9 Best Short-Term Loans of 2022: Quick Funding, Great Terms

Disclaimer: This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation (at no cost to you) when you click on links to those products. Read our Disclaimer Policy for more information.

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.

Best Short-Term Loans

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.

  • RECOMMENDED
  • LOAN AMOUNT
  • MIN. CREDIT SCORE

Best Short-Term Loan Lenders

Best Overall Short-Term Loan
Top Short-Term Loans
APPLY NOW
On Personalloans's Secure Website
Personalloans.com
  • Est. APR
    5.99% - 35.99%
  • Min. Credit Score
    560
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

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

Best Overall Short-Term Loans
Best Short Term Loan Lenders
APPLY NOW
On CashUSA's Secure Website
CashUSA
  • Est. APR
    5.99% - 35.99%
  • Min. Credit Score
    560
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

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

Best for Bad Credit Short-Term Loans
Bad Credit Short Term Loans
APPLY NOW
On Badcreditloans's Secure Website
Badcreditloans.com
  • Est. APR
    5.99% - 35.99%
  • Min. Credit Score
    560
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

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

Best Short-Term Loans for Debt Consolidation
Short-Term Debt Consolidation Loans
APPLY NOW
On Payoff's Secure Website
Payoff
  • Est. APR
    5.99% - 24.99%
  • Min. Credit Score
    640
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

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

Best for Bad Credit Short-Term Loans
Bad Credit Short-Term Loans
APPLY NOW
On Avant's Secure Website
Avant
  • Est. APR
    9.95% - 35.99%
  • Min. Credit Score
    580
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

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

Best Overall Short-Term Loans
Top Short-Term Loan Lenders
APPLY NOW
On OneMain Financial's Secure Website
OneMain Financial
  • Est. APR
    18% - 35.99%
  • Min. Credit Score
    660
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

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.

>> More: OneMain Financial Personal Loan Review

Best for Easy Qualification
Easy to Qualify Short Term Loans
APPLY NOW
On Upstart's Secure Website
Upstart
  • Est. APR
    5.38% - 35.99%
  • Min. Credit Score
    None
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

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

Best for Flexible Short-Term Loans
Flexible Short Term Loans
APPLY NOW
On Upgrade's Secure Website
Upgrade
  • Est. APR
    5.94% - 35.97%
  • Min. Credit Score
    560
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

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

Best Overall Short-Term Loans
Best Short-Term Loan Lenders
APPLY NOW
On Best Egg's Secure Website
Best Egg
  • Est. APR
    5.99% - 29.99%
  • Min. Credit Score
    640
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

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

What Is a Short-Term Loan?

While there is no hard and fast definition for a short-term loan, a short-term loan is typically any loan for a relatively small amount that is repaid in under 3 years. Short-term loans tend to come with higher interest rates and fees than traditional loans, as they are typically sought from a place of need.

How to Compare the Best Short-Term Loans

Now that we’ve explored the details of various lenders, let’s look at what you should consider before committing to a short-term loan. Here’s what you should look for.

#1. Competitive Rates

One of the primary considerations you should make when comparing short-term lenders is their interest rates. Rates vary wildly between lenders, and depending on what qualifications they are looking for, your rates from one lender may be significantly lower than from another.

Compare rates for offers you’re pre-qualified for to make the best financial decision.

>> More: Best Personal Loans

#2. Origination and Associated Fees

Not all short-term lenders charge origination fees. Even among those who do, they can be very different.

Look closely to make sure you don’t wind up losing money through hefty origination fees.

#3. Short-Term Loan Funding Time

If you’re looking for a short-term loan, chances are you need the money in short order. Not all lenders have the same urgency, though.

Look at the standard time to delivery, so you know how to plan your finances accordingly.

#4. Customer Service

If you’re taking out a loan, chances are you’re going to be interacting with the company with some regularity. Do your research so you know what you’re getting into.

Some providers have significantly better customer experiences than others.

#5. Safe and Secure Technology

When you’re submitting your financial information, safety is crucial. Before hitting submit, ensure that the provider uses some form of encryption to keep your data away from hackers.

How to Apply for the Best Short-Term Loan

Fortunately, most short-term loan lenders have moved their businesses online, making the application process painless and a breeze.

#1. Compare Lenders and Rates

The first step when applying for a short-term loan is choosing a lender. Take your time and compare interest rates, fees, loan terms, and loan amounts to make the right choice.

#2. Choose the Short-Term Loan that Helps You Achieve Your Goals

Once you’ve got a thorough understanding of your options, choose the short-term loan that is most conducive to your financial well-being. Aim for the loan with the lowest overall cost, and try not to borrow any more than you need.

