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Emergency Loans Online: What They Are, Types & How To Get Them

Updated on February 2, 2023


It would be wonderful never to have to be concerned with handling an emergency bill in life. Unfortunately, life is unpredictable and may throw you a curveball, which can be costly. While managing these unforeseen costs can be difficult, especially when you don't have much saved up, it's possible. It is where an emergency loan might help by giving you the funds you need in difficult times.

A financial emergency can happen to anyone. Did you know that 40% of Americans could be pushed into debt by a $1,000 unexpected expense? An online emergency loan can be one of the best solutions to cover unexpected car repairs, medical bills, rent, or mortgage. If you are in a bind and don't have enough money in your rainy day fund, consider taking out an emergency loan online. The process of borrowing money is relatively easy. Before applying for one, learn about emergency loans, their potential benefits, and risks, and choose the right emergency loan solution.

What Are Emergency Loans?

An emergency loan, as the name suggests, is a loan designed to assist you with an unanticipated expense that you cannot pay out of pocket immediately. Usually, these loans are funded comparatively faster once you get approval. There are various types of quick emergency loans available. Depending on your credit score and other variables, you may get approved for more than one. Depending on the lender and the state law, there can be a minimum loan amount for these loans.

If you're in dire need of extra funds, you may want to consider emergency loans online. Comparing online loan options is not just convenient but also fast. It can help you save money and help you avoid risky lenders that hurt your credit and finances during an emergency.

How Do Online Emergency Loans Work?

The entire loan application process takes place over the internet when it comes to online emergency loans. This implies that you'll often fill out an online application. If approved, you will receive your funds and repay your loan online. The most popular type of emergency loan is an unsecured personal loan that you can take out to cover almost any unexpected expense. Most often, you can get the funds within a day or two after your loan application is approved. Some creditors will fund your loan the same day you apply.

You may not have to put up any collateral to acquire an emergency loan because they are often unsecured. However, some lenders provide secured emergency loans online, which demand collateral from borrowers in the form of assets like house equity and car title.

Online lenders offer various emergency loans, and some provide borrowers with prequalification options. This helps you check if you're qualified to borrow an emergency loan online before applying for one and prevents your credit from the damages caused by a hard credit check. Hence, choose the right online lending company while taking out an online emergency personal loan with terms that suit your needs.

That brings us to the question of when applying for an online emergency loan makes sense. Let's discuss that in the next section.

What Can You Do With Quick Emergency Loans?

There are several emergency situations when one might need quick cash. Fortunately, you can pay for almost any personal expense with an emergency loan online.

Here are some of the common reasons to get an emergency loan:

Home Repairs

A broken boiler, leaky roof, or replacement of your washer/dryer could need an urgent fix that is out of your price range.

Car Repairs

Your car breaking down could result in more days of missed work, so get back on the road faster with a short-term loan.

Travel Expenses

A quick loan can pay for your hotel stay or plane ticket in case of a spontaneous trip that requires your presence.

Medical Emergency

You might need a sudden injection of cash after unexpected illnesses or hospitalization that are not covered by your insurance.

Pros & Cons of Emergency Loans Online

Each loan has its advantages and disadvantages, and one should be aware of them before applying. Here are some potential benefits and risks of using emergency loans online for borrowers:


Flexible: Even though emergency online loans are designed for emergencies, they can be used to pay for various expenses, including home repairs and rent payments. These loans can also provide flexible repayment terms, allowing you to pay off your loan sooner or make monthly payments based on your budget. 

Accessible: Online loans make applying convenient from the comfort of your home, especially in any financial emergency. Emergency loans online save time and eliminate the hassle of going to the physical store to get the necessary funds.

Easy and Fast Application: Apart from the convenience of applying, an emergency loan process is typically quick and easy. Emergency online loan applications require very little to no paperwork compared to other loan types.

Quick funding for Emergencies: Once you submit the online application for an emergency loan, you can expect a decision instantly. Some emergency online loan lenders even offer same-day funding on approvals. 


Stricter Loan Requirements: In the case of unsecured emergency loans, you can expect stricter lending criteria as these loans are considered riskier for the lenders. Credit history, income, and the amount of debt you owe are crucial variables that can help lenders decide whether to approve or reject your loan application.

Higher Interest Rates: Yet another drawback of unsecured emergency loans is that their interest rates are comparatively higher than secured loans. Again, it’s due to the increased risk to lenders. 

