You have a number of options if you need quick access to funds. Use the table below to compare short-term lenders offering loans with instant decisions and quick funding.
How can I borrow money fast?
If you need to borrow money immediately, there’s a number of ways to do so. However, if you don’t have a friend or family member that can lend you money, another popular option is to apply for a short-term loan.
Short-term, or payday, loans are generally offered for smaller amounts, with quick turnaround and funding, which means you can get access to money fast. However, short-term loans are also an extremely expensive method of borrowing, and should only be used as a last resort. You can learn more about your loan options below.
An online short-term loan, also known as a payday loan or a short-term instalment loan, is a lending option that gives you access to money quickly and typically comes with a brief repayment period.
Payday and other short-term loans have less strict application requirements than a traditional loan, but come with much higher interest rates.
One way to minimise how much a short-term loan will cost is to borrow only the amount of money you need to cover your expenses and to choose the shortest repayment period you can afford. For example, you may only need £200 to last you until your next payday. Borrowing a smaller amount of money and paying it back quickly will help you afford the repayments.
Credit card cash advances
A credit card cash advance is effectively a cash loan you take out through your credit card. The easiest way to get a same-day credit cash advance is by withdrawing money from a cash machine using your card. You’ll need to have a credit card in good standing to be able to withdraw money from it, and you’ll need to be within your credit limit.
Although you can repay the cash advance over a long period of time, interest normally starts to accrue on the balance immediately. Bear in mind that card issuers typically charge a higher interest rate for cash advances.
In most cases you’ll also be charged a cash advance fee. The fee is either a lump sum (typically around £3), a percentage of the amount being borrowed (typically around 3%), or a combination of the two – for example 3% of the amount you withdraw, with a minimum of £3.
It’s also often possible to transfer money from your credit card to your current account (or any account for that matter). As with a cash advance, you should expect to pay a higher rate on this part of your balance, and also a fee.
A personal loan is a form of credit offered by many lenders and financial institutions. These loans generally come with lower interest rates and higher maximum amounts than a credit card cash advance or a payday short-term loan. Loan terms typically range from one to seven years, but some lenders offer loans outside of this range.
These loans might not be quite as fast to get as payday loans, but depending on the amount and loan term you’re after, a personal loan could be a more affordable option for borrowing the money you need.
The eligibility criteria for personal loans is usually a bit more strict, requiring good to excellent credit and a regular income. However, there are specialist options available if you have bad credit.
Online borrowing options
You can turn to an online lender for a variety of different loan products, including:
Whichever you opt for, you can check whether a company is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Short-term loan cost comparison
Loan amount: £200
- Loan term: 4 months
- Interest rate: 292% (fixed)
- Monthly repayment: £83
- Total cost: £332
Loan amount: £200
- Loan term: 6 months
- Interest rate: 292% (fixed)
- Monthly repayment: £64
- Total cost: £386
How do you compare online loans?
You can start your search right here at finder.com and compare your options on our comparison tables. When trying to find the right loan, the following features can help narrow down your search:
- Total amount payable. If you only focus on one figure, it should probably be this one. The total payable includes interest and fees. Aim to keep this figure as low as possible while ensuring the repayments are affordable.
- Interest rates. The interest rate is the annual cost of borrowing, expressed as a percentage of the capital being borrowed. The APR, which is designed to give an annual summary of the cost of a loan, takes into account both interest and fees.
- Fees. Some loans come with a “product”, “admin” or “set-up” fee. Fees can be used to offset a very competitive rate, so it’s a smart idea to check for them.
- Application and turnaround time. How long does it take to apply and how quickly will you receive your loan? If you need funds deposited in your account by the next day, a lender who takes three won’t be the best for you.
- Eligibility. Lenders have different eligibility criteria, and some being more flexible than others. Check to see if you meet the eligibility criteria before applying.
- Early repayment terms. Lenders have different policies around early repayment, with many charging interest for up to two months beyond the date of overpayment. If you think repaying some or all of your loan early would be a possibility, factor this feature into your comparison.
How to choose the right quick loan
- Calculate much you need to borrow. Short-term loans are expensive, and you don’t want to end up borrowing more than you need.
