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Best Emergency Business Loans of June 2024

By Randa Kriss, Olivia Chen
Last updated on April 29, 2024
Edited byChristine Aebischer
Fact checked and reviewed

⏰ Estimated read time: 9 minutes

The right emergency business loan largely depends on why you need funding. Online lenders can provide the fastest access to capital.

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An emergency business loan provides short-term financing to help you recover from a disaster, unexpected expenses or other economic difficulties. These small-business loans are typically available from online lenders, as they offer the fastest access to capital.
The federal government may also offer emergency business loans — however, these loans are only available to businesses located in regions that have been affected by declared disasters, such as a global pandemic or severe hurricane.

How much do you need?

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We’ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business.

Once we uncover your personalized matches, our team will consult you on the process moving forward.

Here are 7 emergency business loans

LenderNerdWallet RatingMax loan amountMin. credit scoreNext steps

Headway Capital - Line of credit

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5.0/5

Best for Emergency business loans for working capital

$100,000625

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Bluevine - Line of credit

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5.0/5

Best for Same-day emergency business loans

$250,000625

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Fundbox - Line of credit

5.0/5

Best for Emergency business loans for startups

$150,000600

Funding Circle - Online term loan

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4.5/5

Best for Emergency business loans for established businesses

$500,000660

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OnDeck - Online term loan

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5.0/5

Best for Emergency short-term business loans

$250,000625

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Fora Financial - Online term loan

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4.5/5

Best for Emergency business loans for bad credit

$1,500,000570

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National Funding - Equipment Financing

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4.5/5

Best for Emergency equipment financing

$150,000600

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Here are 7 emergency business loans

Best for Emergency business loans for working capital

Headway Capital

Max Amount

$100,000

Min. Credit Score

625

Best for Same-day emergency business loans

Bluevine

Max Amount

$250,000

Min. Credit Score

625

Best for Emergency business loans for startups

Fundbox

Max Amount

$150,000

Min. Credit Score

600

Best for Emergency business loans for established businesses

Funding Circle

Max Amount

$500,000

Min. Credit Score

660

Best for Emergency short-term business loans

OnDeck

Max Amount

$250,000

Min. Credit Score

625

Best for Emergency business loans for bad credit

Fora Financial

Max Amount

$1,500,000

Min. Credit Score

570

Best for Emergency equipment financing

National Funding

Max Amount

$150,000

Min. Credit Score

600

I'M INTERESTED IN:

Our pick for

Emergency business loans for working capital

Headway’s line of credit is available in amounts up to $100,000. You may be able to get approved and receive funding in as little as 24 hours.

Headway Capital - Line of credit

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Max Loan Amount
$100,000
Min. credit score
625
Est. APR
35.00-80.00%
Headway Capital offers a fast and flexible line of credit for borrowers who may not qualify for more traditional options.

Max loan

$100,000

Min. Credit score

625

Apr range

35.00-80.00%

Headway Capital offers a fast and flexible line of credit for borrowers who may not qualify for more traditional options.

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Our pick for

Same-day emergency business loans

When you apply for a Bluevine line of credit, you may be able to receive a decision and get funded within hours.

Bluevine - Line of credit

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Max Loan Amount
$250,000
Min. credit score
625
Est. APR
20.00-50.00%
Bluevine's line of credit provides fast working capital for short-term borrowing needs.
May fund quickly

Max loan

$250,000

Min. Credit score

625

Apr range

20.00-50.00%

Bluevine's line of credit provides fast working capital for short-term borrowing needs.

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Our pick for

Emergency business loans for startups

If your new business needs capital quickly, Fundbox can offer funding as soon as the next business day. You may be able to qualify with only six months in business.

Fundbox - Line of credit

Max Loan Amount
$150,000
Min. credit score
600
Est. APR
36.00-99.00%
Fundbox offers a business line of credit to fill a cash flow gap, and qualifying is easier than with other lenders.
May fund quickly

Max loan

$150,000

Min. Credit score

600

Apr range

36.00-99.00%

Fundbox offers a business line of credit to fill a cash flow gap, and qualifying is easier than with other lenders.

Our pick for

Emergency business loans for established businesses

Funding Circle offers competitive interest rates and can fund applications in as fast as 48 hours. You’ll need at least two years in business to qualify.

Funding Circle - Online term loan

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Max Loan Amount
$500,000
Min. credit score
660
Est. APR
15.22-45.00%
Funding Circle is an option for established businesses that are financing an expansion or refinancing debt.
May fund quickly

Max loan

$500,000

Min. Credit score

660

Apr range

15.22-45.00%

Funding Circle is an option for established businesses that are financing an expansion or refinancing debt.

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Our pick for

Emergency short-term business loans

OnDeck offers business loans with repayment terms up to 24 months. You may be able to get same-day funding on loans up to $250,000.

