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Sometimes life hits you with surprises. These surprises can be great, like finding a $20 bill on the ground as you step outside for a walk. Sometimes they can be terrible, though. Your car breaks down, you face a medical emergency, or you fall behind on bills and face potential late fees.
In these situations, you need access to money fast. While several options are available, one of the best and easiest ways to cope is to take out a short-term loan. A short-term loan is a (typically small) loan with a repayment plan ranging from a few weeks to a few years.
Short-term loans come in a variety of flavors, each suited to a different set of circumstances. Some are fairly traditional; others take unique approaches such as charging a flat rate rather than interest.
While there are many short-term loan providers on the market, many of them are plainly bad deals. Scams are common, as are predatory rates that seek to capitalize on the urgency of borrowers’ needs.
We want to help you avoid these pitfalls and find a short-term loan that can actually help you. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best short-term loans available. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of 9 top providers so you can make an informed decision.
Not all short-term loans offer the same ratio of benefits to drawbacks. Here are our top picks for you to consider when looking at your options.
Personalloans.com is a lending platform that connects borrowers with a wide network of lenders. This is one of the best options for short-term loans. It provides the biggest range of possibilities and makes it easier for you to qualify. Personalloans.com offers qualified applicants loans ranging from $500 to $35,000. You can expect to pay interest rates between 5.99% and 35.99%.
One of the best things about Personalloans.com is that you can opt for a short repayment period. With repayment plans between 3 and 72 months, you have plenty of flexibility. If you can, it’s almost always better to pay loans off quickly to avoid incurring higher costs from accumulating interest. Personalloans.com is a highly secure platform that protects all user data.
>> More: Personalloans.com Review
CashUSA is another platform that connects those looking for short-term loans with lenders from across the country. They are both well-established and highly trusted in the personal loan space.
When you connect with a lender via CashUSA, you’ll be provided an offer. Depending on your qualifications, the details will vary. CashUSA tends to have APRs between 5.99% and 35.99%. Repayment periods are also variable, ranging from 3 to 72 months. You can borrow anywhere from $500 to $10,000.
One of the features that sets CashUSA apart is its commitment to openness. They provide a tool that allows you to see the long-term cost your loan may have, meaning you can accept or reject any offers content in the knowledge that you truly understand what you’re doing. CashUSA is also a highly secure platform, employing encryption to keep your data safe.
>> More: CashUSA Reviews
Badcreditloans.comis a network that provides applicants with short-term loans by connecting them to lenders. However, Badcreditloans.com is a bit more targeted, aiming primarily at those with bad credit. The loans on offer are quite easy to qualify for, making Badcreditloans.com a great choice for those with no credit history or with bad credit scores. They help those who wouldn’t qualify otherwise gain access to the funds they need in an emergency.
Their minimum and maximum loans are perfectly in line with the prior 2 companies on this list. Applicants can receive loans of $500 to $10,000 in as little as a day. APRs are between 5.99% and 35.99%, and repayment plans range from 3 to 60 months.
>> More: Badcreditloans.com Review
Payoff is a company offering debt consolidation loans to applicants across the country. The prior entries on this list provide loans that can be used for anything. Payoff’s loans are solely available for borrowers to pay existing debt. Payoff essentially buys your debt, providing you with payments that are directly deposited into your bank account based on your monthly payments. While this may not help you pay for an emergency directly, it can help in a few indirect ways.
For starters, Payoff can free up the money that you would have to pay to lenders each month so that you can instead put those funds towards whatever else you may need. Additionally, Payoff can help you manage your debt if you handle an emergency with a credit card. In this way, Payoff Personal Loans function like a standard short-term loan.
Loans can be between $5,000 and $40,000 and can be repaid in 24 to 60 months. APRs are fairly reasonable for the market, falling between 5.99% and 24.99%. If you’ve already handled an emergency with a credit card, Payoff may be something to consider on the back-end.
