Best Emergency Loans for Bad Credit

Upgrade offers low credit score requirements and flexible loan amounts

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Financial emergencies come in many shapes and sizes. Perhaps your car breaks down, and the repairs you need to get it back on the road are expensive. Other financial emergencies could stem from a job loss, an illness, a funeral, or any number of unexpected circumstances. If you’re facing one of these situations without enough savings to get through it, and you need to borrow money in a hurry, an emergency loan could help you cover the cost. 

Finding the right loan can be stressful when you need fast access to cash, but if you have the added complication of bad credit, getting an emergency loan may seem impossible. Fortunately, that’s not the case. You may still have emergency loan options even if you have credit problems.

Emergency Loans for Bad Credit of July 2022

Below are Investopedia's top-rated lenders, loan amount and availability may vary by state.
Best Overall
Upgrade
Investopedia's Rating
4.3
  • 5.94% - 35.97% APR with Autopay Discount
  • 550 Estimated Min. Credit Score
  • $1,000 - $50,000 Loan Amount
Best Credit Union
Navy Federal Credit Union
Investopedia's Rating
4.2
  • 7.49% - 18.00% APR
  • 0 Estimated Min. Credit Score
  • $250 - $50,000 Loan Amount
Best for Same-Day Funding
Rocket Loans
Investopedia's Rating
4.2
  • 7.73% - 29.99% APR with Autopay Discount
  • 580 Estimated Min. Credit Score
  • $2,000 - $45,000 Loan Amount
Best for a Variety of Uses
Avant
Investopedia's Rating
4.1
  • 9.95% - 35.99% APR
  • 580 Estimated Min. Credit Score
  • $2,000 - $35,000 Loan Amount
Best for Low Fees
LendingPoint
Investopedia's Rating
4.1
  • 9.99% - 35.99% APR
  • 580 Estimated Min. Credit Score
  • $2,000 - $35,600 Loan Amount
Best for No Origination Fee
U.S. Bank
Investopedia's Rating
3.1
  • 5.99% - 19.49% APR with Autopay Discount
  • 660 Estimated Min. Credit Score
  • $1,000 - $50,000 Loan Amount
If youre not seeing anything in the results that are a good fit for your needs, consider warranties from these companies:
Why Trust Us Investopedia collected key data points from several lenders to identify the most important factors to borrowers. We used this data to review each lender for fees, accessibility, repayment terms, and other features to provide unbiased, comprehensive reviews to ensure our readers make the right borrowing decision for their needs. Read our Full Methodology
38 Lenders reviewed
40 Loan features considered
1,520 Data points analyzed
112 Primary data sources used

Best Overall : Upgrade

Investopedia's Rating
4.3

Upgrade
  • APR Range: 5.94% - 35.97%
  • Time To Receive Loan: 1 Days
  • Loan Amount: $1,000 - $50,000
Why We Chose It

Upgrade can help eligible borrowers with credit scores as low as 550 get approved for emergency loans of up to $50,000. It also offers repayment terms of up to 84 months.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Offers a pre-qualification option

  • Secured personal loan option available

  • Long maximum repayment term

Cons
  • Origination fees can be high (up to 8%)

  • Lowest APRs reserved for most creditworthy borrowers

  • Does not offer personal loan refinancing

Overview

Upgrade is our top choice for the best overall emergency loan for bad credit and the best flexible repayment term. Not only is Upgrade able to approve eligible borrowers with credit scores as low as 550 for emergency loans, but it may offer a secured option if you can’t qualify without collateral or you’d like a better rate. These value-added features make it stand out from its competitors. 

Upgrade offers loans in all 50 states but not in the District of Columbia. Eligible borrowers can get personal loans in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $50,000, with flexible repayment terms of 24 to 84 months and current APRs of 5.94% to 35.97%. These rates are inclusive of origination fees of 2.9% to 8%.

As is typical, the better your credit, the lower the APR you’re likely to get with Upgrade. Upgrade also offers an APR discount to those who enroll in autopay and use their loan proceeds to pay off some existing debt directly. If approved, you may be able to receive funding as soon as one business day.

For more information, see the full Upgrade personal loans review.

