Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.

Best short-term loans in 2021

Find a payday lender your trust when you can't qualify for other types of financing.

Payday loans are a last-resort option when you have an emergency that can’t wait. And they’re expensive. Even the most competitive payday loans come with fees equivalent to APRs over 700%. The best short-term lenders follow federal and state law, are transparent about costs and can get you amount of money you need it when you need it. But before you apply, read about the alternatives to make sure there isn’t a better option.

3 best short-term loans

LenderWhy is it the best?What you’ll need to applyMax Loan Amount
Check Into Cash Payday LoanYou can also take advantage of bill pay, check cashing and more at storefront locations.Active bank account, government-issued photo ID, proof of income, most recent bank statement, checking account and bank routing number and Social Security Number or ITIN (for Indiana residents only)
CashNetUSA LoanSign up for its discount program to get access to coupons and deals on everything from dining out to tax services.Regular source of income, bank account, US citizen or permanent resident, age of majority in your stateVaries by stateRead review
CashUSA Installment LoansExplore its online education center to get tips on budgeting, how to prioritize your bills and more.Regular source of income, bank account, US citizen or permanent resident, age of majority in your state$10,000
Go to site

How we chose these products

As many states move to tighten laws on short-term lending, we checked each lender’s legitimacy, business practices and website security. We also weighed borrower reviews on the Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot.

We then analyzed and compared each lender’s maximum loan amounts, APRs and funding speed. And because some lenders are moving from payday loans to installment loans, we paid extra attention to lenders and connection services that offered both options so you can compare loans more easily.

What features make a short-term loan the best for you?

Here are some simple questions you should ask yourself while searching for a short-term loan:

  • Do you prefer a secured loan? Finding a short-term loan that doesn’t require any form of collateral shouldn’t be difficult, but some short-term loan providers might want you to provide collateral in the form of your car’s title.
  • Is there a store network and online presence? Any lender that calls itself the best short-term loan company should offer you convenience when it comes to borrowing. This may mean they have a wide network of stores across the country or that they let you apply for and manage your loan online.
  • How long does it take to process the loan? Some of the best short-term loans ensure that you have access to the approved funds the following business day. A limited number of lenders provide prepaid debit card loans which can give you access to funds quickly after approval by transferring the amount to your eligible card. You can then use the money anytime and anywhere.
  • Are you aware of all the fees? While some of the best short-term loans provide quick access to funds, take the time to find out just how much you’ll have to pay in the form of fees. The best short-term loan company in this regard is the one that charges the lowest fees. Remember how much you borrow affects how much you have to pay.
  • Does the lender accept bad credit applications? If you’re looking for the best bad credit short-term loan, take into account that most short-term lenders accept applications from individuals who don’t have good credit history. If the lender you’re looking at requires good credit history and you aren’t eligible, simply move on to the next.

Compare even more short-term loan options

Name Product Filter Values Loan amount Turnaround time Requirements
OppLoans Installment Loans
$500 to $5,000
1 business day
Direct deposit, meet minimum income requirements, live in eligible state
Comes with the option to change your due date so you won’t fall behind on repayments.
CashNetUSA Loan
Varies by state
As fast as same business day
Regular source of income, bank account, US citizen or permanent resident, age of majority in your state
Sign up for its discount program to get access to coupons and deals on everything from dining out to tax services.
Fast5kLoans Short-term Loans Connection Service
$100 to $35,000
As soon as the next business day
Regular source of income, verifiable bank account, US citizen, ages 18+
Get connected with multiple lenders you might qualify with — even if you have bad credit.
LendYou Short-term Loans
$100 to $2,500
Same business day to 1 business day
$1,000+ monthly income, direct deposit, US citizen or permanent resident, ages 18+
Get offers from potential lenders in minutes by filling out just one online form.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Filter Values Loan amount Turnaround time Requirements
Fast5kLoans Short-term Loans Connection Service
$100 to $35,000
As soon as the next business day
Regular source of income, verifiable bank account, US citizen, ages 18+
Get connected with multiple lenders you might qualify with — even if you have bad credit.
LendYou Short-term Loans
$100 to $2,500
Same business day to 1 business day
$1,000+ monthly income, direct deposit, US citizen or permanent resident, ages 18+
Get offers from potential lenders in minutes by filling out just one online form.
BadCreditLoans.com
$500 to $10,000
Varies
Depending on lender requirements, people from all 50 states may not be eligible for a personal loan.
With straightforward, simple qualifications, these loans offer easy approval for people with poor credit.
CashUSA Installment Loans
$500 to $10,000
As fast as same business day
Regular source of income, bank account, US citizen or permanent resident, age of majority in your state
Explore its online education center to get tips on budgeting, how to prioritize your bills and more.
CashAdvance.com Payday Loans
$100 to $999
Varies by lender
Employed, at least $1,000 in monthly take-home pay, valid checking account, US citizen, over 18, valid home and work phone number, valid email address, resident of eligible state.
Use its repayment calculator to see how the loan term and amount you borrow affects the overall cost.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

What are the pros and cons of short-term loans?

