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Best short-term loans of 2024

Compare small and short personal loans with rates as low as 5.99%

A short-term loan is usually considered a loan that’s less than 36 months, but it’s common to see personal loan providers starting their terms at 60 months. If you’d prefer a personal or installment loan with a quick payoff time less than three years, we’ve gathered some options.
The best personal loans have quick funding, a large variety of loan amounts and terms, low APRs and few fees. But it’s rare to find a lender that hits all those points. Here are the best short-term loan providers of 2022, sorted into six categories for unique needs.

6 best short-term loan providers

Best overall: SoFi

SoFi personal loans


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A standout provider, SoFi offers low rates, terms starting at 24 months and no required fees. That means there are no late fees, prepayment penalties or required origination fees, and most competitors charge a late fee, minimum. SoFi's rates are also low, starting at 8.99% with a 0.25% autopay discount. As a SoFi borrower, you'd get access to multiple perks like referral bonuses, future discounts and more. However, you may need a credit score of at least 680 to qualify.
  • Available in all states
Fixed rates from 8.99% APR to 29.99% APR reflect the 0.25% autopay interest rate discount and a 0.25% direct deposit interest rate discount. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 02/06/2024 and are subject to change without notice. The average of SoFi Personal Loans funded in 2022 was around $30K. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, and a variety of other factors.
Loan amounts range from $5,000– $100,000. The APR is the cost of credit as a yearly rate and reflects both your interest rate and an origination fee of 0%-7%, which will be deducted from any loan proceeds you receive.
Autopay: The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi.
Direct Deposit Discount: To be eligible to potentially receive an additional (0.25%) interest rate reduction for setting up direct deposit with a SoFi Checking and Savings account offered by SoFi Bank, N.A. or eligible cash management account offered by SoFi Securities, LLC (“Direct Deposit Account”), you must have an open Direct Deposit Account within 30 days of the funding of your Loan. Once eligible, you will receive this discount during periods in which you have enabled payroll direct deposits of at least $1,000/month to a Direct Deposit Account in accordance with SoFi’s reasonable procedures and requirements to be determined at SoFi’s sole discretion. This discount will be lost during periods in which SoFi determines you have turned off direct deposits to your Direct Deposit Account. You are not required to enroll in direct deposits to receive a Loan.

Best for low rates: Lightstream

LightStream personal loans


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Lightstream's personal loans are hard to beat if you have good credit. It offers short loan terms, starting at 24 months. Lightstream's rates are some of the lowest out there, starting at 7.49% to 25.49% APR with the autopay discount. Speaking of, the 0.50% autopay discount is higher than most competitors — it's usually 0.25% elsewhere. Lightstream also offers a Rate Beat program that offers to beat competitors APR by 0.10%, and there's no origination fee or prepayment penalties. Just know that only 22% of applicants qualified for the lowest available APR, according to Lightstream's own data.
  • Not available in: Iowa, West Virginia
*Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 5.95% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $303.99.

Truist Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. © 2020 Truist Financial Corporation. SunTrust, Truist, LightStream, the LightStream logo, and the SunTrust logo are service marks of Truist Financial Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Lending services provided by Truist Bank.

Best if you don’t have a bank account: OppLoans

OppLoans Installment Loans


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OppLoans offers installment loans, an alternative borrowing method to payday loans. Unlike the majority of lenders, OppLoans doesn't require an active bank account. Terms range from 9 to 18 months — very short compared to traditional personal loans. Loan amounts are also small, starting at $500 to $4,000. Funding time can be as soon as the next business day. But APRs can get high at 179% APR. OppLoans has no specific credit score requirement, but rates and amounts do vary by state.
  • Not available in: Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia

Best for shortest loan term: Possible Finance

Possible Finance Mobile Installment Loans

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Possible Finance is a mobile borrowing app that offers short-term installment loans with no credit check. All loans have two-month terms, paid with four payments over eight weeks — the shortest loan term on this list. Possible syncs up the payments with your pay schedule. Loan amounts are up to $500, which makes sense given the very short term. Possible does report on-time payments to the credit bureaus, which isn't always the case with installment loans. Turnaround time can be as fast as the next business day, and cost is likely to be around $15 to $20 per $100 borrowed, but it varies by state.
  • Available in: Alabama, California, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington

Best for self-employed borrowers: Avant

Avant personal loans


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Avant accepts credit scores as low as 580, and self-employed borrowers — a rarity among personal and installment loan providers. Loan terms are from 12 to 48 months, whereas most providers start loan terms at 60 months. However, you'll have to borrow at least $2,000, which is a high loan amount if you want a really short term. Rates range from 9.95% to 35.99%, which is on the higher end, and there's an administration fee of 9.99% that's automatically deducted from your loan amount upon funding.
  • Not available in: Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Nevada, New York, Vermont, West Virginia
Personal loans from $2,000–$35,000. If approved, the actual loan amount, term, and APR that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination and other factors. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.

