The Best Emergency Loans for 2023

Don't have the cash to pay for an emergency? A personal loan could offer relief. Emergency loans are personal loans that offer an easy application process and fast funding.
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Emergency expenses are bound to pop up at the worst possible times. If you don’t have the cash to pay for an emergency, a personal loan could offer relief. In most cases, emergency loans are personal loans that offer an easy application process and fast funding.

Take a closer look at how emergency loans work, the best emergency loan lenders, and how to get an emergency loan. We’ll also go over the pros and cons of this financing option as well as frequently asked questions related to it.

Compare Best Emergency Personal Loans

What we researched
Origination fees are based on the amount of the loan. We looked for lenders with the lowest fees.
Types of Loans
From medical emergencies to other major expenses, we looked at the best lenders for a variety of situations.
We’ve reviewed over a dozen lenders to give consumers an in-depth look at what lenders do well and where they can do better.
We found the best offers based on what our consumers need and want.
We reviewed the most up-to-date interest rates based on factors that include credit history, earnings, and more to show you the best.
We reviewed lenders to find which ones provide loans to borrowers with a variety of needs and situations.

How We Chose

We surveyed dozens of lenders and personal loans to bring you the top ones based on your personal situation and needs including bad or fair credit, low income, quick funding, loan amount, debt consolidation, ease of application, and more.

Our methodology

AmONE conducted an audit of over 30 loan companies to find which ones offer personal loans.

Once we narrowed down the options, we analyzed the personal loans offered by 20 lenders and looked at over 10 data points, including credit score requirements, fees, accessibility, customer experience, APR rates, loan amounts, length of time to pay, the application process, and more. We picked the best personal loans by scoring loans based on those features.

But we don’t stop there. AmONE will continue to conduct spot-checks to ensure the most recent loan information is included here and update our list annually.

Best Emergency Loan Companies

OneMain: Best with a co-signer

Founded in 1927 in Indiana, OneMain Financial offers personal loans for non-prime borrowers or those with credit scores of 659 or below. You can secure a loan of up to $20,000 and choose a repayment term between 24 and 60 months. Since OneMain allows cosigners, you can improve your chances of approval or qualify for a larger loan amount.

Why it’s good for emergencies: Depending on your own situation and the terms of your loan, as soon as one hour after you close on your loan, you may receive the money in your bank account, as long as you have a bank-issued debit card.

Loan amount: $1,500-$20,000

Availability and restrictions: Not available in Arkansas, Alaska, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, or Vermont.

Upgrade: Best for lower credit scores

San Francisco-based Upgrade began in 2017 and offers personal loans that are easy to apply for, sometimes even if you have fair or poor credit. You may be eligible for an Upgrade loan with a credit score as low as 620. Its high maximum loan amount of $50,000 could make it a good option for larger financial emergencies.

Why it’s good for emergencies: You can receive your funds within one day of being approved and finalizing your loan agreement.

Loan amount: $1,000 to $50,000

Availability and restrictions: Not available in Iowa, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia.

Upstart: Best for low amounts

Upstart’s automated service is designed to streamline the loan process. According to Upstart, 99% of its applicants receive their money one business day after they accept their loan terms. Since Upstart’s loans start at $1,000, they might make sense if you have a smaller emergency expense.

Why it’s good for emergencies: If your loan application is accepted before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time Monday through Friday, you can get your funds in as little as one business day.

Loan amount: $1,000 to $50,000

Availability and restrictions: N/A

LendingPoint: Best for fast approval

LendingPoint is geared towards borrowers with subprime credit and also considers job and financial history, income, and whether their credit is improving. As long as you’re at least 18, have a valid Social Security number, and have a minimum annual income of $25,000, there’s a good chance you’ll get approved for a LendingPoint emergency loan. The lender states it serves “85% of consumers with a FICO score.”

Why it’s good for emergencies: Upon approval, you may receive your funds as quickly as one business day.

