Cash Loan Definition: 3 Loan Options for Quick Cash 

If you're in a bind and you need money, you might be looking for a cash loan. But what is it exactly?

The cash loan definition depends on who you talk to. But it generally means a type of loan that's deposited into your bank account or directly into your hands in the form of cash.

Thus, it's a bit different from a student loan, an auto loan or a mortgage that might be paid directly to someone else. A cash loan implies any loan that's paid to you and enables you to control where the money goes.


Common Uses of Cash Loans

People take out cash loans for a lot of different reasons. Here are some of the most common uses of RISE loans.


Covering emergency expenses

When your car breaks down, your pet gets sick or some other emergency happens, it's always best to pay for it with money from your emergency fund. But not everyone has an emergency fund available. If you don’t, a cash loan can help you pay for unexpected expenses.


Paying your bills

If you're having problems with your cash flow and you're faced with late payments, a cash loan may be able to help. Again, it's always best to pay for these expenses out of your normal paycheck. But if you can't, a cash loan can help make sure you are able to afford your rent or mortgage so you can stay housed.


Consolidating your debt

Credit cards can have high annual percentage rates that become burdensome if you don’t pay your balance on time. If you're paying debt with high interest rates, taking out a debt consolidation loan with a lower interest rate can help you make a dent in the amount due faster. But for that to work, you generally need a decent credit score.

A cash loan with a low interest rate can help you pay off outstanding debts with high interest rates, often regardless of your credit rating. The key is to examine the terms and disclaimers, so you avoid high-interest debt which lands you right back where you started.  You will also want to avoid incurring additional debt by using a cash loan to payoff credit card debt.


Should You Get a Cash Loan?

A short-term loan can help you meet your needs, but before you apply for one, it's worth asking whether you have any other options.

If you're not earning a high income, there may be local programs available that may be better options than a cash loan. You can call 211 or visit to get connected anonymously with someone who can help you navigate your options.

Regardless of the financial situation, it's always best to set up a budget before you take out any loan. Your budget can help you make sure that your loan is affordable, so you don't get trapped in debt. It doesn't have to be a stuffy old spreadsheet budget either. The future is now, and there are a lot of cool budgeting gadgets and apps that can help you keep your finances on track in a way that works for you.


Compare Different Types of Loans

You can get a fast cash loan from many different lenders. But here are three of the most common:



Personal Loans

Payday Loans

Credit Card Cash Advance

Financial institutions where you can get it?

Online lenders, banks and credit unions

Payday lenders

Credit Card Issuer

Borrowing costs

Interest charged on amount borrowed.  Some lenders may also charge additional fees. [1]

In most states a percentage or dollar amount per $100 borrowed. [2]

Can be a flat free or a percentage of the cash advance amount.

When do you repay it?

Several months to years

Your next payday

(14 to 30 days)

With your next credit card statement

Repayment schedule

Varies by lender, but typically monthly payments

Paid back in one lump sum

Can vary by card issuer, but usually monthly payments

Amount of money you can borrow?

A few hundred to several thousand dollars

Varies by state, but generally limited to $1,000 or less. [3]

A portion of your credit line

How fast can you get it?

Same day for some lenders, several days for others

Same day


Is there a credit check?




Best if you…

  • Are concerned about costs
  • Want to build credit
  • Can wait a day or two (or more)
  • Have no other options
  • Can fully pay your upcoming bills + this loan too
  • Don't need to build credit
  • Only need a small amount of money


The Bottom Line 

When planning for your financial future, start by determining why you need a loan amount in the first place. If not, you may find yourself relying on these expensive options more frequently. But if you have a plan in place, a cash loan can help borrowers in a pinch.

If you decide a cash loan is your best option, offers an easy online application and get cash in your account as soon as tomorrow.*



* Applications processed and approved before 6pm ET are typically funded the next business day.



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