OnDeck - Online term loan

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Max Loan Amount
$250,000
Min. credit score
625
Est. APR
27.20-99.90%
OnDeck offers a fast term loan for small-business owners with less-than-stellar credit who want to expand.
May fund quickly

Max loan

$250,000

Min. Credit score

625

Apr range

27.20-99.90%

OnDeck offers a fast term loan for small-business owners with less-than-stellar credit who want to expand.

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Our pick for

Emergency business loans for bad credit

Fora Financial offers short-term loans that can be approved and funded in 24 to 48 hours. You may be able to qualify with a minimum credit score of 570.

Fora Financial - Online term loan

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Max Loan Amount
$1,500,000
Min. credit score
570
Fora Financial can be a good fit for borrowers who may fall short of qualifying for traditional bank financing or young but established small businesses looking for speedy financing.

Max loan

$1,500,000

Min. Credit score

570

Fora Financial can be a good fit for borrowers who may fall short of qualifying for traditional bank financing or young but established small businesses looking for speedy financing.

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Our pick for

Emergency equipment financing

If you need to replace business equipment, National Funding offers equipment loans up to $150,000. Funding can be available in as little as 24 hours.

National Funding - Equipment Financing

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Max Loan Amount
$150,000
Min. credit score
600
Borrowers who can't qualify for more traditional loan options might consider National Funding for fast access to capital.

Max loan

$150,000

Min. Credit score

600

Borrowers who can't qualify for more traditional loan options might consider National Funding for fast access to capital.

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How Much Do You Need?

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What is an emergency business loan?

An emergency business loan is a short-term loan used to address unexpected expenses or gaps in cash flow that arise from emergencies or disasters. These loans can be used to cover repairs for physical damage, operating expenses or even to make improvements that will prevent damage in future disaster situations.
Online lenders typically offer the fastest business loans for emergency situations; however, they can come with high interest rates and fees. The SBA also offers disaster loans for small businesses — and while interest rates are lower, businesses must have been impacted by a declared disaster to qualify.

Pros and cons of emergency business loans

Pros

Most emergency business loans can be approved and funded quickly, depending on the nature of the situation.

Federally backed disaster funding (available in declared disaster areas) offers competitive rates and terms.

Cons

High interest rates and fees, plus short terms can make emergency business loans expensive, which can potentially put your business into a cycle of debt.

Exploitative or predatory lenders may try to take advantage of businesses seeking emergency funding.

Types of emergency business loans

Emergency business loans can provide the capital you need in a dire situation. The right option for you will depend on a range of factors, such as why you need funding, how fast you need it and your business’s qualifications.
Here are some of the most common types of emergency small-business loans:

SBA disaster loans

The federal government offers emergency business loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA disaster loan program includes four types of loans to accommodate different scenarios:
  • Home and personal property loans. Replace or repair your home or personal property after a disaster.
  • Business physical disaster loans. Replace or repair business property, such as machinery, equipment, fixtures or inventory, after a disaster.
  • Economic injury disaster loans. Help businesses meet financial obligations and operating expenses that they could typically meet if not for a disaster.
  • Military reservist injury loans. Help businesses meet operating expenses because an essential employee was called to active duty.
With the exception of the military reservist injury loan, you can only apply for an SBA disaster loan if your business is located in a declared disaster zone.
If you can qualify, these government emergency business loans offer low interest rates and long repayment terms. You can apply online through the SBA website, but keep in mind that the process may take several weeks.

Business term loans

A business term loan is a lump sum of capital that you pay back on a fixed schedule, with interest, over a predetermined period. A term loan is a good option for emergency financing when you need to pay for a one-time, specific expense, such as replacing broken equipment or damaged pipes.
Business term loans are available from both traditional and online lenders. Banks and credit unions can typically offer loans with the lowest rates and longest repayment terms; however, they can be difficult to qualify for, are notoriously slow to fund and require long, document-heavy applications.
If you need an emergency business loan more quickly, online lenders generally have simple, streamlined applications and more flexible qualification requirements. Some can fund applications within the same day — and most within a few business days. As a result, though, online emergency business loans will have shorter repayment terms and higher interest rates.
In some cases, paying a little more for faster access to the funds you need can be worth it. But be sure that you’re not taking on high interest debt that will actually make it more difficult for your business to recover in the long run.

Business lines of credit

A business line of credit allows you to draw from a set limit of funds and only pay interest on the portion of money you borrow. Business lines of credit are one of the most flexible types of business financing — making them a good option for emergency working capital needs.
Like term loans, business lines of credit are available from both traditional and online lenders. Banks will typically have the lowest interest rates on credit lines, but online lenders can offer fast funding and flexible eligibility criteria.
Working capital lines of credit may have lower maximum funding amounts than term loans — but often have revolving terms. This means you can continue to draw on the line as long as you make your payments on time and don’t exceed your credit limit.