Loan amount: $2,000-$36,500

Availability and restrictions: Not available in Nevada and West Virginia.

Best Egg: Best for good credit

Best Egg has been around since 2014 and offers loans to borrowers with good credit. If you have a minimum credit score of 640 and a debt-to-income (DTI) ratio under 30%, you can lock in an emergency loan with a great interest rate. You might be able to save even more money if you enroll in the direct-pay option.

Why it’s good for emergencies: Depending on when you apply and how complete your application is, you may be able to receive funding within one to three business days.

Loan amount: $2,000-$50,000

Availability and restrictions: Not available in Iowa, Vermont, West Virginia, the District of Columbia or U.S. Territories.

How Do Emergency Loans Work?

Offered by banks, credit unions, and online lenders, emergency loans are personal loans you can use to cover a variety of unforeseen expenses. Once you take one out, you’ll receive the cash you need to get through a surprise financial obstacle like a car repair or medical bill.

Emergency loans are installment loans, meaning you’ll pay them back in increments or installments over an agreed-upon term, which can range from a few months to a few years or even longer. While interest rates vary from lender to lender, your rate will likely be based on your credit, income, and debts.

Depending on the lender you choose, you may receive funding the same day you apply or within a few business days via direct deposit, check, or a prepaid card. You’ll pay back what you borrow over time plus any interest and fees, usually through fixed monthly payments.

What Can You Use an Emergency Loan For?

Since emergency loans are versatile, you may put their proceeds toward just about anything. If your car or HVAC system breaks down unexpectedly, for example, an emergency loan may be just what you need to fund the repair costs.

You can also use an emergency loan to pay for out-of-pocket medical costs, medical treatment for a beloved pet, or a loved one’s funeral expenses. In addition, if you lose your job, you can turn to an emergency loan to help you with your rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, and other basic expenses until you get back on your feet.

How to Get an Emergency Loan

To apply for an emergency loan, follow these steps:

Step 1: Compare

Take the time to do your research. Once you find a few options, compare interest rates, terms, funding times, origination fees, special features, and requirements.

Step 2: Read reviews

Check out our reviews on dozens of lenders to see what they offer.

Step 3: Prequalify

Try to prequalify for an emergency loan to see what types of interest rates and terms you may qualify for. Since prequalifying won’t impact your credit, you have nothing to lose.

Step 4: Apply

Your application can likely be completed online. You’ll share basic personal information like your name and birth date as well as financial details. You may also need to upload documents like a government-issued ID, paystubs, and tax forms. During this step, the lender will likely look at your credit report.

Step 5: Get a decision and funding

If you’re approved for a personal loan and chose a lender that offers fast funding, you shouldn’t have to wait long for the money to be distributed to you through direct deposit, a check, or a prepaid card. In most cases, direct deposit is the fastest way to collect the funds.

Emergency Loans Pros and Cons

Just like all financial products, emergency loans come with pros and cons, which may include the following.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are alternatives to emergency loans?

A 0% APR credit card may make sense if you’re able to repay the balance by the end of the introductory period. You may also reach out to your creditor to discuss payment plans or hardship options.

Can I get an emergency loan with bad credit?

Yes, even if you have a FICO score between 350 and 579, you may be able to lock in a personal loan for emergencies. To increase your chances of approval, however, apply with a co-signer or choose a secured loan that involves collateral or something valuable you own like a car.

How do secured emergency loans differ from secured ones?

Secured loans use an asset as collateral. If you default on a secured loan, the lender has the right to seize your property. Unsecured loans are solely based on your credit and don’t require collateral. Compared to secured loans, unsecured loans are riskier for the lender and therefore harder to get.

Are there any emergency loans I should avoid?

When you’re in desperate need for cash, you may agree to any emergency loan you get approved for. Doing so can cost you a great deal of money and headaches over time. Do your best to avoid payday loans, pawn shop loans, and other emergency loans with exorbitant interest rates and fees.

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