There are many reasons why you might need cash fast now. Perhaps your car broke down and required repairs you didn’t budget for. Or maybe you had a medical emergency and just got your bill from the ER. No matter the reason, needing immediate funds is expected, which means there are several ways to get the money you need.
Trying to figure out where to start? Here are nine ways to get cash quickly.
1. Personal loans
A personal loan can give you cash fast. Many lenders offer quick loans with same-day or next-day funding. That can be ideal for your immediate cash needs – but you’ll need to make sure you meet the lender’s personal loan requirements to qualify for this option.
If you have a good or excellent credit score, you’ll probably have your choice of bank loans with low-interest rates. If your credit is poor, you’ll have to look harder for a personal loan and will likely pay a much higher interest rate. However, a poor credit score doesn’t disqualify you from finding a personal loan.
Personal loans are unsecured; the lender has no collateral to collect if you default. That can mean higher-than-average interest rates. However, with good credit, you can usually find a personal loan with a reasonable interest rate.
2. Lines of credit
Taking out a line of credit can help you get cash when needed without taking out more than you need. A line of credit comes with a preapproved limit. As you repay the loan, the funds become available for borrowing again.
Some of the most common lines of credit are:
- Credit card. Credit cards are valuable tools to help you pay unexpected bills if you need cash fast. You can use a credit card to pay your bills if you’re short on cash. However, don’t over-rely on credit cards – carrying a high balance can quickly spiral out of control and lead to credit card debt.
- Personal line of credit. A personal line of credit can be secured or unsecured. If you have cash equivalents, like a certificate of deposit (CD) or stocks, you can use them to secure the line of credit, but you’ll lose them if you don’t repay it in full.
- Home equity line of credit (HELOC). This type of line of credit uses the money invested in your home to provide cash when needed. If you have enough equity in your home, you can apply for a HELOC and take the funds out when needed, just like you would with a credit card. However, defaulting on a HELOC can lead to losing your home.
- Business line of credit. If you own a business, you can take out a business line of credit to help cover unanticipated expenses. The business is considered collateral, which means you could lose it if you default on the loan.
3. Payroll advance loans
You can get cash fast by requesting a payroll advance from your employer. If approved, you’ll receive a lump sum from a future paycheck, which will be withheld from subsequent checks to repay the advance.
Your employer might also offer low-interest loans to help employees when they need cash quickly. Check with your human resources department to see if this is an option.
Beware of third-party companies advertising payroll advance loans; these companies might offer payday loans, which should only be used as a last resort. Payday loans are covered in more detail below.
4. Credit card cash advance
Another option when you need money now is to get a cash advance from your credit card provider. There are several requirements you must meet to qualify for a cash advance.
The most significant requirement is that your account must be in good standing. If you have an outstanding balance on your credit card, the lender is unlikely to approve your request. You’ll pay a fee for the cash advance and interest on the amount borrowed.
5. Retirement account loans
You can take a loan from the funds if you have a retirement account but only in certain circumstances.
Withdrawing money from a retirement account results in a 10% penalty imposed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).1 However, there are several exceptions to this, including:
- Educational expenses
- First-time home purchase
- Qualified medical expenses
- Permanent disability
The exact exceptions will depend on the type of retirement account you have. For example, the exceptions for an individual retirement account (IRA) differ from those for a 401(k). Speak to a financial adviser if you’re unsure about this option.
6. Life insurance loans
Permanent life insurance policies (including whole and universal life insurance) come with a cash value you can borrow against while you are alive. You then repay the loan throughout your life.
If you don’t repay the loan in full, the insurer will deduct the loan amount from the policy payout. This results in a smaller payout for your beneficiaries when you die. Additionally, term life insurance policyholders won’t have the option to get a loan as this type of policy doesn’t have a cash value.
7. Community loans
Many organizations offer short-term fast loans to community members who need help paying for housing, groceries, utilities, or other necessities. These tend to be small loans but can be extremely helpful in times of need (such as if you’re facing eviction or don’t have enough money to pay your electricity bill).
Check with local religious groups, community centers, or nonprofits in your area to see if any offer emergency community loans.
8. Title loans
If you own a car, a title loan can quickly provide a lump sum of cash. You’ll need to give the lender the title to your car to get a title loan. If you default, you risk losing your vehicle.
Additionally, title loans tend to have higher interest rates than other types of loans, resulting in larger monthly payments that could become unmanageable. A title loan should be one of the last options you consider when you need cash fast.
9. Payday loans
A payday loan is another option when you need cash quickly, but – like with a title loan – leaving this as a last resort is best. Payday loans tend to have high fees, which can quickly spiral out of control if you can’t repay the loan on time.
When you take out a payday loan, you may need to write a post-dated check or authorize the lender to withdraw the amount from your account once you get paid. If you repay the loan within the predetermined time frame (typically two to four weeks), the lender won’t cash the check or withdraw the funds.
If you don’t repay the loan on time, the lender will cash the check or withdraw the money from your account. You’ll need another payday loan if you’re not left with enough money to get by, so payday loans are often called “debt traps.”2
Before choosing this route, learn about payday loans and their alternatives.