- Understand your budget. Understand how much you can afford to repay, and that you’ll be able to meet all your repayments on time.
- Compare lenders. Make sure the lender offers quick approval and funding if you want access to the money immediately.
- Check your eligibility. Different lenders have different requirements that you’ll need to meet in order to apply for a loan.
- Apply for the loan. Complete the online application. You should receive a decision almost immediately.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of borrowing money online?
- Compare a range of options. There are a huge number of lenders operating online, and they can all be compared in one place. This is easier than driving to separate lender locations and comparing costs in person.
- Easy applications. Once you’ve found the loan you want to apply for, you can complete and submit your application in a few minutes.
- Receive the loan directly into your account. When you apply for a loan online, the money is sent directly to your nominated account.
- High costs. Depending on the type of loan and the lender, you’ll see some high interest rates.
- Some disreputable lenders. Be careful who you borrow from and always check that they are operating legally.
What you need to borrow money online
When you have chosen a lender, click “Go to Site” to submit your online application. You’ll need some of the following details on hand:
- Personal. Your name, address, date of birth and contact information.
- Financial. Your income, employment or government benefits details.
- Banking. You’ll usually need to give details of your nominated account.
Alternatives to using a lender
If you’re worried you won’t qualify for a loan or just want to find a way to get cash without it affecting your credit, there are alternatives.
Look into picking up side work, borrowing money from a friend or simply requesting more time to repay your debts. These will help you avoid costly interest rates and the potential spiral of debt some people get into with short-term loans.
|Alternative||What you can do|
|Ask for more time||If you have a bill and you know you’re just not going to be able to pay on time, give the company a call and ask for an extension. You’ll be surprised that many companies will work with you to come up with a repayment timeframe that works for both parties. If you can’t pay the bill at all, you may have less negotiating power. You can try asking to speak with a repayment representative and see if they can waive the late fees, give you more time or even work out a more flexible repayment schedule.|
|Ask your family or a friend||Ask your family or a good friend to lend you some money. They may be willing to offer you a cash loan with no interest. But make sure you agree to repayment terms. Nothing can kill a great relationship like never repaying borrowed money.|
|Ask your employer||Some employers could give you an advance on your wages, and some big companies have employee loan assistance programmes. If you opened up a discussion with your manager around this, you might even be able to discuss ways in which you can earn some more money with the company. Have you been doing such a good job you could get a bonus? Take a moment and think about any ways you could quickly earn some more money with your employer because it already trusts you and can pay you quickly.|
|Sell something||What could you sell today that will give you some money? Some examples are: an old cell phone and an old stereo, or stamps or rare coins. Look around your house and try to find something you don’t use that has value. You could quickly put it on eBay or a local reselling app and get some quick cash.|
|Do some side gigs||This could include: writing, manual labour, event coordination, creative or design work, database work, pet-sitting or even housesitting. If you want quick cash, avoid online listings that say “great experience” or “ideal for exposure”, these jobs are typically unpaid and just for people trying to get their foot in the door in a specific industry. Also try to find a few similar jobs and compare rates so that you can get the most money for your time.|
Repayment costs for online loan vs other lenders
If you borrowed £500, here are the estimated repayments:
|Type of Lender||Estimated total payable||Turnaround time|
|Payday/short-term instalment loan||£760 if paid back within 3 months||Same day|
|Cash advance on your credit card||£522 if paid back within 3 months||Instant (ATM withdrawal)|
|Online bad credit personal loan||£618 if paid back in 12 months||1 to 5 working days|
You loan repayment cost depends on your loan interest rateYour interest rate will determine how much interest you will get charged from your loan and this will change your repayment figure. In some cases, lenders will determine your individual interest rate based on your credit file – the better your credit score the lower the interest rate, but this is dependent on the lender.
Payday loans are regulated by the FCA, so that you should never have to pay back more than twice the amount you borrowed, and you should never be charged more than 0.8% (80p per £100) per day.
The bottom line
If you need quick access to funds, it’s definitely worth exploring your other options, such as asking to borrow money from a friend or family member, before applying for a short-term loan.
While these loans offer fast approval and funding, they are also very expensive, and you may find yourself falling behind on your repayments.
Frequently asked questions
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