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Where to get a holiday loan in January 2021

Credit unions and online lenders can be your best bet for no-contact loans in November and December.

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Many credit unions offer small-dollar loans to pay for gifts and holiday expenses in November and December. Most years, this would require a branch visit — but that can be difficult with COVID-19 restrictions.

To avoid the hassle of setting up an appointment during limited hours, look for a lender that offers online applications. And if that’s not available to you, consider applying for a loan from an online lender.

9 loans to pay for holiday expenses

These credit unions, online lenders and connection services offer rates, terms and loan amounts within the range of most holiday expenses.

ProviderLoan amountAPRTermsHow to apply
Monevo$500 to $100,0003.49% to 35.99%3 to 144 months
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Upstart$1,000 to $50,0008.27% to 35.99%36 or 60 months
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Even Financial$1,000 to $100,0004.99% to 35.99%24 to 84 months
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Upgrade$1,000 to $35,0006.94% to 35.97%36 to 60 months
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First Financial Credit Union Up to $2,500Starting at 5.99%12 monthsApply on website
USC Credit Union$500 to $4,000Starting at 5.9%12 monthsApply on website
Delta Community Credit UnionStarting at $1,200Starting at 6%12 monthsApply on website
Blue Federal Credit Union Up to $1,50013.99%12 monthsApply on website
RIA Federal Credit UnionUp to $5,000Starting at 3.99%12 monthsApply on website

Worried you won’t qualify because of your credit? Compare our picks for the best holiday loans if you have bad credit.

What is a holiday loan?

A holiday loan is an unsecured personal loan designed specifically to cover holiday expenses. The main difference between a holiday loan and a personal loan is the size. Where personal loans start at around $1,000, holiday loans run from $300 to $1,500.

They’re most commonly available as a limited-time offer at credit unions, usually between November and the end of December. Credit unions often require you to become a member before you can get the loan — and it helps if you already have an account.

Rates and terms

Like with your typical unsecured personal loan, rates can run from around 6% APR to 36% on most holiday loans. Almost all come with a 12-month term, regardless of how much you borrow.

Credit unions and online lenders usually offer rates based on factors like income, credit score and current debts. However, it’s possible to find a no credit check holiday loan at some credit unions.

Should I get one?

Some 73% of Americans plan on spending less than $500 this holiday season, according to a study by Debt.com. If this sounds like you, holiday loans might be too large to be useful. And if you have time to save up, that’s usually a better option than going into debt.

But if you need help with expenses a holiday loan can be useful. It’s a cheaper alternative to racking up credit card debt and the fixed loan amount can help fix your budget.

Holiday loan alternatives in 2020

Taking out a loan isn’t the only way to cover expenses this year. Consider these options before you apply.

  • Credit cards. When you need less than $300 or can pay off your balance before interest accrues, a credit card can be a cheaper option. Or take out a new credit card with a 0% promotional APR for nine or more months for interest-free financing.
  • Pay advance apps. These apps let you access the salary you’ve already earned before your next paycheck, usually for an optional tip or membership fee.
  • Toy assistance programs. Organizations like Toys for Tots give away toys to families in need every year to help save on gift expenses. Usually you have to register with the organization to be considered.
  • Free Christmas trees. Some local organizations like the Christmas Tree Project and Trees for Troops offer free trees to families — plus decorations in some cases. If you qualify, you could still decorate your home without setting yourself back $100.

If you or your family has lost income because of COVID-19, you might be eligible for grants and other forms of assistance. Typically these are available through trade organizations with funds for members of your industry.

Some local governments and mutual aid organizations might also have financial assistance programs available to individuals.

Frequently asked questions

Get answers to common questions about borrowing during the holiday season.

Do I need to have good credit for a holiday loan?

No. Good credit isn’t always necessary. There are lenders that will accept borrowers with fair or bad credit. But be prepared: The lower your credit score, the more expensive your loan will likely be.

Will applying for a holiday loan show on my credit report?

Yes. Every time you submit a formal loan application, it will appear on your credit report and may slightly lower your credit score.

Can a holiday loan cover travel expenses?

It may cover the cost, but if you’re only eligible for a small amount through a short-term lender, you may want to consider a travel loan instead. Just keep in mind that travel loans, like holiday loans, can be an expensive choice that may be difficult to repay.

See other personal loan options

Compare even more personal loans with online applications.

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Filter Values APR Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount
Credible personal loans
4.99% to 35.99%
Fair to excellent credit
$100,000
Get personalized rates in minutes and then choose an offer from a selection of top online lenders.
LightStream personal loans
Varies
Good to excellent credit
$100,000
Borrow up to $100,000 with low rates and no fees.
Monevo personal loans
3.49% to 35.99%
None
$100,000
Quickly compare multiple online lenders with competitive rates depending on your credit.
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