BEST OF

Best Emergency Loans of May 2022

Emergency loans help cover unexpected expenses, like urgent car or home repairs. Compare options from online lenders and learn how to choose a safe loan.

May 2, 2022

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Emergency loans can help you cover urgent, necessary costs. They can be far less expensive and safer than other types of loans, like payday or auto title loans. They can also be just as fast; many lenders fund loans the day you apply or the following day.

Even if you’re in a hurry, comparing lenders and other options could save you money in the long run. Here are lenders that assess your ability to repay the loan, a practice that reduces risk — for you and the lender.

Emergency loan companies:

  • Best for borrowers with limited credit history or fair credit: Upstart.

  • Best for secured emergency loans: OneMain.

  • Best for credit-building features and low credit scores: Universal Credit.

  • Best for borrowers with no credit score: Oportun.

  • Best for emergency loans that help build savings: SeedFi.

  • Best for fast funding and fair or good credit: Best Egg.

  • Best for flexible payments: LendingPoint.

  • Best for low credit scores: Avant.

Why trust NerdWallet? NerdWallet's editorial team has reviewed more than 35 personal loan providers and compared them to find the best personal loans for emergencies. We selected these lenders based on features like minimum required credit scores, APR ranges, loan amounts, funding time and ability to help a borrower build credit.

Best Emergency Loans

Our pick for

Fast funding and good or fair credit

BestEgg
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Best Egg

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
BestEgg

Est. APR

5.99-35.99%

Loan amount

$2,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

600
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Min. credit score

600

Key facts

Best Egg lends low-rate personal loans to borrowers with good credit. The company says its online application takes minutes to complete, and funds can be available in as little as one business day.

Pros

  • Offers wide range of loan amounts.

  • Provides secured loan option for homeowners.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

  • No rate discount for autopay.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 600; borrower average is 700.

  • Minimum credit history: 3 years and 3 accounts.

  • Minimum income requirement is $3,500; borrower average is $80,000. Borrower must have enough cash flow to cover current financial obligations.

  • Minimum debt-to-income ratio: 40% or 65% including a mortgage; borrower average is 40%.

  • Employment: Must provide proof of income; part-time employees are eligible.

  • Must provide valid U.S. address and Social Security number.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 0.99% - 5.99%.

  • Return fee: $15 if payments are not processed.

Disclaimer

*Trustpilot TrustScore as of June 2020. Best Egg personal loans, including the Best Egg Secured Loan, are made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender or Blue Ridge Bank, a Nationally Chartered Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. “Best Egg” is a trademark of Marlette Holdings, Inc., a Delaware corporation. All uses of “Best Egg” refer to “the Best Egg personal loan”, “the Best Egg Secured Loan”, and/or “Best Egg on behalf of Cross River Bank or Blue Ridge Bank, as originator of the Best Egg personal loan,” as applicable. The term, amount, and APR of any loan we offer to you will depend on your credit score, income, debt payment obligations, loan amount, credit history and other factors. Your loan agreement will contain specific terms and conditions. About half of our customers get their money the next day. After successful verification, your money can be deposited in your bank account within 1-3 business days. The timing of available funds upon loan approval may vary depending upon your bank’s policies. Loan amounts range from $2,000– $50,000. Residents of Massachusetts have a minimum loan amount of $6,500 ; New Mexico and Ohio, $5,000; and Georgia, $3,000. For a second Best Egg loan, your total existing Best Egg loan balances cannot exceed $50,000. Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) range from 5.99%–35.99%. The APR is the cost of credit as a yearly rate and reflects both your interest rate and an origination fee of 0.99%–5.99% of your loan amount, which will be deducted from any loan proceeds you receive. The origination fee on a loan term 4-years or longer will be at least 4.99%. Your loan term will impact your APR, which may be higher than our lowest advertised rate.  You need a minimum 700 FICO® score and a minimum individual annual income of $100,000 to qualify for our lowest APR. To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, Federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each person who opens an account. What this means for you: When you open an account, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth, and other information that will allow us to identify you. We may also ask to see your driver’s license or other identifying documents.

