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5 Emergency Loans for Bad Credit: Where to Get a Fast Loan

Steve NicastroDecember 17, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Emergency loans provide fast cash for unexpected expenses, like urgent car repairs or medical bills.

Summary of Emergency Loans for Bad Credit: Where to Get a Fast Loan

LenderEst. APRMin. Credit ScoreLearn More
Upgrade

Upgrade

on Upgrade's website

6.98 - 35.89%

600

on Upgrade's website

Upstart

Upstart

on Upstart's website

6.14 - 35.99%

580

on Upstart's website

Avant

Avant

on Avant's website

9.95 - 35.99%

580

on Avant's website

OneMain

OneMain Financial

on OneMain Financial's website

18.00 - 35.99%

None

on OneMain Financial's website

LendingPoint

LendingPoint

on LendingPoint's website

10.99 - 35.99%

585

on LendingPoint's website

LenderEst. APRMin. Credit ScoreLearn More
Upgrade

Upgrade

on Upgrade's website

6.98 - 35.89%

600

on Upgrade's website

Upstart

Upstart

on Upstart's website

6.14 - 35.99%

580

on Upstart's website

Avant

Avant

on Avant's website

9.95 - 35.99%

580

on Avant's website

OneMain

OneMain Financial

on OneMain Financial's website

18.00 - 35.99%

None

on OneMain Financial's website

LendingPoint

LendingPoint

on LendingPoint's website

10.99 - 35.99%

585

on LendingPoint's website

Our picks for

Emergency loans for bad credit

Upgrade

on Upgrade's website

Upgrade

Upgrade

Min. Credit Score

600

Est. APR

6.98 - 35.89%

Loan Amount

$1,000 - $50,000

on Upgrade's website


Min. Credit Score

600

Key facts

Upgrade offers personal loans plus credit-building tools; you'll need strong cash flow to qualify.

Pros

  • Credit health tools.

  • Hardship plans.

  • Directly pays creditors for debt consolidation loans used to pay off credit cards.

Cons

  • Origination and late fees.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 600.

  • Minimum annual income: None, but most applicants earn more than $30,000.

  • Minimum monthly free cash flow: $800.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 60%.

  • Unavailable to borrowers in: Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Vermont or West Virginia.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 1.5% - 6%.

Disclaimer

Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 6.98%-35.89%. All personal loans have a 1.5% to 6% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Personal loans issued by Upgrade's lending partners. Information on Upgrade's lending partners can be found at https://www.upgrade.com/lending-partners/. Please refer to Upgrade's Terms of Use and Borrower Agreement for all terms, conditions and requirements.

Read Full Review
Upstart

on Upstart's website

Upstart

Upstart

Min. Credit Score

580

Est. APR

6.14 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$1,000 - $50,000

on Upstart's website


Min. Credit Score

580

Key facts

Upstart is a good option for those who have short credit histories and promising financial futures.

Pros

  • Accepts borrowers new to credit.

  • Fast funding.

Cons

  • Origination and late fees.

  • No secured or co-sign option.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 580.

  • Minimum credit history: None.

  • Minimum annual income: $12,000.

  • Max debt-to-income ratio: 45%.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 0% - 8%.

  • Late fee: 5% of past due amount or $15, whichever is greater.

Disclaimer

Your loan amount will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will qualify for the full amount. Loans are not available in West Virginia or Iowa. The minimum loan amount in MA is $7,000. The minimum loan amount in Ohio is $6,000. The minimum loan amount in NM is $5,001. The minimum loan amount in GA is $3,100. The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 3-year loan on Upstart will have an APR of 20% and 36 monthly payments of $35 per $1,000 borrowed. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. The average APR on Upstart is calculated based on 3-year rates offered in the last 1 month. Your APR will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will be approved.

Read Full Review
Avant

on Avant's website

Avant

Min. Credit Score

580

Est. APR

9.95 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$2,000 - $35,000

on Avant's website


Min. Credit Score

580

Key facts

Avant's low starting rates make it a good option for borrowers with low credit scores and income.

