Check your Approval Odds* for a $500 loan

Dynamic_hero_500Image: Dynamic_hero_500

Where to get a $500 loan


3 min read
This date may not reflect recent changes in individual terms.

Editorial Note: Intuit Credit Karma receives compensation from third-party advertisers, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our third-party advertisers don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. Information about financial products not offered on Credit Karma is collected independently. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted.

A loan may help if unexpected expenses are squeezing your budget.

But keep in mind that these types of loans can often come with expensive terms, sometimes even costing more in interest than the principal amount you borrow. Some of these loans can be called payday loans. It’s important to shop around and compare loan terms.

We’ll recommend some lenders to consider and things to think about before you apply, as well as alternatives before you take out a small loan.

The best $500 personal loans


 In addition to traditional personal loans, MoneyLion offers no-interest cash advances in small amounts, which can be useful if you need just a little bit to tide you over until payday. You’ll have to link your checking account to the app and you may have to wait to be eligible for the full cash advance amount available. There’s no cost to borrow, but you’ll have to pay a fee if you’d like your money delivered as quickly as possible.


Rise Credit might be worth considering if you have fair or bad credit and want a personal loan without origination fees or prepayment penalties. Since it reports to the major credit bureaus, it can help you improve your credit. But interest rates can reach well into triple digits.


Oportun might be worth exploring if you have bad credit (or no credit) and need a small loan (new customers may not qualify for large loans). Oportun offers prequalification so you can check your eligibility before applying. While you might qualify without having great credit, you’ll likely have to pay an interest rate on the higher end of Oportun’s rate range.

How can I get a $500 loan fast?

If you need just a little bit of money fast, consider options like payday advance apps or buy now, pay later apps. These options differ from traditional payday loans. 

Payday advance apps could be useful if you need a small amount of money for utilities, food or bills and your paycheck hasn’t arrived yet. These apps advance a portion of your upcoming paycheck as an alternative to high-interest payday loans. The amount you borrow is typically automatically debited from your bank account linked to in app when your paycheck arrives.

Many payday advance apps don’t check your credit and charge 0% interest. However, some apps might require membership fees or other fees for instant access to funds. Payday advance apps also make money through optional tips, which could increase the overall cost of borrowing if you leave a tip.

Buy now, pay later apps offer installment-based loans at the point of purchase, allowing you to make an initial payment and then spread out the remaining cost over time, often without interest. These payment plans may be easier to qualify for than larger personal loans and typically don’t affect credit scores.

A payday loan can offer short-term flexibility without a credit check if you find yourself in a financial emergency. But payday loans should be considered as a last resort — they typically come with extremely high annual percentage rates (APRs) that can reach as high as 400%.

Payday loans are often $500 or less and require you to pay back the loan (plus any fees) by the time your next paycheck arrives. Some payday lenders may advertise same-day funding, but when you get access to funds varies by lender. 

Payday loans, payday advances and buy-now, pay-later plans should be approached with caution because of the potential fees involved. Be cautious about getting stuck in a continual cycle of borrowing or getting hit with late fees if you’re unable to pay on time. 

If you’re frequently finding yourself waiting for payday, consider a side gig to supplement your income — you might be able to earn money in a day.

Small loan alternatives

  • Medical repayment plans/forgiveness: If you’re hit with unexpected medical bills, discussing repayment plans with the hospital that provided care is a good idea. Additionally, low-income or underinsured patients may qualify for other payment arrangements or financial help. 
  • Payday alternative loans from credit unions: Payday alternative loans are available from some federal credit unions. These loans are designed as a cost-effective alternative to expensive payday loans. 
  • Charitable grants or utility payment plans: Your current financial situation may make you a candidate for an assistance grant or loan. Hardship grants and specialized financial support programs may be available in your area to help residents facing financial challenges. Taking the time to research the financial assistance options in your area is a good idea.

FAQs about $500 loans

Will a $500 loan affect my credit?

Many financial institutions that offer traditional personal loans for small amounts require a hard pull of your credit before approving you for a loan, which can temporarily drop your credit score. However, a personal loan can build credit, especially if your lender reports to the credit bureaus and you make your payments on time. Other lenders like buy now pay later, payday lenders, or payday apps may not require a hard credit check.

Can I get a $500 loan without using a payday loan?

There are several options to avoid extremely high-interest payday loans, which can sometimes trap you in a cycle of debt. Consider a payday alternative loan from an online lender. Sometimes, a cash advance from a credit card can have more favorable terms than a payday loan. If you need a bit of extra cash for everyday expenses before your next paycheck hits, consider a payday advance app.

Can I get an $500 loan with bad credit?

Yes, getting a small loan is usually possible even if you have bad credit. Lenders willing to loan small amounts to individuals with poor credit scores typically charge higher interest rates because they perceive these loans as higher risk. Other options to consider include payday alternative loans, buy now, pay later apps and payday advance apps.

*Approval Odds are not a guarantee of approval. Credit Karma determines Approval Odds by comparing your credit profile to other Credit Karma members who were approved for the personal loan, or whether you meet certain criteria determined by the lender. Of course, there’s no such thing as a sure thing, but knowing your Approval Odds may help you narrow down your choices. For example, you may not be approved because you don’t meet the lender’s “ability to pay standard” after they verify your income and employment; or, you already have the maximum number of accounts with that specific lender.