#3. Fill Out the Online Application

Next, you’ll need to apply. If you’re using an online lender, the application process will be straightforward.

Just go to the lender’s site, find the apply button, provide a bit of information, and in minutes you’ll be ready to submit.

>> More: How to Get a Personal Loan

#4. Receive Your Short-Term Loan

Once your application is approved, your funds will be delivered to your bank account. This can happen in as little as a few minutes, though it’s typical for it to take a day or more, depending on the lender.

#5. Make Payments on Your Short-Term Loan

Now that you’ve got the loan, you’ll have to start following the repayment plan. Repayment plans vary in length payment size, but usually, the faster, the better.

Payments are made from your bank account or with a card. Many lenders allow you to automate the process entirely, so you don’t forget.

How to Qualify for a Short-Term Loan

Qualifying for a short-term loan will depend on a few factors: Your Credit Score, Debt-to-Income Ratio, and monthly/annual income.

#1. Have a Good Credit Score

While plenty of lenders provide short-term loans to those with bad credit, better credit will help you qualify for more and better loans.

#2. Verifiable Income

In addition to good credit, most loan providers need to see that you consistently make enough money to pay them back before they loan you anything.

#3. Know Your Debt-to-Income Ratio

One final factor lenders often look for, your debt-to-income ratio shows how much you make compared to how much you have to pay to lenders before your application. A better ratio will help you qualify for more loans.

Best Places to Find Short-Term Loans

  • Banks: Banks can offer short-term loans at rates typically much more favorable and fair than other providers. If you need a short-term loan, it’s worth checking out your bank and seeing what is available. Moreover, some banks offer direct-deposit loans. This means you can walk out of the branch with a loan already deposited in your account.
  • Credit Unions: Credit unions can also provide short-term loans to those who need them. However, it typically requires you to join a credit union, which may take longer than you’d like if you’re in urgent need of funds.
  • Payday Lenders: Payday lenders can offer short-term loans as well, though this is rarely the best way to go. They tend to set predatory rates that can easily trap you in the long run.
  • Pawn Shops: Many pawnshops will offer short-term loans if you provide a valuable item as collateral. The risks and benefits will vary depending on the shop.
  • Online Lending Marketplaces: There are plenty of online lenders who offer short-term loans. That said, there are also plenty of scams and predatory lenders online, so caution is a must.

Is It Smart to Get a Short-Term Loan?

The answer to this question is entirely context-dependent. There are scenarios where a short-term loan is the best or only option. That said, if you can avoid taking out a loan, it’s typically smart to do so.

Are Payday Loans and Short-Term Loans the Same Thing?

Payday loans are a type of short-term loan. But, payday loans tend to be predatory short-term loans, taking advantage of people in desperate situations. If you are looking for a short-term loan, we recommend avoiding payday lenders.

What Is the Best Option for Short-Term Loans?

While the best short-term loan provider will depend on your financial situation, Personalloans.com is a very strong option. They offer loans from a large network of providers with low minimums and options for quick repayment. Funds arrive quickly, and there are no origination fees. Personalloans.com should be one of your top considerations when shopping for a short-term loan.

Are Short Term Loans Worth It?

There isn’t a universal answer to this question. If you take out a short-term loan to get medical treatment or avoid seriously damaging your credit, it may be worth it. That said, we recommend against taking out a short-term loan for superfluous purchases. This is almost never a good idea and can wind up harming you more than it helps.

Summary: Short-Term Loans

Bottom Line: Best Short-Term Loans

While it’s almost always better to avoid it, sometimes taking out a short-term loan is the best option. When it comes to short-term loans, there is a wide range of options. Some of them are safe and legitimate. Others are predatory and risky.

If you’re unsure, stick to the list we’ve provided here. These lenders are legit and can help you get the money you need in short order. When shopping around, consider each loan provider’s rates and fees, repayment periods, and safety. Compare your options so you can make the best choice for your situation.

Methodology

To select the best short-term loans, analysts reviewed over 25+ lenders. We reviewed the lender’s security infrastructure, online and mobile experience, rates, fees, and transparency. Analyst value companies that offer an easy online application, transparent about fees charged, and flexibly repayment terms. Read our editorial guidelines and personal rating methodology to learn more.

More SimpleMoneyLyfe Resources

Bradon Matthews
Bradon Matthews

Bradon Mathews is a personal finance writer & product analyst with a breadth of experience. He enjoys analyzing market information and trends to help you make sense of the complex and ever-changing world of finance. His passion is providing practical advice so you can feel more confident managing your money. Bradon attended Colorado State University where he studied Philosophy.