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If you’re in a pinch and need cash fast, a same-day loan could provide the money you need on the day you apply.
But even if you’re approved, you may not be able to access your funds right away. That’s because you often need to meet certain lender conditions, such as applying by a certain time of day, to get same-day funding. If you don’t, you’ll have to wait until at least the next business day — and maybe longer, depending on your bank — to get your money.
Plus, certain types of same-day loans can be very costly. If you need money right away, it’s important to understand the total cost of the loan and ensure you can afford to repay it on time.
Here are our top picks for the best personal loans — which are typically less expensive than other types of same-day loans — that offer funding the day you apply.
- Best for large loan amounts: LightStream
- Best for checking rates before submitting a formal loan application: Rocket Loans
- Best for people with less-than-perfect credit: OneMain Financial
- Best credit union for same-day loans: Alliant Credit Union
- Best for small loan amounts: Earnin
Best for large loan amounts: LightStream
Why LightStream stands out: Unlike some same-day lenders that only offer small-dollar loans, LightStream’s loan amounts range from $5,000 to $100,000, making it a good option if you need a larger sum of money. LightStream offers repayment terms of 24 months to 144 months.
- LightStream loans are meant for people with a solid credit history, and the company says those with the best credit qualify for the lowest rates.
- LightStream offers low rates to qualified applicants, plus a rate discount if you enroll in autopay. It also has a rate-beat program that promises to beat competitors’ rates by a small percentage if you meet certain criteria.
- Some lenders let you check estimated rates and loan terms with no impact to your credit scores before you submit a formal application. When you apply for a loan with LightStream, it will generate a hard credit inquiry, which may affect your credit scores.
Read our full review of LightStream personal loans to learn more.
Best for checking rates before submitting a formal application: Rocket Loans
Why Rocket Loans stands out: Rocket Loans uses a soft credit check that allows you to see your estimated rate and loan term — without affecting your credit scores — before submitting a formal application. Just keep in mind that your final terms and approval may differ from prequalification. The company’s loan amounts range from $2,000 to $45,000.
- Rocket Loans charges a one-time origination fee of 1% to 6% of the loan amount, which is deducted from your loan when it’s issued. Keep that in mind as you determine the loan amount you want. The company also charges a $15 late fee if you don’t make your payment within 10 days of the due date, as well as a $15 returned check fee.
- Rates range from competitive to high. Your actual rate is determined by a variety of factors, including your credit scores, income, loan term and more. It’s a good idea to compare loan offers if possible.
- Rocket Loans only offers two repayment options — 36 months or 60 months. But keep in mind that you can pay off your loan early without a prepayment penalty.
Read our full review of Rocket Loans to learn more.
Best for people with less-than-perfect credit: OneMain Financial
Why OneMain Financial stands out: More than half of OneMain Financial’s borrowers have FICO scores below 620 — which could make this lender a possibility even if your credit isn’t rock solid. Its personal loans range from $1,500 to $20,000, and repayment terms range from 24 months to 60 months. (Your loan amount may differ if you apply through Credit Karma.)
Keep in mind there’s a chance you’ll only be offered a secured personal loan, which requires you to put up collateral, such as a vehicle, to qualify.
- Because OneMain Financial works with people who don’t have strong credit profiles, it has higher interest rates than what some other personal loan lenders charge. But its rates are lower than what other companies like payday lenders are likely to charge.
- OneMain Financial charges an origination fee that’s either a flat amount or a percentage of the loan amount, depending on where you live. It also charges a late fee and an insufficient funds fee in states where it’s allowed.
- OneMain Financial uses a soft credit inquiry when you apply for prequalification, so you can check your estimated rate and loan term without affecting your credit scores. Keep in mind your final rate and approval may change after you officially apply, though.
Read our full review of OneMain Financial personal loans to learn more.
Best credit union for same-day loans: Alliant Credit Union
Why Alliant Credit Union stands out: You must be a member to apply for a loan with Alliant Credit Union, but joining is relatively easy. If you’re already a member or decide to become one, Alliant Credit Union personal loans have competitive rates, minimal fees and debt protection plans to help preserve your financial health.
The credit union offers loan amounts ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 and repayment terms of 12 to 60 months.
- Alliant Credit Union offers competitive interest rates on its loans. Your actual rate is determined by on a variety of factors, including your credit, income, payment method and loan term. Typically, personal loans with shorter terms have lower rates than loans with longer terms.
- Alliant Credit Union doesn’t charge origination fees or prepayment penalties on its personal loans.
