Best Emergency Loans for Bad Credit

You don’t have to lose heart if you find yourself in a difficult financial situation.

There are many types of financial emergencies. You might have to repair your car if it breaks down. You may also face financial crises due to a job loss or illness, a funeral, and other unexpected events. 

You may need an emergency loan if you find yourself in one of these situations and don’t have enough money to pay it off.

When you need cash quickly, it can be challenging to find the right loan. However, if your credit is not perfect, you may have trouble getting an emergency loan. 

This is not true. Even if you have poor credit, there are still options for emergency loans.

September 2021: Emergency loans for bad credit

  • The best for fast funding: Rocket Loans
  • Best for flexible repayment: Avant
  • PenFed Credit Union is the best credit union emergency loan
  • Best Peer-to-Peer Emergency Loan: LendingClub

BEST FOR FAST FUNDING: Rocket Loans

Rocket Loans is a sister company to Quicken Loans and offers quick funding options for qualified applicants. Rocket Loans offers personal loans to credit-challenged applicants at a competitive annual rate (APR) of 5.97%. You may not be eligible for the advertised rate, depending on your credit score and other factors.

Pros

  • You can get same-day funding depending on when you apply for the loan.
  • Prequalification process — Check loan options with a Soft Credit Check
  • Competitors have a lower maximum interest rate
  • There are higher loan amounts than other lenders

Cons

Additional important information

  • Maximum/minimum amount that you can borrow: $2,000 to $45,000
  • Variable APR – From 5.97% to 29.99%
  • Terms: 30 or 60 Months
  • Minimum credit score recommended – 580 is reported, but the website has not confirmed it.
  • Time to receive funds – Potentially same-day funding

BEST FOR REPAYMENT FLEXIBILITY: AVANT

Offering the most flexible online emergency loan for bad credit borrowers, Avant is unmatched in terms of flexibility. Avant allows you to borrow as much as $35,000 even if your credit score is as low as 600.

Your loan proceeds will also be available in your bank account within one business day after approval. 

Although the APR for personal loans is not the lowest you will find online, it is still a good deal compared to other lenders who cater to poor credit scores.

Pros

  • Available prequalification
  • Lenders report accounts to credit bureaus so that responsible repayment can build your credit.
  • There are no prepayment penalties if you pay off your loan early

Cons

  • Higher interest rates than any other lender
  • An administrative fee of up to 4.75% could be charged upfront
  • Additional important information
  • Maximum/minimum amount that you can borrow: $2,000 to $35,000
  • APR range: 9.95% to 35.99%
  • Terms: 24 to 60 Months
  • Minimum credit score recommended – For most applicants, Per Avant recommends at least 600
  • Time to receive funds – Possibly as quickly as the next business day

BEST CREDIT UNION EMERGENCY LOAN: PenFed Credit Union

PenFed Credit Union has affordable personal loans available for those who need money to cover an immediate expense. The loan APRs range from 5.99% to 17.99%. The credit union does not charge origination fees for personal loans, in addition to the competitive APR range.

Pros

  • As low as $600 for low loan amounts
  • Acceptance of co-borrowers, but be careful
  • There are no application fees, origination fees, or prepayment penalties.

Cons

  • Only PenFed members are allowed to borrow
  • There is no prequalification option, so you will have to apply with hard credit.
  • Additional important information
  • Maximum/minimum amount that you can borrow: $600 to $35,000
  • APR range: 5.99% to 17.99%
  • Terms up to 60 months
  • Minimum credit score recommended – 580 is reported, but the website has not confirmed it.
  • Time for funds to be received – In 1 to 2 business day

BEST PEER-TO-PEER EMERGENCY LOAN: LendingClub

LendingClub, a peer to-peer lending platform, was founded in 2007. LendingClub may help you find personal loans up to $40,000 to use in financial emergencies. If you don’t wish to borrow money from traditional banks or online lenders, this alternative might be worth looking into.

Pros

  • Acceptable co-borrowers, but please consider the risks.
  • Available prequalification
  • Available with a minimum of $1,000

Cons

  • Add a 3%-6% origination fee to your loan
  • The slow funding process for four days
  • Limited repayment terms available
  • Additional Important Information
  • Maximum/minimum amount that you can borrow: $1,000 to $40,000
  • APR range: 8.05% to 34.99%
  • Terms: 36- or 60-month terms
  • Minimum credit score recommended -Reported at 600 but not confirmed by the website.
  • The time it takes to receive funds – Usually, around four days

BEST PAYDAY ALTERNATIVE LOANS: Local Credit Unions

In times of financial crisis, you may feel tempted to seek out a payday lender, especially if your credit is not perfect. Even if you have poor credit, predatory payday loans may not be the best option. 

An alternative payday loan (PAL) is a product offered by many local credit unions. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) regulates these small loans.

They can be availed for amounts up to $1,000 or $2,000 and are available in PAL I and PAL II versions. In 2020, the NCUA introduced the PAL II option and is currently considering a PAL III version. This will allow borrowers more flexibility to refinance payday loans or other debt obligations.

Pros

  • Maximum interest rate is 28%, compared to a payday loan’s usual 400%
  • A $20 application fee is affordable
  • Loan rollovers are free of additional fees and funds

Cons

  • Maximum loan amount (PAL I: $1,000, PAL II: $2,000) may not be sufficient
  • To qualify, you may need to be a credit union member (the PAL I option requires it).
  • Additional important information
  • Maximum/minimum amount you can borrow: $200 to $1,000 with the PAL I, and up to $2,000 with PAL II (no minimum).
  • Maximum APR of 28%
  • Terms: PAL I terms up to 6 months, PAL II terms up to 12 months
  • Minimum credit score recommended – Credit unions do not require a credit check
  • Time required to receive funds – This varies by the credit union

What is an emergency loan?

