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Quick Loans: How to Borrow Money Fast

Online personal loans put money in your pocket — often within a day or two. Before you borrow, consider interest-free fast-cash options.
March 16, 2018
Loans, Personal Loans
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Sometimes you need quick cash, whether it’s for repairing a broken-down car, taking care of an overdue utility bill, or paying for a trip to the emergency room.

If you have to borrow that money, one option is an online personal loan, which can put cash in your hands within a day or two. Loans from banks or credit unions could take a few days to a week or more.

Before you take cash from any lender, shop around, especially if you have no credit or bad credit. The trade-off for borrowing fast cash could be a sky-high annual percentage rate and interest payments that leave you in debt for years.

Quick loans in a day or two

A credit card cash advance and loans from payday lenders and pawnshops can get you money quickly. However, these options carry high APRs. Loans from reputable online lenders often take longer, but they have lower APRs and more favorable repayment terms.

Loan amounts usually range between $2,000 and $50,000. Rates are based on your credit profile and are capped at 36%. The table below lists lenders that typically make loans in as little as a day or two.

LenderFunding timeAPR Loan amount
Avant
4 stars out of 5
Average of two days9.95% - 35.99%$2,000 - $35,000
Best Egg
4 stars out of 5
Typically next day5.99% - 29.99%$2,000 - $35,000
Discover
5 stars out of 5
Next day, up to a week6.99% - 24.99%$2,500 - $35,000
LendingPoint
4 stars out of 5
Next day, in some cases15.49% - 34.99%$2,000 - $25,000
LightStream
4 stars out of 5
As soon as the same day3.09% - 14.24% (with autopay)$5,000 - $100,000
Marcus
5 stars out of 5
Two business days6.99% - 23.99%$3,500 - $40,000
Mariner Finance
4 stars out of 5
Typically one day24.0% - 36.0%$1,000 - $25,000
OneMain Financial
4 stars out of 5
Same day17.59% - 35.99%$1,500 - $25,000
RocketLoans
4 stars out of 5
Typically 24 hours5.98% - 28.99%$2,000 - $35,000
Upstart
4 stars out of 5
Typically one day 7.43% - 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000
Click to compare estimated rates on NerdWallet.



Things to know before you take a quick loan:

  • Calculate your estimated payments to determine whether you can afford the loan. For example, a borrower with poor credit who takes a two-year, $10,000 loan will pay an estimated APR of 27.2% and monthly payments of $545, according to NerdWallet’s personal loan calculator.
  • Gather the data you need to apply for a personal loan so the lender can verify your identity and other information easily.
  • Shop at multiple lenders and pick the loan with the lowest rate for a given loan term. Most online lenders run a soft credit check to estimate your rate, so your credit score won’t take a hit.

Quick loans in a week or less

If you have more time, you have more choices. Many online lenders and some large banks offer loans in about a week, although the exact amount of time depends on your individual application.

Rates vary from one lender to another, so it’s worth checking rates at several lenders to see which gives you the lowest rate and fees, plus payment flexibility.

» MORE: Check your rates from multiple lenders using NerdWallet’s tool

Citibank is a national bank that offers personal loans within a week, mainly to borrowers with good credit. Existing Citibank customers may get a loan more quickly, as well as a higher loan amount and a rate discount for making automatic loan payments.

LenderFunding timeAPR Loan amount
Citibank
4.5 stars out of 5
Five business days Varies; 7.99% - 16.49% for a $10,000, 3-year loanVaries;
$2,000 - $12,500 for new customers
Earnest
4.0 stars out of 5
Within a week5.49% - 18.24%$5,000 - $75,000
LendingClub
4.5 stars out of 5
Up to one week5.99% - 35.89%$1,000 - $40,000
Wells Fargo
3.5 stars out of 5
Typically same day6.99% - 23.99%$3,000 - $100,000
Click to compare estimated rates on NerdWallet.



If you can wait more than a week, try your local credit union for a loan. Many offer affordable personal loans, especially if you have bad credit. Federal credit unions also have “payday alternative loans” — with a maximum APR of 28% — and starter credit cards for people who need to borrow a few hundred dollars.

Quick cash without a loan

Before you make the decision to borrow, see if you can delay paying for the emergency expense or find interest-free sources of cash:

  • If you’re facing a large medical bill, review the charges and try negotiating instead of taking the bill at face value.
  • If you have a job, ask your employer for an advance on your next paycheck; some employers have assistance programs for their employees. Also consider using an app like Earnin that lets you draw from your own paycheck before payday.
  • Ask family or friends for help, using a contract that details your plan to pay them back.
  • Check out other ways to make fast cash.

Updated March 16, 2018.

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