out the application, make sure that all the information is correct before submitting it. This will allow the lender to get the most accurate picture of your finances and credit, to give you an offer.

Checking the information provided is also a crucial step to get the funds you need in a timely manner, as this will speed up the lender’s verification process, resulting in a quick decision.

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. Compare pros and cons of each before settling on an emergency loan.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Paycheck advances — either directly from your employer or from an app — can cover small amounts before you get 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 car title loans are frequently marketed as emergency loans to entice vulnerable 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.

The bottom line

Lenders typically fund emergency loans within a few days after approval — and some even offer same-day funding. That said, the key to a quick transaction is knowing your options and having all of the necessary information on hand before you apply.