Pros

  • Low minimum credit score.

  • Refinancing option.

  • No prepayment fee.

Cons

  • No co-sign or secured loan option.

  • Does not offer direct payment to creditors for debt consolidation loans.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score of 580.

  • At least $20,000 in gross annual income.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 5 years

Fees

  • Administrative fee: 4.75%.

  • Late fee: $25 (most states).

  • Unsuccessful payment fee: $15 (most states).

Disclaimer

$5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33. The actual rate and loan amount that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination and other factors. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC

Read Full Review
OneMain

on OneMain Financial's website

OneMain Financial

OneMain

Min. Credit Score

None

Est. APR

18.00 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$1,500 - $20,000

on OneMain Financial's website


Min. Credit Score

None

Key facts

OneMain is an option for bad-credit borrowers, but it comes with high starting rates and an origination fee.

Pros

  • Fast funding.

  • Co-sign option.

  • Free credit score access.

Cons

  • May charge origination fee.

  • High rates.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: None, average is 600 to 650.

  • Minimum credit history: Not provided.

  • Minimum annual income: None, average is $49,000.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: Varies by state.

Disclaimer

Not all applicants will qualify for larger loan amounts or most favorable loan terms. Loan approval and actual loan terms depend on your ability to meet our credit standards (including a responsible credit history, sufficient income after monthly expenses, and availability of collateral). Larger loan amounts require a first lien on a motor vehicle no more than ten years old, that meets our value requirements, titled in your name with valid insurance. Maximum annual percentage rate (APR) is 35.99%, subject to state restrictions. APRs are generally higher on loans not secured by a vehicle. Depending on the state where you open your loan, the origination fee may be either a flat amount or a percentage of your loan amount. Flat fee amounts vary by state, ranging from $30 to $150. Percentage-based fees vary by state ranging from 1% to 5% of your loan amount subject to certain state limits on the fee amount. Active duty military, their spouse or dependents covered under the Military Lending Act may not pledge any vehicle as collateral for a loan. OneMain loan proceeds cannot be used for postsecondary educational expenses as defined by the CFPB’s Regulation Z, such as college, university or vocational expenses; for any business or commercial purpose; to purchase securities; or for gambling or illegal purposes. Borrowers in these states are subject to these minimum loan sizes: Alabama: $2,100. California: $3,000. Georgia: Unless you are a present customer, $3,100 minimum loan amount. Ohio: $2,000. Virginia: $2,600. Borrowers (other than present customers) in these states are subject to these maximum unsecured loan sizes: Florida: $8,000. Iowa: $8,500. Maine: $7,000. Mississippi: $7,500. North Carolina: $7,500. New York: $20,000. Texas: $8,000. West Virginia: $14,000. An unsecured loan is a loan which does not require you to provide collateral (such as a motor vehicle) to the lender.

Read Full Review
LendingPoint

on LendingPoint's website

LendingPoint

LendingPoint

Min. Credit Score

585

Est. APR

10.99 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$2,000 - $25,000

on LendingPoint's website


Min. Credit Score

585

Key facts

LendingPoint accepts low credit scores and has flexible payments. Rates are high but comparable to competitors.

Pros

  • Qualify with bad credit.

  • No prepayment fee.

  • Flexible payments.

Cons

  • Does not offer direct payment to creditors for debt consolidation loans.

  • No co-sign or secured loan options.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score of 600.

  • At least $20,000 in annual income.

  • Debt-to-income ratio of less than 35%.

  • Live in the District of Columbia or one of the states where LendingPoint operates.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 4 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 0% - 6%.

  • Late fee: $30 after 15-day grace period.