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Our pick for

Low credit scores

Avant
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Avant

3.5

NerdWallet rating 
Avant

Est. APR

9.95-35.95%

Loan amount

$2,000-$35,000

Min. credit score

550
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Min. credit score

550

Key facts

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

Pros

  • Able to fund loans the next business day.

  • Option to change your payment date.

  • Soft credit check with pre-qualification.

Cons

  • Charges an origination fee.

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

  • No joint, co-signed or secured loan option.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score of 550.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 5 years

Fees

  • Administrative fee: Up to 4.75%.

  • Late fee: $25 (most states).

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

Disclaimer

A $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. Minimum loan amounts may vary by state. If approved, the actual rate and loan amount that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination and other factors. An administration fee of up to 4.75% will be deducted from the loan proceeds. Avant branded credit products are issued by Webbank, member FDIC

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Our pick for

Flexible payments

LendingPoint
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LendingPoint

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
LendingPoint

Est. APR

7.99-35.99%

Loan amount

$2,000-$36,500

Min. credit score

600
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Min. credit score

600

Key facts

LendingPoint accepts borrowers with low credit scores, but emphasizes an applicant’s debt-to-income ratio in a loan decision. Funds may be available as soon as the next business day.

Pros

  • Soft credit check with pre-qualification.

  • Option to choose and change your payment date.

  • Can fund a loan the business day after approval.

Cons

  • No co-signed, joint or secured loan option.

  • Rates are high compared to other bad-credit lenders.

  • Reports payments to two of the three major credit bureaus.

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

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score of 600; average is 673.

  • Minimum income of $40,000; average customer earns $80,000.

  • Debt-to-income ratio of less than 50%, not including mortgage; average customer's ratio is 13%.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 4 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 0% - 6%.

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

Disclaimer

Applications submitted on this website may be funded by one of several lenders, including: FinWise bank, a Utah-chartered bank Member FDIC; Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC; and LendingPoint, a licensed lender in certain states. 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 final underwriting approval to fund a loan, said funds are often sent via ACH the next non-holiday business day. Loans are offered from $2,000 to $36,500, at rates ranging from 7.99% to 35.99% APR, with terms from 24 to 60 months. Georgia loans have a minimum $3,500 loan amount. For a well-qualified customer, a $10,000 loan for a period of 48 months with an APR of 23.72% and origination fee of 6% will have a payment of $324.48 per month. (Actual terms and rate depend on credit history, income, and other factors.) Customers may have the option to deduct the origination fee from the disbursed loan amount if desired. The total amount due is the total amount of the loan you will have paid after you have made all payments as scheduled.

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Our pick for

Credit-building features and low credit scores

Universal Credit
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Universal Credit

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Universal Credit

Est. APR

8.93-35.43%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

560
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Min. credit score

560

Key facts

A Universal Credit loan is an option for bad-credit borrowers with high debt-to-income ratios, but rates are high compared to similar lenders.

Pros

  • Offers rate discount with direct payment to creditors on debt consolidation loans.

  • Option to change your payment date.

  • Offers free credit score access.

  • Offers a 0.5 percentage point rate discount for setting up autopay.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

  • No co-sign, joint or secured loan option.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 560.

  • Minimum number of accounts on credit history: 2 accounts.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 75%, including mortgage and the loan you’re applying for.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 4.25% to 8%.

  • Late fee: Up to $10.

Disclaimer

Personal loans made through Universal Credit feature APRs of 8.93%-35.93%. All personal loans have a 4.25% to 8% 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 27.65% APR (which includes a 22.99% yearly interest rate and a 6% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,400 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $387.05. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $13,933.62. 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.

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Our pick for

Borrowers with limited credit history or fair credit

Upstart
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Upstart

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Upstart

Est. APR

5.40-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

None
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Min. credit score

None

Key facts

Upstart uses alternative data in underwriting, which can give borrowers with bad or fair credit a better chance to qualify. This lender accepts borrowers with thin credit histories and high earning potential.

Pros

  • Accepts borrowers new to credit.

  • Able to fund loans within one business day.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with some debt consolidation loans.

  • Allows borrowers to choose and change payment date.

