Financial emergencies come in many shapes and sizes. Perhaps your car broke down, and your savings won't cover the repairs. Or perhaps you've suffered a job loss, an illness, a funeral, or any number of unexpected circumstances. If you need to borrow money in a hurry, an emergency loan could help you cover the cost.
Emergencies are stressful enough, but if you have bad credit, getting a loan may seem impossible. Fortunately, that’s not the case. You may still have emergency loan options even if you have credit problems. We reviewed lenders based on rates, minimum credit scores, customer service, and other factors. Here's our list of the best emergency loans for bad credit.
Emergency Loans for Bad Credit of December 2022
Best Overall : Upgrade
- APR Range: 7.46% - 35.97%
- Time To Receive Loan: 1 Days
- Loan Amount: $1,000 - $50,000
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.
Offers a pre-qualification option
Secured personal loan option available
Long maximum repayment term
Origination fees can be high (up to 8%)
Lowest APRs reserved for most creditworthy borrowers
Does not offer personal loan refinancing
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 7.96% 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 in as soon as one business day.
Best for Same-Day Funding : Rocket Loans
- APR Range: 8.42% - 29.99%
- Time To Receive Loan: 1 Days
- Loan Amount: $2,000 - $45,000
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.
Low minimum credit score requirement (580)
Has pre-qualification option
Limited repayment terms—36 or 60 months
Does not allow co-borrowers or co-signers
Rocket Loans offers quick funding for its personal loans. 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 8.416% 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.
Best for a Variety of Uses : Avant
- APR Range: 9.95% - 35.95%
- Time To Receive Loan: 1 Days
- Loan Amount: $2,000 - $35,000
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.
Loan can be refinanced for better rates and terms
Smaller maximum loan amounts
APR may be high
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 12 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 35.95%. 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.
Best for Low Fees : LendingPoint
- APR Range: 7.99% - 35.99%
- Time To Receive Loan: 1 Days
- Loan Amount: $2,000 - $35,600
LendingPoint is a great option for fee-conscious borrowers because there are no late payment fees for its personal loans. You also won’t need to worry about incurring a prepayment penalty if you pay off your loan early.
Next-day funding possible
Pre-qualification option available
Average APR is relatively high
Does not allow co-signers or co-borrowers
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 72 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 7.99% 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.
Best for No Origination Fee : U.S. Bank
- APR Range: 7.49% - 19.99%
- Time To Receive Loan: 1 Days
- Loan Amount: $1,000 - $50,000
Personal loans from U.S. Bank have no origination fee, can arrive quickly, and don’t require good credit to qualify.
Funds available as soon as the next day
Minimum credit score of only 300
Personal loan calculator to estimate rates and monthly payments
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
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. Rates range from 8.24% to 20.74%.
Best Credit Union : Navy Federal Credit Union
- APR Range: 7.49% - 18.00%
- Time To Receive Loan: 1 Days
- Loan Amount: $250 - $50,000
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.
No origination fees
Long repayment terms available for certain loan types
No pre-qualification option
Membership is required to apply for a loan
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.
Compare the Emergency Loans for Bad Credit of December 2022*APR ranges for some companies include a discount for automatic payments or existing bank customers.
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 7.46% 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).
Applying for an emergency loan with a co-applicant is an option if your credit issues haven’t been resolved or you don’t have enough income to repay the loan on your own. 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, 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 method 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?
Many 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.
Can You Get an Emergency Loan With No Credit Check?
Although some lenders do provide loans without credit checks, they're not recommended. Such lenders (like payday loan lenders) are typically seen as predatory, and usually have high origination fees, high APRs, and other fees. They may seem like a welcome opportunity if you're in an emergency, but use extreme caution. Not only are these types of loans very expensive, but you might end up getting stuck in a payday borrowing cycle that’s difficult to escape.
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%.
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.