>> More: Payoff Personal Loans Review
Avant is a platform similar to Payoff in many ways. Avant offers personal loans to those looking to consolidate their debt. Like Payoff, you can imagine Avant as buying your debt. They provide you funds that match your payments, helping you pay down debt when at lower interest rates or with lower monthly payments.
Avant has a bit lower minimum loan amount. Borrowers can borrow between $2,000 and $35,000. If you’re looking for short-term loans, this lower ceiling likely means Avant will be better suited to your needs than Payoff.
However, with Avant Personal Loans, the lowest APR is higher than that of Payoffs. APRs range from 9.95% to 35.95%. These higher APRs can add up significantly over time. The loan terms can be between 2 to 5 years. One final thing to note, Avant can charge origination fees, though this isn’t terribly common for the company.
>> More: Avant Personal Loans Review
OneMain Financial is a personal loan provider that helps those with bad credit attain loans they would otherwise not have access to. They do this by foregoing the traditional qualifications involved in a loan application.
Rather than relying solely on credit scores, OneMain Financial considers applicants using their own in-house algorithm. This algorithm considers several different factors to decide if an applicant is qualified. The factor given the most weight is an applicant’s ability to pay back a loan. This is important to note, as those looking for short-term loans due to low income may not qualify through OneMain.
Loans for qualified applicants range from $1,500 to $20,000. These funds can arrive within a day. Repayment plans are between 2 and 5 years. OneMain does have some significant downsides, though. The APRs are high, with a minimum of 18%. On top of that, OneMain charges an origination fee that can be as high as 10%. These two factors combined make OneMain one of the priciest options on this list.
Upstart is a lending platform similar to OneMain Financial. Like OneMain, they eschew the traditional credit check in favor of their own set of metrics to determine an applicant’s eligibility.
Upstart’s analysis looks at different factors than does OneMain’s, though. Where OneMain focuses heavily on the ability to repay, Upstart looks at things like education and earning potential.
Because of this, Upstart can be a better option for those without much income now, but who can change that in the future. The minimum loan for Upstart is $1,000, with a maximum of $50,000. APRs are significantly lower than OneMain’s with the same maximum but a minimum of only 6.95%. That said, the repayment plans are longer, between 3 and 5 years.
>> More: Upstart Personal Loan Review
Upgrade is another lender focused on helping those with bad credit qualify for personal loans. Upgrade does this by evaluating applicants against their own criteria rather than the traditional credit check most lenders use.
What sets Upgrade apart is their consideration for the borrower. Their qualifications heavily consider the amount of free cash you have. “Free cash” refers to the truly disposable income you have after paying things like rent.
Upgrade aims at providing loans that are within the borrower’s ability to pay. They offer loans that your free cash can actually cover, making them one of the safest places to turn if you need a short-term loan.
In the case of someone who doesn’t have much free cash but still wants a loan, they also offer co-signing and joint loans. Upgrade’s loans can be between $1,000 and $50,000 and can be repaid in 3 to 5 years. APRs can be as low as 5.44%. That said, they do charge origination fees between 2.9% and 8%.
>> More: Upgrade Personal Loans Review
The final entry on our list of best short-term loan lenders is Best Egg. While Best Egg is a standard loan provider, their loans cater to those with bad credit. What separates Best Egg from the broader market is that they offer both secured and unsecured loans. Secured loans are loans that hold something as collateral. This almost always allows for larger loans and better rates.
Best Egg’s secured loans are what’s called nested loans. These loans use fixtures within your house, such as your water heater, as collateral, making it easier for you to qualify. That said, it’s still harder to qualify for a Best Egg loan than for some of the other loans on this list, as they do have a minimum credit score of 600. Loans range in size from $2,000 to $35,000, to be repaid over 3 to 5 years. APRs vary with credit score but fall between 5.99% and 29.99%. They also charge an origination fee between .99% and 5.99%.
>> More: Best Egg Personal Loan Review