Invoice factoring

Invoice factoring can help business owners who need emergency funding by giving them access to capital tied up in unpaid invoices.
With invoice factoring, you sell your outstanding invoices to a factoring company at a discount. The company pays you a percentage of the invoice upfront and assumes responsibility for collecting the payment from your customer. Once your customer repays the factoring company, you receive the remaining invoice amount, minus the company’s fees.
Invoice factoring is generally available from online lenders or fintech companies. Because factoring companies prioritize the value of your invoices and your customers’ payment history, this emergency business loan can be easy to qualify for and fast to fund, but can be expensive — especially if your customers are late to repay their invoices.

Merchant cash advances

With a merchant cash advance (MCA), a company provides you with a lump sum of cash that you repay using a percentage of your daily or weekly debit and credit card sales, plus fees.
Merchant cash advances are typically fast to fund — sometimes as quickly as 24 hours — and easy to qualify for. Many MCA providers can work with startups and businesses with bad credit and require minimal documentation during the application process.
MCAs are also one of the most expensive types of business financing. These products can have annual percentage rates that reach as high as 350% — making it difficult for business owners to repay what they’ve borrowed.
Generally, you should consider all other loan options before a merchant cash advance — especially if your business is already trying to deal with an emergency.

When to get an emergency business loan

You might consider getting an emergency business loan when you need to:
  • Pay for essential expenses during a slow down or change in operations.
  • Replace broken or damaged equipment.
  • Repair property damaged in a disaster.
  • Take advantage of an unexpected opportunity.

🤓 Nerdy Tip

Be wary of any lenders that push the speed of their process without transparency, or that guarantee approval. These may be predatory lenders who are trying to take advantage of your need for emergency funds.

How to apply for an emergency business loan

  1. Evaluate your financing needs. Start by thinking about how much financing you need, how much debt you can afford and consider what type of business loan would be best for your emergency situation. It may also be helpful to draft a plan that details exactly how you plan to use your capital — that way, you know how these funds will help address your immediate needs and how your business can grow in the future.
  2. Check your qualifications. The best type of emergency business loan for your business will also depend on what you can qualify for. Specific business loan requirements vary by lender, but you can consider common underwriting criteria — time in business, annual revenue, personal credit score — to know where you stand before applying. You might also think about your cash flow and available collateral. If you’re considering an SBA disaster loan, you should confirm that your business falls into a declared disaster area — and check that you meet any additional SBA loan qualifications.
  3. Research and compare lenders. As you research lenders, consider factors such as interest rates, repayment terms, loan amounts, funding speed, application process and lender reputation. It can be helpful to read reviews of lenders online or talk to former customers to verify a lender’s reputation. Keep in mind that fast business loans can often result in higher interest rates. You’ll want to make sure that you can afford any debt that you take on.
  4. Complete and submit your application. The application process varies based on the lender, but if you opt for an online lender, the process should be fairly straightforward. Along with a simple application, you’ll typically provide basic documentation, such as business and personal bank statements and tax returns, as well as business financial statements. The lender will likely require you to sign a personal guarantee as well. 

Emergency business loan alternatives

An emergency business loan may not be the right choice if your need for capital isn’t immediate — especially if you can qualify for more competitive rates and terms by waiting.
There may also be instances where taking on debt will actually harm your financial situation instead of helping, even through a disaster. In those cases, consider these alternative financing options:
  • Business credit cards. If you’re looking for a quick and revolving source of financing to cover cash flow gaps, business credit cards can be a good option. Many business credit cards require good credit — a score of 690 or higher — to qualify.  They can provide benefits like flexibility and spending rewards, but business credit cards can also become expensive if you’re not diligent about making payments. 
  • Friends and family loans. Friends and family loans can help you save money on interest, and may give you fast access to capital because there’s no underwriting process; however, it’s a good idea to put some sort of agreement in writing to avoid personal disputes.  
  • Self-funding. If you have a business emergency fund or other money in savings, this may be the time to use it. Just be sure you have a plan to build your savings back up so you’re not vulnerable in the event of future emergencies or opportunities.
Steve Nicastro, a former NerdWallet writer, contributed to this article.
Last updated on April 29, 2024

Methodology

NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates small-business loan products from traditional banks and online lenders. We collect over 30 data points on each lender using company websites and public documents. We may also go through a lender’s initial application flow and reach out to company representatives. 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 small-business friendly features, including:
- Transparency of rates and terms. - Flexible payment options. - Fast funding times. - Accessible customer service. - Reporting of payments to business credit bureaus. - Responsible lending practices.
We weigh these factors based on our assessment of which are the most important to small-business owners and how meaningfully they impact borrowers’ experiences.
NerdWallet does not receive compensation for our star ratings. Read more about our ratings methodology for small-business loans and our editorial guidelines.

Wondering if you qualify?

It’s possible to get a business loan even if you have bad credit. Bad-credit business loans are available from alternative sources, like online or nonprofit lenders.

Learn more

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