Cons

  • Borrowers can choose from only two repayment term options.

  • Charges origination fee.

  • No mobile app to manage the loan.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: None.

  • Minimum credit history: None, this lending platform accepts borrowers with credit history too limited to produce a FICO score.

  • Minimum gross income: $12,000.

  • Employment: Full-time job, full-time job offer starting in 6 months, a regular part-time job, or another source of regular income.

  • Must have U.S. residential street address where borrower resides (unless military personnel on active duty).

  • Must be at least 18 years old.

  • Valid email account required.

  • Personal bank account with U.S. routing number required.

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. Minimum loan amounts vary by state: GA ($3,100), HI ($2,100), MA ($7,000), NM ($5,100), OH ($6,000).This offer is conditioned on final approval based on our consideration and verification of financial and non-financial information. Rate and loan amount are subject to change based upon information received in your full application. This offer may be accepted only by the person identified in this offer, who is old enough to legally enter into contract for the extension of credit, a US citizen or permanent resident, and a current resident of the US. Duplicate offers are void. Closing your loan is contingent on your meeting our eligibility requirements, our verification of your information, and your agreement to the terms and conditions on the www.upstart.com website.The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 5-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart platform will have an APR of 21.4% and 60 monthly payments of $24.62 per $1,000 borrowed. For example, the total cost of a $10,000 loan would be $14,775 including a $582 origination fee. APR is calculated based on 5-year rates offered in the last 1 month. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. 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. If you accept your loan by 5pm EST (not including weekends or holidays), you will receive your funds the next business day. Loans used to fund education related expenses are subject to a 3 business day wait period between loan acceptance and funding in accordance with federal law.

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Our pick for

Secured emergency loans

OneMain
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OneMain Financial

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
OneMain

Est. APR

18.00-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,500-$20,000

Min. credit score

None
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Min. credit score

None

Key facts

OneMain doesn’t have a minimum credit score requirement, but it charges high rates and origination fees. A borrower’s ability to repay the loan and credit stability are factors in a loan decision.

Pros

  • Option to choose your payment date.

  • Offers joint and secured loans.

  • Able to fund a loan the same or next business day.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors on debt consolidation loans.

Cons

  • Rates are high compared to other online lenders.

  • Charges origination fee.

  • No rate discount for autopay.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: None.

  • Minimum income: None; average is $45,000.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: $25 to $400 or 1 - 10%.

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 $25 to $300. Percentage-based fees vary by state ranging from 1% to 10% 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: North Carolina: $7,500. New York: $20,000. An unsecured loan is a loan which does not require you to provide collateral (such as a motor vehicle) to the lender.

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Our pick for

Building savings through the loan

SeedFi Borrow & Grow Personal Loan
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SeedFi Borrow & Grow Personal Loan

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
SeedFi Borrow & Grow Personal Loan

Est. APR

7.42-29.99%

Loan amount

$1,200-$7,000

Min. credit score

520
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Min. credit score

520

Key facts

SeedFi’s personal loan offers emergency cash to bad-credit borrowers at an affordable rate, but charges interest to build savings.

Pros

  • Soft credit check to pre-qualify.

  • Reports payments to the three major credit bureaus.

  • No origination or prepayment fees.

  • Returns late fees at the end of the loan.

  • Able to fund a loan within 1 - 2 business days.

Cons

  • No co-signed or joint loan option.

  • No option to choose your payment date.

Qualifications

  • Verifiable income.

  • An active bank account.

  • A Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number.

  • Minimum credit score: 520; borrower average is 600. Those with no credit score can also apply.

  • Annual net income: $10,000; borrower average is $54,000.

  • Debt-to-income ratio: None required; borrower average is 20%.

  • Average monthly free cash flow: No minimum required; borrower average is $2,000.

Available Term Lengths

8 to 44 months

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Prepayment fee: None.

  • Late fee: $15 added to the savings account.

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Our pick for

Borrowers with no credit score

Oportun
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Oportun

3.0

NerdWallet rating 
Oportun

Est. APR

27.74-35.95%

Loan amount

$300-$10,000

Min. credit score

None
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Min. credit score

None

Key facts

Oportun accepts borrowers with thin or no credit history, but will consider credit information for borrowers who have it. Rates are high compared to other lenders.

