What is a fast personal loan and how can I get one?

Fast personal loans can help you cover emergency expenses.

Our goal here at Credible Operations, Inc., NMLS Number 1681276, referred to as "Credible" below, is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we do promote products from our partner lenders who compensate us for our services, all opinions are our own.

Looking for quick cash to cover a large expense or financial emergency? Fast personal loans are a useful option to consider. Compare loan rates and terms. (iStock)

Your refrigerator dies. Your car’s transmission goes out. You need emergency medical care. Sometimes you need to quickly come up with cash to cover an expense. 

If you’re facing an unexpected bill, you may be able to cover your costs with a fast personal loan. In many cases, you can receive approval the same day you apply. But while fast personal loans can help you get through a financial emergency, you may end up paying more for one than you might pay if you can wait for a few days to get your money.

Credible makes it easy to compare personal loan rates from multiple lenders.

What is a fast personal loan?

A personal loan is a type of installment loan that you can use for any purpose, from paying for an unexpected expense to consolidating higher-interest credit card debt. Personal loan interest rates are typically lower than credit card interest rates. Applying and getting approved for a personal loan can take several days. 

A fast personal loan helps borrowers who need funds quickly, since they generally come with faster approval times. Online lenders are popular providers of fast personal loans. Most online lenders offer a streamlined process for more rapid approval and funding, all of which can be done without leaving your home.

Although loan approvals are never guaranteed, lenders typically approve applications for a fast personal loan so long as you meet their requirements. Your chances of approval are best when you have a strong credit score, stable income, and a low debt-to-income ratio.

Just how fast are we talking?

The standard funding time for most personal loans with a bank or credit union is one to seven business days. Online banks are typically faster and can process and fund your loan within five business days. 

But some lenders, such as Avant and LightStream — two Credible partner lenders — specialize in delivering fast personal loans, with funds deposited in your bank account as quickly as the same day or the next day after approval. 

Lenders to consider for fast personal loans

Not all personal loan lenders provide fast personal loans. The following Credible partner lenders all offer same-day or next-business-day funding.


  • Time to fund: As soon as the next business day (if approved by 4:30 p.m. CT on a weekday)
  • Minimum credit score: 550
  • Minimum income: $1,200 monthly
  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $35,000
  • Loan terms (years): 2 to 5


  • Time to fund: Next business day
  • Minimum credit score: 700
  • Minimum income: Does not disclose
  • Loan amounts: $10,000 to $50,000
  • Loan terms (years): 3 to 6


  • Time to fund: As soon as the next business day after acceptance
  • Minimum credit score: 660
  • Minimum income: $25,000
  • Loan amounts: $2,500 to $35,000
  • Loan terms (years): 3 to 7


  • Time to fund: As soon as the next business day
  • Minimum credit score: 580
  • Minimum income: $20,000
  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $36,500
  • Loan terms (years): 2 to 4


  • Time to fund: As soon as the same business day
  • Minimum credit score: 660
  • Minimum income: Does not disclose
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Loan terms (years): 2 to 7

OneMain Financial

  • Time to fund: As soon as the same day, but usually requires a visit to a branch office
  • Minimum credit score: None
  • Minimum income: Does not disclose
  • Loan amounts: $1,500 to $20,000
  • Loan terms (years): 2 to 5

Universal Credit

  • Time to fund: Within one day, once approved
  • Minimum credit score: 560
  • Minimum income: Does not disclose
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Loan terms (years): 3 to 5


  • Time to fund: Within a day of clearing necessary verifications
  • Minimum credit score: 560
  • Minimum income: Does not disclose
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Loan terms (years): 2 to 7

How much can I borrow with a fast personal loan?

You may be able to get a personal loan with a minimum loan amount of $1,000 up to a maximum of $100,000, and a loan term ranging from 12 to 84 months. The amount you may qualify for will depend on many factors, including your credit history, credit score, loan term, the amount you’re applying for, and other factors.