Smaller Loan Amounts: An online emergency loan is a short-term loan used to cover emergency expenses. These are convenient to apply for and repay. However, this can be a disadvantage when an unforeseen high cost arises.

What Are the Different Types of Online Emergency Loans?

You have many options if you need emergency loans online to help you handle unexpected expenses. Learn about the popular online emergency loans here to help you select a suitable one based on your needs.

Personal Loans

Personal loans can be used for almost anything, including urgent medical bills, emergency home improvements, and covering income gaps. The idea behind personal loans for emergencies is to provide easy application, rapid approvals, and quick funding. Personal emergency loans can be secured and unsecured.

Payday Loans

Payday loans are expensive, short-term loans that can be risky to choose even in an emergency. Payday lenders may not consider your ability to repay, but they may still charge hefty fees and high-interest rates. Often borrowers who are unable to pay back their loans on time frequently take out new loans, which traps them in a cycle of debt.

Installment Loans

When searching for different online emergency lending options, installment loans will probably be at the top of the list. They help you get all your funds in a lump sum and repay in equal, scheduled installments over a predetermined period. 

Title Loans

When you apply for a car title loan, a lender determines the worth of your car and lends you a portion of that sum. If you accept the loan offer, the lender will hold the title to your vehicle, and you'll receive your cash. Since most title loan lenders do not consider your credit score, you can use this option when you have low credit but high equity in your vehicle. However, you risk losing your car or vehicle if you cannot repay the loan.

Line Of Credit

In contrast to an installment loan, if you are qualified for a line of credit (LOC), you won't receive the funds you applied for at once. A personal line of credit is a type of revolving credit where you will be approved for a specific credit limit based on the lender's requirements. You can draw money as and when needed as long as you have available credit. This makes them perfect for emergencies. You can continue withdrawing more funds as you pay off your balance.

Short-Term Loans

Short-term loans can be a lifesaver during a slight shortage of cash. These loans typically have a repayment period of six to eighteen months. If you're applying for a short-term loan to handle an emergency, you can repay the loan in roughly a year and move on to other things. 

Student Loans

Emergency student loans are a short-term loan option available to actively enrolled students. The terms of these quick student loans also differ between institutions. One can use the funds from these emergency loans to help cover the cash shortfall for education financing.

How to Choose an Emergency Loan?

It's important to avoid selecting the first emergency loan lender you come across if you want to choose the best loan for your specific needs. The following are some factors to consider while selecting an emergency loan

Funding Time:

Since emergency loans cover urgent and sudden costs, it's essential that you receive funds faster. While some lenders can fund a loan as soon as the same day, others may need up to a week. Hence, consider an emergency loan lender that offers quick lending decisions and fast funding.

Interest Rates:

Next, compare the APR (Annual Percentage Rate) charged by different emergency loan lenders to discover how much each would cost you. Though having exceptional credit could help you acquire the best interest rate, you should also consider what lenders charge for borrowers with less-than-perfect credit.

Lender's Fees:

Apart from APR, the cost of borrowing an emergency loan can include fees like origination fees, processing fees, and late payment penalties. Check the loan documents of each emergency loan to find the information regarding all the additional costs and fines to find the actual cost of borrowing your loan.

Repayment Terms:

Would you like to pay off your debt faster by increasing your monthly payment amount? Or do you require more time to repay your loan and smaller payments? Because of the low monthly payment, a high-interest loan with a long payback period may also seem alluring. So, always look for a loan that balances manageable monthly payments and fair interest rates.

Credit Score Requirements:

You must meet a minimum credit score requirement to apply for a loan with most lenders. Your interest rate and the amount you can borrow will ultimately depend on your credit score. By working with lenders who consider factors other than your credit score to determine your creditworthiness, you can get an emergency loan even with bad credit.

How to Get Online Emergency Loans?

While the process of obtaining an online emergency loan varies from lender to lender and state to state, here are the general steps to apply for an emergency loan online:

  1. Check your credit report for any errors and get them corrected before submitting an online application.
  2. Find out how much you can afford to pay toward the loan each month by reviewing your monthly budget.
  3. Apply for pre-qualification online to know the estimated interest rate, amount, and repayment term.
  4. Gather documents needed to apply for the emergency loan online and apply for the loan.
  5. Get instant loan approval and your funds through the chosen mode of transfer.