Best for comparing lenders quickly: LendingTree

LendingTree personal loans


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LendingTree isn't a direct lender, but among connection services, it's a force. It has over 500 lending partners, which is considerably more than the competition. Rates and loan amounts range by lender, but you can search for personal loan amounts from $1,000 to $50,000 and terms from 12 months to 10 years. If you search for lenders with LendingTree, there's no obligation or fee. Requirements vary by lender, but you may need a credit score of at least 640 to qualify with most of its lending partners. Additionally, you may receive calls or emails from LendingTree's partners after using its service.
  • Available in all states

Best personal loans: By the numbers

Compare short-term lenders quickly by APRs, amounts and more.

LenderAPRsLoan amountsTurnaroundLoan terms
Lightstream★★★★★ 7.49% to 25.49% with autopay discount$5,000 to $100,000As soon as the same day24 to 144 months
SoFi★★★★★ Starting at 8.99% with autopay discount$5,000 to $100,000As soon as next business day2 to 7 years
OppLoans★★★★★ 160% - 179% APR APR$500 to $4,000One business day9 to 18 months
Possible Finance
Not yet rated
Around 91% or 122%Up to $500As soon as the same day2 months
Avant★★★★★ 9.95% to 35.99% APR$2,000 to $35,000Soon as next business day12 to 48 months
LendingTree★★★★★ Varies$1,000 to $50,000Varies12 to 120

Methodology: How we picked the best providers

We compared dozens of lenders that offer short-term financing, including installment and personal loan providers. In determining our best picks, we looked for unique perks, considered each lender’s reputation and crafted categories to suit a wide range of borrower situations.
Each lender is weighed against 10 metrics: Loan terms offered, interest rates, origination fees, prepayment penalties, available discounts, credit score requirements, work and income requirements, credit reporting, funding turnaround time and state availability. Better Business Bureau profiles and Trustpilot reviews were also considered, factoring into lender reputation.

Compare more personal loan providers

Name Product Filter Values APR Min. credit score Loan amount
Best Egg personal loans
Finder Score: 3.8 / 5: ★★★★★
Best Egg personal loans
8.99% to 35.99%
$2,000 to $50,000
Fast and easy personal loan application process. See options first without affecting your credit score.
Upstart personal loans
Finder Score: 4.2 / 5: ★★★★★
Upstart personal loans
7.80% to 35.99%
$1,000 to $50,000
This service looks beyond your credit score to get you a competitive-rate personal loan.
SoFi personal loans
Finder Score: 4.4 / 5: ★★★★★
SoFi personal loans
8.99% to 29.99% fixed APR
$5,000 to $100,000
A highly-rated lender with competitive rates, high loan amounts and no required fees.
Finder Score: 4 / 5: ★★★★★
8.49% to 35.99%
$1,000 to $50,000
Check your rates with this online lender without impacting your credit score.
LendingPoint personal loans
Finder Score: 3.3 / 5: ★★★★★
LendingPoint personal loans
7.99% to 35.99%
$2,000 to $36,500
Get a personal loan with reasonable rates even if you have a fair credit score in the 600s.
Happy Money
Finder Score: 3.8 / 5: ★★★★★
Happy Money
11.72% to 24.50%
$5,000 to $40,000
Pay down your debt with a fixed APR and predictable monthly payments.

Customer reviews

Compare BBB ratings and see average star ratings on Trustpilot. Reviews and ratings should be taken with a grain of salt, but they can provide valuable insight.

ProviderBBB ratingTrustpilot rating
LightstreamA+ rating, with 1.3-star rating out of 43 reviews1.8-star rating out of 67 reviews
SoFiA+ rating, with 1.25-star rating out of 149 reviews4.7-star rating out of 7,307 reviews
OppLoansA rating, with 4.54-star rating out of 956 reviews4.6-star rating out of 3,557 reviews
Possible FinanceB rating, with 4.51-star rating out of 340 reviews4.5-star rating out of 689 reviews
AvantA rating, with 1.14-star rating out of 190 reviews4.6-star rating out of 23,977 reviews
LendingTreeA+ rating, with 1.38-star rating out of 99 reviews4.5-star rating out of 12,316 reviews

How short-term loans work

A short-term loan is what it sounds like — it’s a short loan that’s usually defined by a term less than three years long and is typically unsecured.
If you go with a short-term personal loan, you’ll likely have a fixed interest rate, meaning the rate doesn’t change over the course of the loan. It’s common to see personal loan providers start loan terms around 24 months.
You may also run into installment loans that come with a fixed interest rate and no credit check, and are typically completed in 18 months or less.
Payday loans are also considered short-term, but are more risky, and typically require you to pay off the balance by your next paycheck.