  • Credit score and history Your credit plays a significant role in whether a lender approves you for a loan, the interest rate, and the amount of the loan. If your credit scores are low or your credit report has derogatory marks or late payments, the lender may compensate for its perceived risk by offering you a smaller loan amount and a higher interest rate.
  • Income — Lenders want to see steady employment and income that demonstrates you have sufficient resources to repay the money you borrow.
  • Debt-to-income ratio (DTI) — Your DTI is the amount of your income that goes toward paying your monthly debt payments. A low DTI demonstrates your ability to afford the loan with less risk of default. As a rule, the lower your DTI, the greater your chances to qualify for a loan with the lowest rate.
  • Loan term — If your loan term is longer, your payments may be lower, making them more manageable, although you’ll pay more in interest over the life of the loan.
  • Loan amount — Avoid paying interest whenever possible. To that end, only apply for the amount you need to borrow.

Want to see where you stand? Consider prequalifying for a loan — without affecting your credit — to determine how much you may be able to borrow and the interest rate you might receive.

How much will a fast personal loan cost?

To help illustrate how loan terms, along with your credit score, can influence how much a loan may cost, consider the following examples:

  • Loan A — Let’s assume a borrower with poor credit takes out a $5,000 loan with a three-year repayment term, a 24.99% APR, and an origination fee of $250; they’d receive $4,750 in loan funding and make 36 monthly payments of $199. The interest and fees included in the APR would cost $2,156 for a total loan cost of $7,155.
  • Loan B — Now, let’s consider what the loan costs might be for a borrower with good credit. For a $5,000 loan with a five-year repayment period, a 5.99% APR, and no origination fee, a borrower would make 60 payments of $97, and only $798 in total interest, for a total loan cost of $5,798.

Pros and cons of fast personal loans

Fast personal loans can be beneficial if you want to access quick cash to pay for an unexpected expense. But personal loans come with downsides as well. So, before you take out a fast personal loan, it’s important to balance the advantages and disadvantages as they relate to your unique financial situation.


  • Apply online quickly — You can typically fill out the loan application in a few minutes and get a decision right away.
  • Fast funding — No need to wait weeks or even months to receive loan funds. You can often receive funds the same day or the next business day after approval.
  • Lower interest rates — With personal loans, you may pay considerably less in interest than you would with other fast cash options, such as payday loans or credit cards.


  • Origination fees — Many online providers of quick loans don’t charge origination fees, but if a lender does charge one, the fee could be between 1% and 8%. That’s why it’s so important to comparison shop and find loans with the most favorable terms and lowest fees.
  • Could be more costly than waiting — If you need the cash immediately, you may be more apt to hastily accept a loan offer with less-than-desirable terms. Even if you’re facing a financial emergency, it’s a good idea to carefully review the loan’s terms, fees, and obligations before you sign.
  • Higher interest rates — If your credit is poor, you might receive loan offers with interest rates of up to 36%. In this case, it may be worth it to improve your credit before applying for a fast loan.

Alternatives to fast personal loans

Fast personal loans are a solid option when you need funds quickly. But they’re not the only option. Here are a few alternatives to personal loans to consider:

  • Personal line of credit — The primary benefit of a personal line of credit is its flexibility. You can borrow only the amount you need, and you can draw and repay funds repeatedly. Keep in mind, however, that most personal lines of credit come with variable rates, which are often higher than personal loan rates, so they’re not your best bet for consolidating debt.
  • Balance transfer credit card — If you have good or excellent credit, you may be eligible for a balance transfer credit card with an introductory offer of 0% APR for a specified period, so long as you repay your entire balance before the period expires. Be aware of balance transfer fees — typically around 3% of the loan amount. You’ll want to run the numbers to ensure you’ll save more in interest than you’ll pay for the fee.
  • Payday and title loans — While these types of short-term loans can grant you access to immediate cash, they should only be considered as a last resort.

Payday loans often come with fees that equate to an annual percentage rate (APR) of 400% or higher. Also, these loans are typically due in full on your next payday, which can be very difficult, especially if you’re strapped for cash. The typical auto title loan is for about $700 with an APR of 300%, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. If that’s not bad enough, failure to repay the loan can result in the seizure of your vehicle, which happens to 20% of borrowers.

Comparing personal loan rates is a matter of minutes when you use Credible to check out rates from multiple lenders.