Where Do I Get an Emergency Loan?

If you're interested in borrowing an emergency loan, you can approach a bank, credit union, or online lender. While many banks only work with borrowers with good or excellent credit, you can look for online lenders that cater to the needs of both good and bad credit borrowers.

Reliable online lenders typically offer a quick application process and disclose their interest rates for you to make a well-informed borrowing decision. Besides banks and online lenders, credit unions also provide emergency loans. When making a loan decision, a credit union may consider a borrower's membership history in addition to their credit and income.

What are the Eligibility Criteria for Online Emergency Loans?

There is no fast rule about who can get an online emergency loan. Each lender has the authority to decide who qualifies and who does not. While some may do a credit check, others use alternate methods to determine whether you'll be able to repay the loan.

However, when applying for an online emergency loan, the borrower must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be a permanent resident of the USA or a US citizen
  • Provide proof of income or be currently employed for a minimum of 90 days
  • Must not be an active military officer
  • Have a Social Security tax ID as well as a valid government-issued ID
  • Have a valid email address and a cellphone/home phone number
  • Own an active bank account where the lender will send the funds

Please remember that these requirements vary from state to state and are requirements for new customers.

Which Loans for Emergencies are Right for You?

An emergency loan can fill the gap if you don't have enough money set aside to handle an unexpected bill. However, certain emergency loans can be more damaging than beneficial in the long run, depending on your credit position. For instance, though payday loans are easy to obtain, they are typically associated with very high-interest rates.

You can get an emergency personal loan with a reasonable interest rate if you have a decent credit score. If you do a little research, you may find online lenders like CASH 1 who can provide you with a personal loan with bad credit.

What Happens if I Am Unable or Overdue to Repay My Emergency Loan?

It's crucial to contact your lender as soon as possible if you have a sudden financial setback and find yourself unable to make payments on your emergency loan. You can avoid defaulting on your loan or minimize the effects of being late by informing your lender that your payment will be late. You'll find most lenders willing to help you get your payment schedule back on track if you act proactively.

However, if you fail to inform the lender, it can result in an emergency loan default. Due to nonpayment, your lender can charge exorbitant late fees or may even sue you.

Are There Alternatives to Emergency Loans?

Here are a few other options to think about if an emergency personal loan doesn't seem appropriate for you:

0% APR Credit Card

These credit cards come with interest-free financing on purchases or balance transfers for up to 21 months. You could avoid paying interest if you pay off your balance before the introductory period expires. However, you can risk incurring significant interest fees if you can't pay off your card in a timely manner.

Loan From Family

Consider a family loan if you're short of cash and don't meet the requirements for a typical emergency loan. However, there may be risks involved when borrowing money from family members. Set clear expectations and make sure to pay back loans on schedule.

Home Equity Loan

Utilize the equity in your home by taking out a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC). Your home is used as collateral for these secured loans. Compared to unsecured loans, HELOC interest rates are often substantially lower. Because payback terms are lengthy, you can afford lower monthly payments.

Build An Emergency Fund

The best thing you can do to handle an unexpected expense is to plan for it in advance. But how do you get ready for something you can't see coming? An emergency fund can be helpful in this situation. An emergency fund is essentially a savings account that you set aside exclusively for unexpected expenses. You should therefore maintain it separately from your other savings. 


You may only sometimes be able to borrow additional debt to pay for a sudden expense. Your first option should always be to save for unforeseen events before deciding which emergency loans make sense.

If saving money isn't an option, compare emergency loans to choose the one with the lowest interest rate and only take out what you need. Consider your needs and all the emergency loan options that can fix your cash flow issue without putting you in a significantly worse financial situation.

Photo of Harita Solanki

Harita Solanki

Harita Solanki is a passionate advocate for personal finance and believes in empowering individuals to take control of their financial lives.

Her expertise covers a wide range of personal finance topics, including budgeting, saving, credit, debt management, and retirement planning.

With over six years of dedicated experience in the finance industry, Harita has helped countless readers of CASH 1 Loans make informed decisions and achieve their financial goals.

As a dedicated writer, Harita has contributed to numerous financial publications, sharing her knowledge and insights to help readers navigate the complexities of personal finance.

Her writing style is approachable, concise, and tailored to the needs of everyday individuals looking to improve their financial well-being.