A term that refers to several ways you can access emergency cash for unexpected, sudden expenses is an emergency loan. 

The most common emergency loan and the most affordable is a personal loan. However, an emergency loan can also be obtained through a credit card cash advance or payday loan. A friend or relative may also provide a loan.

What if I have bad credit?

Bad credit can make borrowing options more difficult. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you are out of luck. Even if you have poor credit, you may still be eligible for an emergency loan.

When borrowing money to solve credit problems, it is essential to be realistic about your expectations. This is especially true when borrowing limits and costs are involved. Bad credit loans can be costly because there is more risk for the lender.

Bad-credit emergency loans have higher APRs and fees. Bad credit borrowers may not be eligible to borrow the same amount as those with good credit. There are innovative strategies that you can use to increase your credit rating.

Are you looking for an emergency loan with bad credit?

Many lenders offer bad credit emergency loans. The most popular options are:

  • Online Lenders
  • Credit unions
  • Traditional banks
  • Credit Card Companies (Cash Advances)
  • Friends and relatives
  • Payday lenders

Don’t forget that just because you have a borrowing option doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good one. For example, credit card cash advances are often costly, damaging your credit score and increasing your credit utilization rate.

Payday loans and title loans should be avoided whenever possible. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the average payday loan has a high APR of nearly 400%.

What will an emergency loan do to my credit score?

While some types of emergency loans may affect your credit score, others won’t. It all depends on whether the loan appears on your Equifax, TransUnion, or Experian credit report.

The lender won’t report your account information to credit bureaus. This is unless you default or a collection agency adds terrible debt to credit reports. If a lender shares your account information with the credit bureaus, it’s a different story.

Online lenders, credit unions, and banks often report account information to credit bureaus. Title lenders and payday lenders typically do not.

The way you manage your emergency loan will determine whether or not it will improve or harm your credit score. The account could be beneficial for your credit score if you pay all your bills on time. But, if you default on payments or are late with your debt, the same emergency loan can damage your credit score.

How do you choose an emergency loan?

Lenders generally begin the process of considering loan applications when they receive them. The lender will assess the risk as a customer by checking your credit score and credit history.

You should also do your research before you take on new debt. Before you borrow money, it is essential to understand the pros and cons of each financing option.

Here are some questions you should ask before you decide on a bad credit emergency loan.

  • Can I afford a monthly payment increase?
  • Is this lender able to provide loans for borrowers with poor credit?
  • What is the APR range charged by lenders for emergency loans?
  • Are there any additional fees that I should know about?
  • What is the repayment term for this loan?
  • Is it possible to prequalify to see my potential rate and loan offer before signing?
  • If I am eligible, when will I get the funds?

As you compare emergency loan options, repeat the above questions. It’s a good idea to shop around for the best deals, even if you are in a hurry.

What is the fastest way to get an emergency loan?

You need cash fast when you have an emergency. Many lenders offer quick funding for qualified borrowers. Many personal loan lenders will even deposit funds directly into your bank account as soon as you are approved for financing.

Loan funding can take up to several weeks or even days, depending on the lender. Some lenders may take longer to approve your loan application or release funds. Your bank or credit union might hold funds that a lender has deposited into your account for a few more days before you can access them.

How can you prepare for an emergency expense?

According to a Federal Reserve 2018 study, 40% of adults don’t have enough money to pay $400 for an emergency.3 This means that you don’t need to wait to plan for unexpected expenses. These five tips will help you get started.

  1. Keep track of your spending. Challenge yourself to keep track of every dollar you spend, even small cash purchases.
  2. A realistic budget takes into account your spending habits and monthly bills. You can either use budgeting software or a pen and paper.
  3. You can cut down on your expenses by finding ways to reduce them. This will allow you to spend more money and create even more savings opportunities.
  4. To save money in an emergency, open a separate savings account. High-yield savings accounts will help your money grow more quickly.
  5. You can save money by making a habit out of it every pay period. It’s okay to start small.

What are the alternatives to emergency loans?

  • Although emergency loans are an excellent option for those in dire financial situations, they might not be the best choice if you are already struggling financially. Be sure to review your finances before you submit a loan application. Alternative options may be better if you feel that you will be burdened financially by additional debt.
  • There are many options for emergency loans.
  • Negotiate with creditors modified hardship payment plans.
  • To free up some cash temporarily, you might consider making minimum monthly payments to your credit cards. This should not be an ongoing practice but a temporary solution.

Ask your employer to give you a pay increase.

Consider a Paycheck Advance from Earnin or other similar services for minor emergencies.

You should be aware that some employers offer 401k hardship withdrawals to assist employees with immediate financial needs. However, you should always think carefully about the consequences before taping into your retirement savings.

Emergency Loans Online – The bottom line

It can be stressful to face an emergency expense and not have the funds to pay it. Bad credit can make borrowing money more difficult and costly, making it more likely that you will feel helpless. You can take a deep breath and think about the options available to you in this situation.

Compare multiple emergency loan options before you borrow money. Once you have recovered, create a plan for the future to help you get in better financial shape. 

You can build an emergency fund slowly if you need it and improve your credit rating. These two actions can help you avoid unexpected expenses.

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