How to compare small, short-term loans

Like any other loan, comparing short-term loans starts with the APR — annual percentage rate. It’s how much you’re charged each year to borrow. It can include your interest rate and various fees, such as an origination fee. The lower the APR, the more you’ll save.
Start comparing lenders by these features:

  • Interest rate. The rates you’re eligible for largely depend on your credit score. And the shorter the loan, the higher your interest rate is likely to be. It may be wise to prequalify with lenders first to get realistic estimations on how much it’ll cost you to borrow.
  • Extra fees. Lenders may charge fees like origination fees, prepayment penalties, administration fees or late fees. But some lenders don’t charge these extra fees at all, such as SoF, which can mean huge savings.
  • Ask about discounts. Most lenders offer an autopay discount, usually getting you a 0.25% interest rate discount. Other typical discounts include student, military or relationship (for current customers).
  • Hardship options. Hard times can hit anyone, so it’s worth asking a lender if they offer deferment plans in case you run into a tough financial situation in the future.
  • Flexible repayment plans. Ask whether you can choose your due date or have the option to move your payment due date. A few lenders may allow for bi-monthly payment plans as well, which could save you on interest.
  • Lender reputation. If a lender has multiple BBB alerts, a history of FTC complaints or an overwhelming number of negative reviews, it might be time to look for an alternative lender.

How to prequalify for a short-term personal loan

Prequalfication involves a soft credit check, and can help you see your chances of qualifying and view available rates. Personal loans tend to require a higher credit score — at least 670 — since these loans are unsecured. And keep in mind that shorter loan terms do tend to come with higher interest rates.
However, a few lenders, such as Avant, accept scores as low as 580. And if you go with an installment loan provider, there’s a good chance that the credit check will get skipped entirely.
Requirements vary by lender, but here are some requirements to plan for:

  • Good credit score, 670+
  • Debt-to-income ratio below 43%
  • Full-time employment or enough monthly income to repay loan
  • No active or recent bankruptcies
  • Active bank account
  • At least 18 years old, in most states

Read more on personal loan eligibility requirements

How much do short-term loans cost

The cost of a short-term loan is determined by your APR and long term. The shorter the loan, the less interest will accrue. However, most lenders charge higher interest rates for shorter loan terms.
Use our personal loan calculator to see how much a short personal loan may cost you.

Should I avoid payday loans?

Yes, avoid payday loans if possible. While payday loans can be a quick and fast way to borrow money, they may lead to a cycle of debt. They’re known for very high APRs and gauging late fees, and they’re also not legal in all states. See our guide on payday loan alternatives for more information and other quick financing options.

Alternatives to short-term loans

Short-term loans can be a smart way to borrow — the shorter your loan term, the less interest the loan accrues. However, short loan terms also mean higher monthly payments, so while saving money is important, it’s also vital that you choose a borrowing method that you can comfortably afford.
Some alternatives to short term loans include:

  • Extend the loan a little. It’s a simple solution to high monthly payments. Additionally, longer loan terms tend to qualify for lower interest rates, but know that extremely long loan terms may cost more in the long run despite a lower rate.
  • Home equity products. If you have a home with at least 20% equity, then a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC) could be an affordable borrowing option. Just know that the home is collateral on these loans, so tread carefully.
  • Cash advance apps. There are multiple cash advance apps available, some with monthly membership fees. However, most apps have borrowing limits up to $250, but cash apps don’t charge interest — just extra fees.
  • Credit card cash advance. You can use an existing credit card at an ATM to withdraw a cash advance up to your available credit limit, but it may be wise to do this only if your rate is lower than other borrowing methods. There are credit cards with 0% introductory rates, though. Compare the best credit card offers of the year.
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Editor, Banking

Bethany Hickey is the banking editor and personal finance expert at Finder, specializing in banking, lending, insurance, and crypto. Bethany’s expertise in personal finance has garnered recognition from esteemed media outlets, such as Nasdaq, MSN, Yahoo Finance, GOBankingRates, SuperMoney, AOL and Newsweek. Her articles offer practical financial strategies to Americans, empowering them to make decisions that meet their financial goals. Her past work includes articles on generational spending and saving habits, lending, budgeting and managing debt. Before joining Finder, she was a content manager where she wrote hundreds of articles and news pieces on auto financing and credit repair for CarsDirect, Auto Credit Express and The Car Connection, among others. Bethany holds a BA in English from the University of Michigan-Flint, and was poetry editor for the university’s Qua Literary and Fine Arts Magazine. See full bio

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Bethany has written 392 Finder guides across topics including:
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