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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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We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

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.

Online lenders provide the fastest time to funding. Compare these options for fast cash:

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 timeGet started
Avant
4.5 NerdWallet rating
Average of two days
Best Egg
4.0 NerdWallet rating
Typically next day
Discover
4.5 NerdWallet rating
Next day, up to a week
LendingPoint
3.0 NerdWallet rating
Next day, in some cases
LightStream
5.0 NerdWallet rating
As soon as the same day
Marcus
5.0 NerdWallet rating
Two business days
Mariner Finance
4.0 NerdWallet rating
Typically one day
OneMain Financial
4.0 NerdWallet rating
Same day
RocketLoans
4.0 NerdWallet rating
Typically 24 hours
Upstart
4.0 NerdWallet rating
Typically one day
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.

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 timeGet started
Citibank
4.5 NerdWallet rating
Five business days
Earnest
4.0 NerdWallet rating
Within a week
LendingClub
4.0 NerdWallet rating
Up to one week
Wells Fargo
3.5 NerdWallet rating
Typically same day
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. Take the quiz below to explore your options:

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