Best Credit Union : Navy Federal Credit Union

Investopedia's Rating
4.2

Navy Federal Credit Union logo
  • APR Range: 7.49% - 18.00%
  • Time To Receive Loan: 1 Days
  • Loan Amount: $250 - $50,000
Why We Chose It

Navy Federal Credit Union offers personal loans ranging from $250 to $50,000. Plus, it has no minimum credit score requirement and same-day funding is available.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • No origination fees

  • Long repayment terms available for certain loan types

Cons
  • No pre-qualification option

  • Membership is required to apply for a loan

Overview

Navy Federal Credit Union is our top choice among credit unions offering emergency loans for bad credit. This lender offers loans as small as $250 and as large as $50,000, with current APRs ranging from 7.49% to 18%. It also has no minimum credit score requirement for borrowers, and it’s possible to get funded the same day you’re approved for a loan. Many other lenders may take several days to disburse loans, which can be problematic if you need quick funding for an emergency expense. 

Navy Federal charges no origination fees, and borrowers can also benefit from long repayment terms of up to 180 months for Navy Federal home improvement personal loans, much longer than many other credit unions.

While Navy Federal does offer several benefits for borrowers seeking emergency loans, it doesn’t have a pre-qualification option. This means that you’ll need to submit a full application and undergo a hard credit check in order to determine if you qualify for a loan. A hard credit check can cause your credit score to dip, so that’s something to consider as you’re comparing loans. 

In addition, you’ll need to be a Navy Federal Credit Union member in order to apply for its personal loans. Membership is only open to members of the armed forces, veterans, retired service members, qualifying family members, and Department of Defense personnel. 

For more information, see the full Navy Federal personal loans review.

Read the full Navy Federal Credit Union Personal Loans Review

Best for Same-Day Funding : Rocket Loans

Investopedia's Rating
4.2

Rocket Loans
  • APR Range: 7.73% - 29.99%
  • Time To Receive Loan: 1 Days
  • Loan Amount: $2,000 - $45,000
Why We Chose It

If you need funding quickly, a personal loan from Rocket Loans could be a great option. Borrowers may receive funds as soon as the same day they apply, which can be helpful for covering an emergency expense.

Pros
  • Low minimum credit score requirement (580)

  • Has pre-qualification option

Cons
  • Limited repayment terms—36 or 60 months

  • Does not allow co-borrowers or co-signers

Overview

Rocket Loans offers quick funding for its personal loans. In certain cases, loans may be disbursed to borrowers as soon as the same day of loan approval. This can be beneficial if you need money quickly to cover an emergency expense. 

In addition to fast funding, Rocket has a low credit score requirement; borrowers may qualify for its personal loans with a credit score of just 580. It also lets you pre-qualify with a soft credit check, so you can view rates and terms you might qualify for without impacting your credit score. As with other lenders, if you decide to move forward with a loan, you’ll undergo a hard credit check.

Rocket offers loans of $2,000 to $45,000, with repayment terms of 36 or 60 months. Its current APRs range from 6.72% to 29.99%, and borrowers pay origination fees between 1% and 6% of the total loan amount. The origination fee is deducted from your total loan balance, so the amount you receive will be slightly lower than the amount you apply for.

For more information, see the full Rocket Loans Personal Loans review.

Read the full Rocket Loans Personal Loans Review

Best for a Variety of Uses : Avant

Investopedia's Rating
4.1

Avant
  • APR Range: 9.95% - 35.99%
  • Time To Receive Loan: 1 Days
  • Loan Amount: $2,000 - $35,000
Why We Chose It

Avant personal loans can be used to consolidate debt, pay for unexpected medical expenses or home repairs, and more. The option to cover a variety of costs with few restrictions makes Avant a great option for borrowers seeking flexibility.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Loan can be refinanced for better rates and terms

  • Pre-qualification available

Cons
  • Smaller maximum loan amounts

  • Possible high APR

  • Limited availability

Overview

Avant personal loans can be used to pay for almost any expense. Whether you want to consolidate high-interest debt or need funds to offset the cost of an unplanned surgery, a loan from Avant is worth considering. 

Besides allowing applicants with credit scores as low as 580 to potentially qualify for an emergency loan, another thing that sets Avant apart from competitors is that it offers loan refinancing. This can be beneficial if you want to extend or shorten your repayment term, apply for a larger loan, or see if you can qualify for a lower interest rate. Avant offers loans ranging from $2,000 to $35,000 with flexible repayment terms of 24 to 60 months to borrowers in 39 states.