Pros

  • Soft credit check with pre-qualification.

  • Offers co-sign and limited secured loan options.

  • Accepts borrowers new to credit.

  • Offers small loans starting at $300.

Cons

  • Borrowers cannot change their payment date.

  • Doesn't offer direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • No joint loan option.

  • Loans are expensive compared to other bad-credit options.

  • Reports to only two of the three major credit bureaus.

Qualifications

  • Valid identification.

  • Proof of income.

  • Proof of address.

  • Up to four references.

  • Be 18 years or older.

  • At least $500 in monthly income.

Available Term Lengths

12 to 51 months

Fees

  • Origination fee: $0 - $300.

  • Late fee: Fixed amount or percent, $15 max.

Disclaimer

This is an advertisement for a consumer loan, subject to credit eligibility. Not available in CO, DC, GA, HI, IA, MA, MD, ME, NY, and WV. Loans in AZ, CA, FL, ID, IL, MO, NJ, NM, TX, UT, and WI are originated by Oportun Inc. California loans made pursuant to a California Financing Law license. NV loans originated by Oportun, LLC. In all other states, loans are originated by MetaBank, N.A., member FDIC. Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. See oportun.com for details.

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What is an emergency loan?

An emergency loan is a personal loan you use to pay a medical bill, get a car repaired or cover another urgent expense. These loans can be secured or unsecured — unsecured loans are more widely available — and can come from an online lender, credit union or bank.

Lenders typically have minimum credit score and maximum debt-to-income ratio requirements. Some offer co-signed or joint loans, which may be easier to qualify for.

Steps to get an emergency loan

  • Check your credit. Most lenders prioritize applicants’ credit scores in a lending decision, so check your credit report for any past-due accounts or errors, and correct them before submitting an application. You can view your report from all three credit bureaus at AnnualCreditReport.com.

  • Determine what you can afford. Review your monthly budget to determine how much you can afford to pay toward the loan each month. That way, when you’re reviewing loan offers, you can choose a payment that best fits your budget.

  • Pre-qualify and compare offers. Even if you’re in a hurry, it’s worth the extra time to find a good rate on a loan you’ll be repaying for a year or more. Most lenders let you pre-qualify online to preview the loan’s rate, amount and repayment term. Pre-qualifying takes a few minutes, and no matter how many times you do it, your credit score is never affected.

  • Gather documents and apply. Once you have a loan offer with affordable monthly payments, find the documents you need to apply for a personal loan. This usually includes W-2s, pay stubs, a government-issued ID and proof of address. You could get an instant approval decision, but it’s more common for it to take a day or two.

How to choose an emergency loan

Affordability: The loan with the lowest annual percentage rate is the least expensive. You can also use APRs to compare loans with other financing options such as credit cards.

Weigh how the loan’s monthly payments will impact your budget to determine if you can comfortably pay it on time. Use a personal loan calculator to see how the rate and repayment term affect the monthly payment.

Fees: The most common fee to look for on a personal loan is an origination fee. This can be 1% to 10% of the loan amount, and it’s usually subtracted from the loan before you get the funds.

Funding speed: If you urgently need funds, consider a lender that offers fast funding. Some lenders can fund a loan the next day, while others could take up to a week after approval.

Online lenders often disclose the timeline in an FAQ or blog section of their websites, so you’ll know what to expect before applying.

Other loan types: All the lenders on this page offer unsecured emergency loans, but some also let you add a co-applicant or secure the loan to lower your rate or improve your chances of qualifying.

Compare emergency lenders

Lender

Time to approve

Time to fund

Origination fee

Other loan types

1 day.

1 day.

0%-8%.

None.

1 day.

1-2 days.

1%-10%.

Joint, secured.

1-3 days.

1 day.

2.9%-8%.

None.

Immediate.

1-3 days.

$0-$300.

Co-signed, secured.

1-2 days.

1 day.

None.

None.

1-3 days.

1-2 days.

0.99%-5.99%.

Secured.

