September 2021 Emergency Bad Credit Loans


Lender APR range Minimum loan amount Maximum loan amount terms Credit score required
Rocket loans

Ideal for quick financing
5.97% to 29.99% $ 2,000 $ 45,000 30 or 60 months 580+

Ideal for repayment flexibility
9.95% to 35.99% $ 2,000 $ 35,000 24 to 60 months 600+

Best emergency loan for credit unions
5.99% to 17.99% $ 600 $ 35,000 Up to 60 months 580+
Loan Club

Best emergency peer-to-peer loan
8.05% to 35.89% $ 1,000 $ 40,000 36 or 60 months 600+
Local credit unions

Best Alternative Payday Loan
Up to 28% Nothing Up to $ 2,000 1 to 12 months N / A
Loan amounts, APR and repayment period may vary depending on the purpose or type of loan.


What is an emergency loan?

An emergency loan is a term that describes several different ways to access cash for sudden and unexpected expenses. A common type of emergency loan (and often one of the more affordable options) is a personal loan, but an emergency loan can take the form of a credit card cash advance, a loan payday, an alternative payday loan or even a loan from a friend or family member.

Can I Get an Emergency Loan With Bad Credit?

Borrowing options tend to be more limited when you have bad credit. Still, that doesn’t mean you aren’t automatically out of luck. You might be eligible for an emergency loan even with bad credit.

It’s important to have realistic expectations when trying to borrow money with bad credit, especially when it comes to borrowing costs and limitations. Due to the fact that there is more risk to the lender, emergency loans for those with bad credit can be expensive.

APRs and higher fees are common with emergency bad credit loans. And as a borrower with bad credit, you may not be able to borrow as much money as someone with good credit. On the bright side, there are smart strategies you can use to improve your credit rating over time.

Where can you get an emergency loan with bad credit?

There are several types of lenders who offer emergency loans for bad credit. Some of the more common options include:

  • Online lenders
  • Credit unions
  • Traditional banks
  • Credit card companies (cash advance)
  • Parents 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 can hurt your credit score by increasing your credit utilization rate.

You should also avoid payday loans and title loans whenever possible. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) warns that the average 2 week payday loan has a high APR equivalent to almost 400%.

Will an emergency loan affect my credit score?

Some types of emergency loans can affect your credit score, while others will not. Whether you do this depends primarily on whether it shows up on your credit report with Equifax, TransUnion, or Experian.

If a lender does not report your account to the credit bureaus, the loan will not 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 shares your account details with the credit bureaus, that’s another story.

Banks, credit unions, and online lenders typically report account details to the credit bureaus. Payday lenders and securities lenders typically don’t.

When a lender reports an emergency loan to the credit bureaus, how you manage the account determines whether it will help or hurt your credit score. If you make all of your payments on time, the account can benefit your credit score in the long run. However, if you make late payments or are past due on your debt, that same emergency loan could hurt your credit score.

How to choose an emergency loan?

When a lender receives a loan application, they usually begin the review process with some research. By checking your credit report and your score, the lender can assess the risk of taking you as a customer.

Likewise, you should do your own homework whenever you are thinking about taking on new debt. You should always consider the pros and cons of any financing option before borrowing money, even in an emergency.

Before choosing an emergency bad credit loan, here are some important questions to ask:

  • Can I afford a new monthly payment?
  • Does this lender offer loans to borrowers with bad credit?
  • What does the lender charge for emergency loans (APR range)?
  • Are there any additional charges I should know about?
  • How long will I have to repay the loan?
  • Is there a pre-qualification option to check my potential rate and loan offer in advance?
  • When will I receive the funds if I am eligible?

Repeat the above questions as you research several emergency loan options. Even when you’re in a rush, it’s best to compare several lenders to make sure you’re getting the best deal for your situation.

How quickly can I get an emergency loan?

When you need an emergency loan, you usually need to have access to cash quickly. Fortunately, there are many lenders who offer quick financing to qualified borrowers. Some personal lenders may even deposit the funds into your bank account the same day the funding is approved.

In contrast, debt financing can sometimes take several days or even a few weeks. Some lenders may take longer than others to process your loan application or release your funds. It’s also possible that your personal bank or credit union will hold the funds that a lender deposits in your account for a few days before you can access the money.

How can you prepare for an emergency expense?

A 2018 Federal Reserve study found that 40% of adults don’t have the money to cover a $ 400 emergency expense, so if you currently don’t have the money set aside to meet unexpected expenses, you are far from alone. Creating an emergency fund now is the best way to prepare for unforeseen expenses in the future. The following five tips can help you get started.

  1. Track your spending – Challenge yourself to record every dollar you spend for a month, including small cash purchases.
  2. Create a realistic budget based on your monthly bills and spending habits – You can use handy budgeting software or even a simple pen and paper to get the job done.
  3. Find ways to reduce your daily expenses – As you free up more money in your budget, you can use it to pay off your debts (creating even more savings opportunities) and to save.
  4. Open a separate, dedicated savings account to put money aside for emergencies – High yield savings accounts can help your money grow faster.
  5. Make a habit of saving money every pay period – Remember, it’s okay if you have to start small.

Are there alternatives to emergency loans?

Emergency loans can offer you much-needed relief in some situations, but taking on more debt may not be the best solution if you are already struggling financially. Before filling out a new loan application, take a look at your budget and make sure you can afford the monthly payments. If you think that additional debt is going to drain you financially, an alternative approach might be a better choice.

Emergency loan alternatives

  • Try to negotiate adjusted hardship payment plans with your creditors.
  • Temporarily consider making minimum payments on your credit cards to free up extra money. (This should only be a short-term approach, not a permanent habit.)
  • Ask your employer for a payday advance.
  • For small emergencies, consider a payday advance from Earnin or similar services.

Note that some employers offer 401 (k) withdrawals to help employees meet immediate and significant financial needs, but you should always proceed with caution and consider the consequences before dipping into your retirement savings.

The bottom line

Facing an emergency expense without the funds to cover it can be a stressful experience. If you have bad credit, which makes borrowing harder and more expensive, you may feel even more desperate. The best thing you can do in this situation is to take a deep breath and consider your options.

If you do decide to borrow money, compare several emergency loan offers to make sure you find the best fit for your situation. Then, once you’ve recovered, make a plan to put yourself in a better position for the future. You can work to build an emergency fund (slowly, if necessary) and improve your credit. Both of these can help you the next time unexpected expenses arise.

How we choose the best emergency loans for bad credit

Investopedia’s mission is to provide our readers with unbiased and comprehensive reviews of financial products they can trust. We’ve researched dozens of personal loan options and compared interest rates, fees, qualifying conditions, and other features so we can share with you some of the best deals currently available. Our goal is to give you the knowledge you need to make informed decisions when you’re ready to borrow.


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