Avant charges an origination fee of up to 4.75% if you decide to proceed with the loan. This fee is factored into the loan’s current APR range of 9.95% to 35.99%. Although this APR range is relatively high, the ability to get approved for a loan even if you have bad credit is a plus. Avant will use a soft credit check to see if you’re likely to qualify for a loan (a hard inquiry will be submitted if you decide to proceed). If approved, you can get funded as soon as the next business day.

For more information, see the full Avant personal loans review.

Read the full Avant Personal Loans Review

Best for Low Fees : LendingPoint

Investopedia's Rating
4.1

Lending point logo
  • APR Range: 9.99% - 35.99%
  • Time To Receive Loan: 1 Days
  • Loan Amount: $2,000 - $35,600
Why We Chose It

LendingPoint is a great option for fee-conscious borrowers, as there are no late payment fees for its personal loans. You also won’t need to worry about incurring a prepayment penalty if you choose to pay off your loan early.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Next-day funding possible

  • Pre-qualification option available

Cons
  • Average APR is relatively high

  • Does not allow co-signers or co-borrowers

Overview

LendingPoint is a great option if you’re looking for an emergency loan with minimal fees. This lender doesn’t charge late payment fees or prepayment penalties, and it also allows you to pre-qualify for a loan without hurting your credit. As part of the pre-qualification process, LendingPoint runs a soft credit check to see which rates and terms you might get, though a hard credit inquiry will be used if you decide to proceed with the loan. If approved, you can get funding as soon as the next business day. 

LendingPoint offers loans of $2,000 to $36,500 with terms of 24 to 60 months, and loans are available to those with credit scores as low as 580. Its loans have origination fees of 0% to 6%, and these fees may be deducted from the total loan funds before they’re disbursed to you. Its current APRs are relatively high, ranging from 9.99% to 35.99%.

LendingPoint has a large lending footprint, offering personal loans in 48 states and the District of Columbia. Its loans aren’t currently available in Nevada and West Virginia.

For more information, see the full LendingPoint personal loans review.

Read the full LendingPoint Personal Loans Review

Best for No Origination Fee : U.S. Bank

Investopedia's Rating
3.1

U.S. Bank logo
  • APR Range: 5.99% - 19.49%
  • Time To Receive Loan: 1 Days
  • Loan Amount: $1,000 - $50,000
Why We Chose It

Personal loans from U.S. Bank have no origination fee, can arrive quickly, and don’t require good credit to qualify.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Funds available as soon as the next day

  • Minimum credit score of only 300

  • Personal loan calculator to estimate rates and monthly payments

Cons
  • Only U.S. Bank customers may borrow more than $25,000

  • Maximum repayment terms of 60 months for non-U.S. Bank customers

  • May need to be a U.S. Bank customer to close applications online

Overview

U.S. Bank offers inexpensive loans that come with no origination fees and relatively low interest rates. You can apply for a loan whether or not you’re currently a U.S. Bank customer, but customers will have some advantages. Being a U.S. Bank customer typically means having a U.S. Bank checking or savings account.

Current customers can borrow $1,000 to $50,000 while non-customers are limited to $25,000. Customers can choose loan terms of 12 to 84 months, but non-customers are limited to 60 months. And customers can typically finish up their loan applications online; if you’re not a customer, you may need to visit a local branch to complete the process and get funded (but U.S. Bank doesn’t have branches in every state).

You may receive your loan funds within one business day of approval, although disbursement could take longer if it’s being sent to a non-U.S. Bank account.

You can check your ability to qualify quickly with U.S. Bank’s personal loan calculator, which can estimate your APR and monthly payment based on your location, the amount you want to borrow, the term length, and your credit score range. Take note that the best rates include a 0.50% autopay discount. You can also submit more personal details to see your pre-qualification status and get a better idea of your eligibility.

For more information, see the full U.S. Bank personal loans review.