Disclaimer

Loan approval is not guaranteed. Actual loan offers and loan amounts, terms and annual percentage rates (“APR”) may vary based upon LendingPoint's proprietary scoring and underwriting system's review of your credit, financial condition, other factors, and supporting documents or information you provide. Origination or other fees from 0% to 6% may apply depending upon your state of residence. Upon LendingPoint's final underwriting approval to fund a loan, said funds are often sent via ACH the next non-holiday business day. LendingPoint makes loan offers from $2,000 to $25,000, at rates ranging from a low of 15.49% APR to a high of 34.99% APR, with terms from 24 to 48 months.

Read Full Review

» MORE: Personal loans for bad credit

Credit union loans for emergencies

You can also get emergency loans from a local credit union. These not-for-profit lenders are often good options for borrowers with bad credit because they consider your entire financial picture — not just your credit — and may provide lower rates and terms. Some offer short-term payday alternative loans in amounts up to $2,000.

Becoming a credit union member typically requires you to live, work or study in a particular area, or be associated with a particular group. You'll need to purchase a share in the credit union to open an account ($5 to $25).

Some institutions that offer credit union loan options include Navy Federal Credit Union and First Tech Federal Credit Union.

» MORE: NerdWallet's picks for best credit unions

How to choose an emergency loan

Funding speed: If your situation is urgent, quickly getting a loan may be your priority. Typical funding times are two to seven days, and online lenders often disclose how long it takes, so you’ll know what to expect before applying.

Gather the required documents — such as W-2s, pay stubs and bank account statements — before you apply for a loan, and promptly answer the lender's questions to speed up the loan process.

Loan costs: Speed may seem more important than loan cost, but it’s still a good idea to compare fees and annual percentage rates from multiple lenders. The loan with the lowest APR is the cheapest and usually the best choice, as long as the monthly payments are affordable.

Use a personal loan calculator to determine your total interest costs and monthly payments on the new loan.

Lender features: In addition to the loan costs, consider payment options and other features. Some lenders let you choose your payment due date, forgive late fees or allow you to skip a payment if necessary during loan repayment. Lenders may also provide financial education opportunities.

» MORE: 4 steps to pre-qualify for a personal loan

No-credit-check emergency loans

Be wary of lenders that offer emergency loans without performing a preliminary credit check, which involves a soft pull of your credit report. Such no-credit-check installment loans share characteristics with conventional payday and auto-title loans, including sky-high interest rates and additional fees that make the loan less affordable than you initially thought it would be.

Some online lenders, such as Oportun and OppLoans, offer emergency loans and are positioned as low-cost alternatives to payday loans. However, their rates are still high, and you should consider these lenders only after you've ruled out other lower-cost options. Capital Good Fund is another no-credit-check lender that offers lower rates, but is available in only a handful of states.

Emergency loan alternatives

Cheaper alternatives to borrowing are not always fast or convenient, and sometimes they require asking for help. But NerdWallet strongly recommends exhausting alternatives first, even in an emergency. Here are some possible alternatives to an emergency loan.

Build an emergency fund

Once your emergency passes, do what you can to build an emergency fund that can help you avoid taking high-cost loans in the future.

Most financial experts recommend saving between three and six months’ worth of living expenses. If that seems like a lot, start small with savings of $10 to $20 per week. Set a goal to save at least $500, which can usually cover small emergency expenses like minor car repairs.

» MORE: Emergency fund calculator: How much to save

Last updated on December 17, 2019

Methodology

NerdWallet's ratings for personal loans award points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including soft credit checks, no fees, transparency of loan rates and terms, flexible payment options, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to credit bureaus and financial education. We also consider the number of complaints filed with agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This methodology applies only to lenders that cap interest rates at 36%, the maximum rate financial experts and consumer advocates agree is the acceptable limit for a loan to be affordable. NerdWallet does not receive compensation of any sort for our reviews.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Emergency Loans for Bad Credit: Where to Get a Fast Loan

  • Upgrade: Best for Emergency loans for bad credit
  • Upstart: Best for Emergency loans for bad credit
  • Avant: Best for Emergency loans for bad credit
  • OneMain Financial : Best for Emergency loans for bad credit
  • LendingPoint: Best for Emergency loans for bad credit