  • You can get your money quickly. You could get your money immediately after approval if you apply in-store. Most online lenders can transfer approved funds to your bank account quickly, sometimes as soon as the next business day.
  • Freedom to use the money as you like. You apply for a short-term loan no matter what reason you need the money.
  • Bad credit is OK. short-term loan providers will accept applications from people with poor credit histories, but make sure you compare other aspects when looking for the best bad credit short-term loan.
  • Higher than normal fees. Even the best short-term loan company will charge fees for providing loans, and short-term loans tend to attract higher fees in comparison to conventional loans. A general rule of thumb is that the more you borrow, the more you pay in the form of fees.
  • Disreputable lenders. If a short-term lender sounds great and is offering rates too good to be true, be sure to find out if they are. Ensure the lender complies with all relevant state regulations and that they are operating legally.
  • Not always available. Some states don’t allow short-term loans. If you live in one of them, look into installment loans or personal loans instead.

6 payday loan alternatives

Before you apply, look into other options that are cheaper, more sustainable in the long-run or have more flexible repayments.

  • Pay advance apps. Hourly workers can get an advance on wages they’ve already earned, sometimes for free — though some might charge a monthly membership fee.
  • Payday Alternative Loans (PALs). These low-interest loans are available at federal credit unions with rates capped at 28% APR and a loan term as long as six months.
  • CDFI loans. Community financial development centers (CDFIs) are banks and credit unions with a social mission. They typically offer low-cost financing to people who typically can’t qualify for a loan, like those with bad credit or bankruptcies.
  • LendingCircles. These allow you to lend and borrow money from your peers. Each month everyone in the circle contributes to a pot, which goes to one member until everyone got a loan. You can join one online for a fee or create one with your friends.
  • Local government resources. Your state and local government likely has benefits programs to help cut down on monthly expenses. Some also offer grants to people affected by natural disasters or events like the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Mutual aid groups. These community-based organizations are designed to pick up where the government left off. They offer free meals, food pantries and community fridges and can make room in your budget.

Watch out for overborrowing

Before you apply, ensure that you won’t have any problems in repaying the loan. If you think you might have trouble, don’t take out the loan. Late or missed payments come with increased fees, charges and interest rates on top of negatively impacting your credit. Always work the repayment schedule into your budget, and the best loans will remain the best.

Know that even the best short-term loans can end up costing much more than originally anticipated, especially if you don’t repay your loan on time.

Bottom line

Bear in mind that while the best short-term loans will give you quick access to the money you need, there are a number of good short-term loan providers vying for your attention, so compare all your options before applying.

Are payday loans available in my state?

Frequently asked questions

We understand that you may be cautious when applying for short-term loans. Here are some of the frequent questions our users have asked.

What is a payday loan?

Payday loans are short-term forms of financing that are typically available in amounts ranging from $50 to $500, depending on your state of residence. And they’re expensive — most come with high fees that translate to APRs in the triple digits.

LEARN MORE: How payday loans work

Can I qualify for a payday loan?

To qualify for a payday loan, you typically need to meet the following criteria at a minimum:

  • Steady job or regular income
  • US citizen or permanent resident
  • At least 18 years old
  • Live in eligible state

LEARN MORE: Find out if payday loans are legal in your state

How long does it take to apply for a payday loan?

Applying for a short-term loan should take around five to 10 minutes, provided you have all the information needed to complete the application close at hand.

LEARN MORE: Step-by-step guide to applying for a payday loan

Can I pay off my loan early?

Some lenders may let you pay off your loan early. It’s important to check if there are any other fees and charges associated with early repayment.[/fin_accordion][/fin_accordions]

Picture: Shutterstock

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and finder.com Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.

4 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    JohnApril 26, 2018

    Can funds be deposited onto Walmart debit card?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezApril 26, 2018Staff

      Hello John,

      Thank you for your comment.

      If you’re referring to the Walmart MoneyCard, according to their website, you can add money to the Card from the website of many banks, credit unions and financial institutions with an electronic funds transfer. This means that funds can be deposited into this account through a bank transfer. I hope this helps.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

    Default Gravatar
    FrankieApril 16, 2017

    I’m in need of a small loan but don’t have a checking or savings account. Is there any other way around it?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      AnndyJune 15, 2017Staff

      Hi Frankie,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you need funds quickly but don’t have a bank account, you may consider getting a payday loan from a lender and have the funds deposited onto a prepaid debit card. You can start comparing debit card loans and checking if you are qualified.

      Please do review the requirements and eligibility criteria when you apply.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

Go to site