Read the full U.S. Bank Personal Loans Review

Compare the Emergency Loans for Bad Credit of July 2022

Overall Rating Best For
APR Range
Average Origination Fee
Late Fee
Time To Receive Loan
Loan Amount
Latest Repayment
Reset All
Upgrade
4.3
Best Overall 5.94% - 35.97% 2.90% - 8.00% $0.00 - $10.00 1 Days $1,000 - $50,000 84 Months Check Rates
Hide, not for me
Navy Federal Credit Union
4.2
Best Credit Union 7.49% - 18.00% 0.00% - 0.00% $29.00 1 Days $250 - $50,000 180 Months Check Rates
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Rocket Loans
4.2
Best for Same-Day Funding 7.73% - 29.99% 1.00% - 6.00% $15.00 - $15.00 1 Days $2,000 - $45,000 60 Months Check Rates
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Avant
4.1
Best for a Variety of Uses 9.95% - 35.99% 0.00% - 4.75% $25.00 - $25.00 1 Days $2,000 - $35,000 60 Months Check Rates
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LendingPoint
4.1
Best for Low Fees 9.99% - 35.99% 0.00% - 6.00% $0.00 - $0.00 1 Days $2,000 - $35,600 60 Months Check Rates
Hide, not for me
U.S. Bank
3.1
Best for No Origination Fee 5.99% - 19.49% 0.00% - 0.00% N/A 1 Days $1,000 - $50,000 60 Months Check Rates
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*APR ranges for some companies include a discount for automatic payments or existing bank customers.

Final Verdict

Contrary to popular belief, it’s possible to get a personal loan even if you have bad credit. This is why it’s important to consider all loan options before turning to high-cost, predatory loans like payday loans when you face an emergency. You may be able to find a more affordable option, even if you have bad credit.

We chose Upgrade as our top lender for the best emergency loan for bad credit because it offers a competitive rate of 5.94% to 35.97%, loans up to $50,000, and repayment terms up to 84 months. Plus, you could qualify with a credit score as low as 550 and you have the option to apply with a co-borrower. What’s more, Upgrade can get you the emergency loan funds you need as quickly as one business day after your loan is approved. 

Guide for Choosing the Best Emergency Loans for Bad Credit

Do You Qualify for an Emergency Loan If You Have Bad Credit? 

Having bad credit doesn’t mean you can’t qualify for an emergency loan. Rather, you’ll need to be able to show that you have income sufficient to repay the loan, usually measured by your debt-to-income ratio. Plus, your credit reports will need to show that whatever caused your bad credit score has been resolved (e.g., you’re not delinquent on any of your loans and you’ve resolved any tax liens or other judgments.)

If your credit issues haven’t been resolved or you don’t have enough income to repay the loan on your own, then you might consider applying for an emergency loan with a co-applicant. This is because you’ll be able to rely on your co-applicant’s good credit history rather than your own to get qualified. If you choose this option, make sure to repay the loan or you could damage your relationship with your co-applicant. Remember, delinquencies will affect their credit scores. 

Comparing Emergency Loan Lenders for Bad Credit

When considering an emergency loan, some of the most important factors to consider include how much the loan will cost, the terms you can get, and how quickly you can apply and get funded. Some of the most important factors to consider when comparing emergency loan lenders for bad credit are:

  • How much the emergency loan will cost. The cost of an emergency loan is made up of the interest rate you’re charged and the fees you’ll pay to get the loan. A loan’s APR, or annual percentage rate, represents the sum of these two costs. For this reason, the APR is the most useful cost to evaluate when comparing lenders.
  • What terms you can get on the loan. Before choosing a lender, ensure it offers the repayment terms you need. Shorter repayment terms will result in higher payments since you’ll pay the loan off more quickly. This means you’ll also end up paying fewer interest charges over time. Look for a lender that offers the shortest repayment term you can comfortably afford.
  • How quickly you can apply and get funded. It’s also important to evaluate how easy it is to apply for the loan and how quickly you’ll get funded. These two factors are often related since lenders that offer an easy online application process may also offer fast funding. Many of the best lenders offer approval in minutes and funding in as few as one to three business days (sometimes even the same day).

How to Apply for an Emergency Loan if You Have Bad Credit

Before applying for an emergency loan, first gather your personally identifiable information (e.g., Social Security Number, date of birth, address), income information, and details about the funding you need (e.g., loan amount and purpose). This will make the application process easier, as lenders will require you to provide this information. 