Immediate.

1 day.

0%-6%.

None.

1 day.

1-2 days.

0%-4.75%.

None.

Tips to get an emergency loan with bad credit

A bad credit score (below 630 FICO) doesn’t automatically disqualify you from getting a loan, but your score is weighed the most heavily on a loan application.

Add a co-signer or co-borrower

Adding a co-signer or co-borrower can help your chances of qualifying or getting a good rate. A co-borrower has equal access to the funds, while a co-signer does not. If you can’t make loan payments, the co-signer or co-borrower is responsible for the loan.

Add collateral

Some lenders offer secured personal loans, which lets borrowers add collateral to the loan and can help bad-credit borrowers qualify. If you fail to make payments, the lender can take the collateral.

Add up income streams

Your monthly income is another important factor on your application. Most lenders want to see that you have enough to pay your regular expenses, make the new loan payment and have a little leftover. Some lenders consider things like alimony, Social Security and even a partner’s earnings as part of your income.

Turn to a credit union

Many credit union personal loans have low rates and minimum amounts around $500 or $1,000. Some also offer payday alternative loans, which are small-dollar loans with APRs capped at 28%.

Try your bank

If you’re a customer at Bank of America or U.S. Bank, you may be able to get one of their small-dollar loans. Bank of America’s Balance Assist offers up to $500 for a flat fee of $5. A Simple Loan from U.S. Bank can be up to $1,000, and the loan has a fee of $6 for every $100 borrowed. Both are repaid in three monthly installments.

How do you repay an emergency loan?

Personal loans used for emergencies are a type of installment loan, meaning you receive the money in a lump sum and repay it in monthly installments. These loans have fixed interest rates, so you’ll have the same monthly payment for the life of the loan.

Choosing an emergency loan repayment term

Emergency loan repayment terms are typically between two and seven years, though it’s common for a lender to only offer three- or five-year terms.

A long repayment term may seem appealing because it gets you the lowest monthly payment, but it also costs more in total interest. Instead, look for a loan that balances affordable monthly payments without being too expensive overall.

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.

Emergency loans to avoid

Payday loans

Payday loans are high-cost, short-term loans. Even in an emergency, they’re a risky option. Payday lenders charge fees that can equate to APRs of 400%, they don’t check your credit score and they may not confirm your ability to repay the loan.

Borrowers who aren’t prepared to repay the loan on their next payday often borrow again, causing them to slip into a cycle of debt.

Car title loans

With a car title loan, a lender assesses the value of your vehicle and lends you a percentage of that amount. If you accept, the lender holds the car’s title and you receive your loan. The lender doesn’t usually review your ability to repay the loan and can charge APRs of 300%.

If you can’t pay, the lender will take your car.

Pawn loans

With a pawn loan, you hand over a valuable item to a pawnshop, it assesses the value and gives you a loan based on that assessment. You have to repay it, with interest, or the pawnshop will keep your item. APRs can reach above 100% on this type of loan.

If you repay the loan but it takes too big a bite out of your bank account, you could end up borrowing from the pawnshop again.

No-credit-check installment loans

Some no-credit-check installment loans share similarities with payday and auto title loans, including sky-high interest rates and additional fees that make the loan less affordable than it seems.

Last updated on May 2, 2022

Methodology

NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 35 financial institutions. We collect over 45 data points from each lender, interview company representatives and compare the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar personal loan product. NerdWallet writers and editors conduct a full fact check and update annually, but also make updates throughout the year as necessary.

Our star ratings award points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including: soft credit checks to pre-qualify, competitive interest rates and no fees, transparency of rates and terms, flexible payment options, fast funding times, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to credit bureaus and financial education. We also consider regulatory actions filed by agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We weigh these factors based on our assessment of which are the most important to consumers and how meaningfully they impact consumers’ experiences.

This methodology applies only to lenders that cap interest rates at 36%, the maximum rate most financial experts and consumer advocates agree is the acceptable limit for a loan to be affordable. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for our star ratings. Read more about our ratings methodologies for personal loans and our editorial guidelines.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Emergency Loans of May 2022

Frequently asked questions