Just because you have bad credit doesn’t mean you’re exempt from financial emergencies hitting at inconvenient times in life. But because of your credit score, you may find your options more limited, making it hard to cover those temporary cash flow needs.

While you may be tempted to charge your expenses on a credit card (if that’s even possible) or take out a payday loan, both of those options come with a lot of disadvantages. Most notably, it’s easy and common to get stuck in a debt cycle with either product. With a credit card, you may simply make the minimum payment each month while continuing to accrue additional interest on your balance. With a payday loan, you could quickly end up rolling over the loan into a new one and racking up extra fees each time.

That’s where a short-term loan can help you gain a little more breathing room while still spreading out your payments longer than a payday loan. Even with bad credit, there are plenty of options available to choose from. In fact, most of the online lenders we recommend are actually loan networks, meaning you can submit just one application and potentially get offers from more than one lender.

Ready to find out the best way to get a short-term loan when you have bad credit? Check out our list of best short-term cash advance loans, followed by the best short-term installment loans.

Best Short-Term Cash Advance Loans

A short-term cash advance loan can supply you with a small amount of cash that is repaid over a shorter period of time. Interest rates are typically above average, particularly if you have bad credit. Eligibility requirements generally include that you have a consistent income each month (whether through employment or government benefits) as well as a checking account.

Why do you need a checking account?

For starters, that’s how an online lender gets you your funds — through an electronic transfer straight into your bank account. For short-term cash advance lenders, they also might require you to authorize automatic withdrawals when your payment is due.

They’ll take out the funds you owe, which lessens their risk of you making a late payment or defaulting on the loan. It’s important to make sure you have the funds available on your due date, otherwise, you risk overdrawing your account and falling short on your loan payment.

Many short-term cash advance lenders offer a repayment period of just a few weeks with a maximum loan amount of $2,500. The loan networks listed below offer slightly longer repayment periods, starting at just a few months. This flexibility gives you more time to ensure you can make your payments. Plus, you can spread out the same amount over a longer period, which could potentially save you from rolling over you loan multiple times and incurring more fees.


Apply Now

on BadCreditLoans.com's secure website

BadCreditLoans.com is a lender marketplace, allowing you to connect with multiple lenders through a single application. Because these are short-term loans, BadCreditLoans.com recommends using the funds only for an emergency, rather than financing something optional like a vacation or home remodel project.

Features and Requirements

  • Loan amount ranges between $500 and $5,000
  • Term length lasts 3 to 60 months
  • No minimum credit score required
  • Steady income for 90 days is needed
  • Payments and fees depend on your chosen lender
Learn More →


Apply Now

on MoneyMutual's secure website

MoneyMutual is another marketplace where one application can potentially get you multiple loan offers. Clearly, a major player in the industry, MoneyMutual has served more than 2,000,000 customers. Plus, the online form takes less than five minutes to complete.

Features and Requirements

  • Loan amounts up to $2,500
  • Loan term varies
  • Fast funding possible in 24 hours
  • Not available in New York
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While many short-term cash advance lenders require a lump sum payment, that’s not always the case. As you consider different loan options and structures, be realistic about your financial situation. If you can’t afford your emergency sum now, will you be able to repay it by the time your loan comes due?

In this situation, you may prefer to actually spread out your payments over a few months. Also, consider all the costs involved with a loan. Compare whether your interest is charged each month or if it’s lumped together as a one-time fee. Look at the total cost of the loan, since terms may be presented differently.

Plus, lenders may charge different fees even beyond your interest rate. Is there an origination fee? How do they handle late payments? Take a truly holistic look at all possible fees and charges you could be subject to. That way, you’re not hit with any unexpected consequences in case you face another curveball during your repayment term.

Best-Rated Short-Term Installment Loans

For a personal loan with a longer repayment period than just a few weeks or months, consider a short-term installment loan. These can last as long as several years and come with a few extra benefits compared to a cash advance loan. First is that you can qualify to borrow a larger amount of money.