You’ll usually submit a preliminary application with basic details to see if you can qualify, which won’t affect your credit if the lender uses a soft credit check. The lender will tell you if you can qualify and the rates and terms you might be able to receive. If the rates and terms are acceptable to you, you’ll proceed with the full application. A hard credit inquiry will be performed, which will affect your credit scores, and you may need to provide additional documentation, like pay stubs or bank statements.

If you’re approved for a loan, you’ll need to review and accept the final loan terms. Then, the lender will send you the funds in the manner specified in your application. For instance, depositing the funds into your checking account or disbursing the funds directly to your creditors. Finally, you’ll need to set up your account via an online portal or mobile app so you can manage your loan.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is an Emergency Loan?

An emergency loan is a term used to describe several different methods of accessing cash for sudden, unexpected expenses. One of the most common types of emergency loans—and often one of the most affordable options—is a personal loan. However, an emergency loan may come in the form of a cash advance, a high-cost payday loan (avoid these if possible), a loan from a friend or family member, or a lower-cost payday alternative loan (PAL) from a credit union.

Where Can You Get an Emergency Loan If You Have Bad Credit?

Multiple types of lenders offer emergency loans for bad credit, including: 

  • Online lenders
  • Credit unions
  • Traditional banks
  • Credit card companies (cash advance)
  • Relatives and friends
  • Payday lenders

Remember, just because a borrowing option is available doesn’t mean it’s a good choice. Credit card cash advances, for example, are notoriously expensive and might damage your credit score by driving up your credit utilization rate

It’s also a good idea to avoid payday loans and title loans whenever possible. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) warns that the average 2-week payday loan features a steep APR that’s equivalent to nearly 400%.

Will an Emergency Loan Impact My Credit Score?

Some types of emergency loans can affect your credit score, while others will not. If a lender doesn’t report your account to the credit bureaus, the loan won’t influence your credit score—unless you default and a collection agency adds the bad debt to your credit reports at a later date. However, if a lender does share your account details with the credit bureaus, that’s a different story.

Banks, credit unions, and online lenders commonly report account details to the credit bureaus. Payday lenders and title lenders generally do not.

When a lender reports an emergency loan to the credit bureaus, the way you manage the account dictates whether it will help or hurt your credit score. If you make your payments on time, the account may benefit your credit score in the long run. However, if you make late payments or become past due on your debt, that emergency loan could hurt your credit score instead.

How Fast Can I Get an Emergency Loan?

Numerous lenders offer fast funding to qualified borrowers. Some personal loan lenders may even deposit the funds into your bank account the same day you’re approved for financing. 

On the other hand, loan funding can sometimes take several days or even up to a few weeks. Certain lenders may take longer to process your loan application or release your funds than others. There’s also a chance that your personal bank or credit union may hold the funds a lender deposits into your account for a few days before you can access the money. 

Are There Alternatives to Emergency Loans?

A couple of alternatives to emergency loans include negotiating hardship payment plans with your creditors or asking your employer for a paycheck advance. If these options don’t work for you, then you could possibly get a cash advance from your credit card issuer (use caution as these are expensive) or a payday alternative loan (PAL) of $200 to $1,000 from a credit union. PALs may be a good option as they must be repaid within one to six months and the APRs can’t exceed 28%.

Although you may be tempted to get a payday loan when you’re facing an emergency, use extreme caution before resorting to this funding option. Not only is this type of loan very expensive but you might end up getting stuck in a payday borrowing cycle that’s difficult to escape.

How We Chose the Best Emergency Loans for Bad Credit

Our team evaluated 38 lenders and collected 1,520 data points before selecting our top choices. We weighed more than 20 criteria and gave a higher weight to those with a more significant impact to potential borrowers. 

The top picks were selected based on factors like membership requirements (weighted 15%), average fixed APR (weighted 15%), and average origination fees (weighted 10%). 

We also took into account the flexibility of repayment terms, helpful features like pre-qualification, and whether a co-signer or joint applications are permitted to ensure borrowers get the best possible experience. For further information about our selection criteria and process, our complete methodology is available.

Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
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  5. Avant. "State Licenses."

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  8. U.S. Bank. "Find a U.S. Bank Branch and ATM Location Near You."

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