Most of us will encounter a financial emergency at least once in our lives, and we don’t always have the cash on-hand to cover the expense. The good news is that there are many different ways to borrow money fast.
Here are suggestions for the best way to borrow money—in a hurry—based on your personal situation.
What are the different ways to borrow money within a day or two?
- Loan from friends or family: It might be difficult to ask, but borrowing money from friends or family is one of the safest options. Keep all parties happy by following Gerri Detweiler’s tips from Credit.com: Set a fair interest rate, put the agreement in writing, and establish a formal payment plan, including due dates and late fees.
- Paycheck advance from your employer: Your employer may give you the option to be paid ahead of schedule. You repay the loan by deducting the loan amount from your next paycheck. Terms vary: some employers charge a fee, cap the advance amount at a percentage of your regular paycheck, or limit how frequently you can request an advance. If you leave the job or are laid off, you might have to repay the amount before leaving.
- Credit card cash advance: Most credit cards will let you instantly withdraw cash at an ATM or bank—if you have credit available to tap. You’ll pay a transaction fee plus interest at a rate which is usually higher than the card’s regular annual percentage rate (APR). Cash advances are generally limited to an amount that’s less than your credit limit.
- Payday loan: Payday loans are short-term loans, usually for an amount less than $1,000. Lenders typically charge a fixed fee based on the amount borrowed, and you have until your next payday to pay off the amount borrowed plus the fee.
- Online loan: With an online loan, you can borrow a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Applying online makes it fast, and you can usually get the money within a day or two. Most online, non-payday loans are installment loans, which means you’ll pay it back on a fixed schedule over the next few months to few years. If the lender doesn’t do a credit check, expect to pay a higher APR.
- Auto title/pawn loan: An auto title loan is a type of secured loan uses your car title as collateral. If you own your car outright, you can drive away with cash after an appraisal. The lender keeps your car title until you repay the loan. If you don’t pay it back, you could lose your car. A pawn loan works in a similar way, but with a different object of value (for example, jewelry) put up as collateral.
- Financial aid: If you’re in college, check out your school’s financial aid department to see if they offer short-term loans.
- Alternative sources: Amrita Jayakumar at NerdWallet suggests checking out nonprofits and religious organizations in your community who may be able to help with emergency funds. Service members, veterans and their families are often eligible for short-term loans with APRs that are lower than other alternatives. State and federal programs can also help with certain bills.
What are the different ways to borrow money within a few days to a few weeks?
- Peer-to-peer lender: Peer-to-peer lending platforms offer short-term personal loans online, with an individual investor loaning you the money instead of a bank. Amounts are typically $1,000 and higher. Your credit score will come into play here, and the process can take some time. After your application is approved, the loan is added to the platform. Once it is fully funded by investors, the money shows up in your account. APRs can be lower than traditional bank loans.
- Personal loan from bank or credit union: If you need to borrow less than $3,000, a personal loan from a credit union could be an affordable option. Federal credit unions have a cap of 18% APR on most loans (state union rates could be higher), and not all credit unions consider your credit score and income when issuing personal loans. On the other hand, traditional banks generally place heavy emphasis on your credit, and often only offer loans for $2,000 or more.
- 401(k) loan: If you have contributed money to a 401(k) retirement plan, you are generally allowed to borrow up to 50% of the account value, with a maximum of $50,000. Interest on the loan is set by your employer and is put back into the 401(k) account. You typically repay the loan via paycheck deductions over a five-year term. 401(k) loans aren’t reported to credit bureaus, so your credit score won’t be checked or impacted. If you don’t repay the loan, you’ll have to pay taxes on the amount and possibly an early withdrawal penalty. Similarly, if you leave your job, the loan must be repaid within a few months or you’ll face taxes. You may also be able to take a hardship withdrawal from the plan under a limited number of circumstances.
- Life insurance loan: Borrowing from the cash value of your life insurance plan has some advantages, including no application or credit check, and no fixed repayment schedule—you repay it on your own time. On the down side, if you don’t repay the loan, the policy’s death benefit is reduced. And because it takes time for the cash value to grow, the amount available to borrow may be small in the first years of your policy.
- Home equity line of credit (HELOC): Take out a loan using your home as collateral. You borrow only what you need, up to a certain limit, and pay interest only on what you’ve withdrawn. Your home is on the line, however—a major risk if you are unable to repay the loan.
- Personal line of credit: Like a HELOC, but without using your home as collateral. Personal lines of credit often require strong credit scores and can be relatively difficult to obtain. Because there is no collateral, the APR on this line of credit is generally higher. These loans are commonly used by people with irregular pay schedules, or people facing a large expense with an unknown total cost (a wedding or home remodel, for example).
RISE offers online loans to help manage some of life’s financial surprises. You can borrow on your own terms with our flexible payment scheduling, and receive lower rates on future credit with on-time payments.*
At RISE, we are committed to supporting your financial future. We offer tools to build better credit and learn new money habits. Apply safely and confidently online today and you could receive $500 to $5,000 in your checking account as soon as tomorrow.**
* Customers in good standing may qualify for a reduction in annual percentage rate ("APR"). Installment Loan Customers: In order to be eligible, you must continue to meet RISE's credit criteria, and we will evaluate the stability of your personal information and identity for each new loan. If eligibility requirements are met and you make 24 successful, on-time monthly payments (48 bi-weekly payments), the APR for your next loan will be 50% off your original loan's APR (excluding customers with starting rates of less than 75%). Additionally, if you continue to meet eligibility requirements and you make 36 successful, on-time monthly payments (72 bi-weekly payments), you will qualify for a 36% APR for your next loan. Note that it may take two or more loans to reach 36% APR. (In Mississippi, if you make 24 monthly payments (48 bi-weekly payments), the monthly handling for your next loan will be 50% off (excluding customers with starting rates of less than 75%). And, if you make 36 monthly payments (72 bi-weekly payments), you qualify for a monthly handling charge of 3% for your next loan with RISE. Note that it may take two or more loans to reach a 3% monthly handling charge.) Line of Credit Customers: In order to be eligible, you must continue to meet RISE's credit criteria, and we will evaluate the stability of your personal information and identity. If eligibility requirements are met and you make 24 successful, on-time monthly payments (48 bi-weekly payments), the APR on your line of credit will be reduced to 50% off your original APR. Additionally, if you continue to meet eligibility requirements and you make 36 successful, on-time monthly payments (72 bi-weekly payments), you will qualify for a 36% APR on your line of credit.
** Applications processed and approved before 6pm ET are typically funded the next business day. RISE is offered only to residents in states where permitted by law. To obtain credit, you must apply online and have a valid checking account and email address. Approval for credit and the amount for which you may be approved are subject to minimum income requirements and vary by state.
In some cases, we may not be able to verify your application information and may ask you to provide certain documents. Refer to Rates & Terms for additional details. Complete disclosures of APR, fees and payment terms are provided within your Agreement.