- Alliant Credit Union offers a debt protection plan that may help you cancel your monthly payments or loan balance if you’re unable to make your payments because of death, disability or involuntary job loss.
Best for small loan amounts: Earnin
Why Earnin stands out: Unlike the other lenders included in this list, Earnin is an app that allows you to borrow money against your next paycheck, and it doesn’t perform a traditional credit check.The first time you use the app, you may borrow up to $100. If you continue to use the app and repay Earnin on time, your limit may increase to up to $500.
- To use Earnin, you must work at the same location every day or use electronic timesheets to track your hours. You must get paid on a consistent schedule — weekly, biweekly, semi-monthly or monthly. And more than half of every paycheck must be directly deposited into a single checking account.
- You must earn at least $4 an hour after taxes and other deductions are withdrawn from your paycheck. Earnin only uses money sent to the checking account linked to the app via direct deposit to calculate your earnings. If you’re receiving unemployment benefits from your state through direct deposit, Earnin may also include that money in its calculation.
- Earnin doesn’t charge interest or fees on its cash advance loans. Instead, it asks people to provide optional tips. But tips aren’t required to use the app.
- Earnin’s Balance Shield feature helps you avoid overdraft fees by sending alerts when your checking account balance is getting low. And if you sign up for Balance Shield Cash Outs, the app will automatically cash out up to $100 of your earnings when you have less than $100 in your checking account.
Read our full Earnin app review to learn more.
What you should know about same-day loans
You have several options if you’re looking for a same-day loan. While the chance of getting money right away may help your immediate situation, it’s important to understand the fees and interest rates involved — and the long-term impact they can have on your finances.
Many same-day loans come with interest and fees that are much higher than the loans reviewed in this article. Here are some other types of same-day loans.
A payday loan is a short-term loan for a small amount of money that you typically repay on your next payday. Payday lenders probably won’t consider your credit scores or your ability to repay the loan, which can help you get approved even if you have rough credit. But it can come at a high price.
Payday loans come with fees that can amount to APRs as high as almost 400%, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
If you’re not able to repay the original loan on time, you may end up rolling the debt into a new payday loan, which can come with additional fees that drive up your payday debt even more.
A title loan is another type of small-dollar, high-interest loan that could give you funds on the same day you apply for it. With a title loan, you use your vehicle as collateral to back your loan. The lender takes your car title in exchange for a small loan. When you repay the loan, you get your title back.
According to the CFPB, the average title loan is around $700 and can come with an APR as high as a whopping 300%. More than 50% of the people taking out title loans become repeat borrowers, and 20% of title-loan borrowers lose their vehicles to the lender.
Pawn shop loans
Another way to get cash quickly is to take something valuable to a pawn shop. In exchange for the item, the shop gives you an agreed-upon amount of cash — which is usually less than what the item is actually worth. If you repay the loan amount, plus fees, by the agreed-upon due date, you can get your valuables back. If you don’t, the pawn shop can sell your item to recover its costs.
The interest on pawn shop loans can be expensive, with fees than can amount to very high APRs, like 240%.
What are some alternatives to same-day loans?
While same-day loans can give you cash right when you need it, these loans typically benefit the lender far more than the borrower. Before you commit to a same-day loan, it’s a good idea to consider some alternatives.
Putting expenses on your credit card or taking out a cash advance may not be ideal, but it could still be less costly than a same-day loan.
The average credit card APR is currently around 15%. And if you take out a cash advance — using your credit card to access cash — you’ll likely end up having a higher APR (25% or more in many cases). But this still may be a less-costly alternative than same-day loans, which can come with triple-digit interest rates.
Family and friends
You may be hesitant to ask family or friends for emergency cash, but if you’re in a bind and know someone who could help you out, this is another option to consider. If a loved one gives you a loan, be sure you’re both clear on the interest and repayment terms. A loan from family or friends may help you repair your finances, but it’s important not to let the loan undermine the relationship.
Payday alternative loans
You may be able to apply for a payday alternative loan, which typically comes with much lower fees and APRs than a traditional payday loan. There are two different types of PALs, and they have slightly different requirements and terms.
You must be a member of the credit union offering the loan in order to qualify. If you’re approved, loan amounts can go up to $2,000.
Note that when applying for a payday alternative loan, you’ll likely need to demonstrate that you meet some basic financial qualifications, like disclosing why you’re applying for the loan or not having a recent bankruptcy.
How we picked these loans
We reviewed more than a dozen same-day loan options. The criteria we used to make our choices included interest rates, eligibility requirements, fee structures, loan amounts, repayment terms and the ability to apply for prequalification.