Also, your payments could potentially be more manageable since they’re spread out over a longer period of time. Finally, most installment lenders report to one or more credit bureaus. That means as you repay the loan and exhibit responsible habits like paying on time and in full, you’ll start to successfully rebuild your credit score.

So what should you look out for when considering a short-term installment loan?

Most importantly, you still need to look at the total cost of the loan over time. If you just focus on affording your monthly payment amount, you could end up paying an arm and a leg in interest over time, since your repayment period could be substantially longer.

When planned wisely, however, this type of installment loan can be an effective tool in bridging your cash flow gaps when you face unexpected hurdles in life. Here are our top picks for online lender networks that can quickly get you the loan offers you’re looking for.


Apply Now

on CashUSA's secure website

As another lender network, Cashusa.com matches you with their loan partners so that you can compare offers if you qualify. The process is fast and you may even be able to get your funds as quickly as the next business day.

Features and Requirements

  • Loan amounts range from $500 to $10,000
  • Term length lasts between 3 and 72 months
  • Minimum credit score is flexible
  • Need monthly income of $1,000 or more after taxes
Learn More →


Apply Now

on PersonalLoans.com's secure website

PersonalLoans.com can connect you with three different types of lenders: peer to peer, installment, and bank lenders. It’s a beneficial way to compare loan offers from various sources to see if one suits you better. To qualify for any loan through PersonalLoans.com, you can’t have any late payments longer than 60 days or have a recent charge-off or bankruptcy.

Features and Requirements

  • Loan amounts range from $500 to $35,000
  • Term length lasts between 6 and 72 months
  • Minimum credit score required is 600
  • P2P lenders require income of $2,000 per month
  • Installment lenders and bank lenders require income of $3,000 per month
Learn More →


Apply Now

on NorthStarCash's secure website

NorthStarCash.com’s lender network has flexible requirements when it comes to your credit score. You will, however, need to make sure you don’t have any recent bankruptcies or extremely late payments currently on your credit report.

Features and Requirements

  • Loan amounts range from $1,000 to $10,000
  • Term length lasts between 6 and 60 months
  • Minimum credit score is flexible
Learn More →

Because each lender network offers clear guidance on most eligibility requirements, it’s relatively easy to plan your path forward. Use this list to find the lender networks that are best suited to your financial situation, whether it’s income requirements, credit requirements, or any other borrower qualifications that are published.

From there, you can apply online in just a few minutes. And since you could very well receive more than one offer, you can quickly and efficiently compare loan offers in order to find one that actually works for you. Remember to look at all costs included, plus how all that interest adds up over time. You want to strike the balance between affordable monthly payments and being aggressive with your payoff strategy in order to minimize what you’re paying over time.

Making the Most of Your Bad Credit Short-Term Loan

Once you’ve selected a short-term loan, whether it’s a cash advance or an installment loan, be prepared to start making your payments. But first, understand what happens once you sign your loan agreement. Many lenders can deposit your funds quickly, making it easy to recover from your financial emergency.

Don’t forget, though, that if your lender charges an origination fee, you won’t receive the full loan amount. Instead of making you pay that fee with your own cash, most lenders simply deduct it from your loan funds before you even receive them. Let’s take a look at how that actually works.

If you borrow $3,000 and get charged a 3% origination fee, that amounts to $90. When your funds are deposited into your banking account, you’ll receive just $2,910. It may not seem like a huge amount, but it can be a game-changer if you need that exact amount in order to cover your emergency expense.

Also, find out what kind of payment options are available and whether or not any fees are charged. Some lenders, for instance, may charge a fee if you want to pay by check. Others, as we talked about earlier, may require automatic withdrawals from your checking account, which requires you to diligently manage your funds to make sure the exact amount is available on your due date.

You may also find lenders that offer convenient payment options via their online website or mobile app. And some may provide payment vendors in select stores so you can make a cash payment in person.

These details and more are an important part of the loan selection process. It may be hard to focus when you’re also dealing with a life emergency, but definitely bite the bullet and perform your due diligence. In reality, you’re only adding a few extra minutes to a process that could either make or break your finances over the coming months and, potentially, years.