If you’ve ever said, “I need money now!” and run out of options, chances are you have a bad credit score or don’t know where to look. And if you’ve ever faced down a series of lenders unwilling to take a chance on you, you know how it feels to want to give up.
But you shouldn’t!
Now more than ever, you have options to help you through the rough patches. While some come with more risk than others, they’re all viable ways to dig yourself out of a long-term financial hole.
The trick is to use them wisely.
Work, Sell, or Rent for Your Fast Cash
Before you start applying for loans, you might try a few of these interest-free alternatives to raking in extra money.
Sell Your Spare Stuff
The first place you should look for money now is in the stuff lying around your home. You may find a few items that don’t put a smile on your face anymore – but might make somebody else happy if they found them on eBay or Facebook Marketplace.
For instance, you might sell your:
- Electronics such as laptops, cell phones, gaming consoles, and speakers
- Outdated home décor and artwork
- Musical instruments
- Out-of-fashion clothes
- Books (yes, books still exist!)
If it exists, chances are, someone out there wants to rent it. Consider renting:
- A room in your house or apartment with Airbnb
- Your parking space with apps like SpotHero or Spacer
- Your driveway or spare storage space with Neighbor.com
- Your friendship via RentAFriend
- A day in your pool with Swimply
Sign Up for the Gig Economy
The gig economy doesn’t usually come with health insurance or employment benefits. But if you need money now, it’s a quick way to stuff extra money in your pocket.
You can find gig work through several avenues, such as:
- Driving for Uber or Lyft
- Signing up for errand sites like Task Rabbit or Shipt
- Taking on caregiving jobs for pets, people, and loved ones at Care.com or Rover
- Or even standing in line in New York City with Same Ole Line Dudes
Find Work as a Freelancer
With these sites, you can take advantage of an endless stream of needs. Writing, transcription, designing websites, custom artwork – if it exists, someone will pay you to do it. All you need is a special skill and a few good reviews to get started!
Ways to Borrow Money if You Need Cash Now
If you don’t have time for a second job, it might be time to consider one of a half dozen types of loans to tide you over these difficult times.
Each of these loans comes with its own risks and interest rates. But if you truly need money now, they may be your knight in money-green armor. Taking out a loan often affects your credit score, but it can have a positive effect over the long run.
Get a Loan from Your Credit Union
The first place you might have tried was the institution where you have your bank account, though that’s not your only option. Credit unions are not-for-profit, member-owned financial institutions with lower account fees and interest rates than commercial banks. Typically, they also pay higher rates on your stashed funds.
Of course, a loan is still a loan. If you take out a loan from your credit union, you’ll still have to pay it back – with interest.
But you’ll probably pay less: as of March, the national average for an unsecured, fixed-rate, three-year loan at a credit union was 9.28%. At a bank, that rose to 10.2%.
Over three years, that adds up to a lot of dough.
Apply for a Personal Loan
A personal loan is just that: a loan granted for a wide range of purposes. You can use personal loans for medical expenses, major purchases, or even to pay off other debts at a lower interest rate.
Depending on your credit score and the issuing bank, the loan amount, repayment duration, and interest rate may vary. But if you really need money now, this may be one of your quickest routes.
Take Out Another Kind of “Personal” Loan
In times of trouble, you might turn to friends or family to help you out. If you say to your mom, grandpa, or best friend, “I need money now!”, they might help you out.
Just be sure to pay the loan back in full on your agreed-upon terms. Otherwise, you might fall prey to that old saying: familiarity breeds contempt.
Apply for an Online Loan
Depending on your credit and repayment history, you might qualify for an online loan of up to a few thousand dollars. Interest rates on these loans vary from flexible to fixed based on the lender.
The upside of online loans is that they’re quick and convenient (you can even apply in your pajamas!) and come with competitive interest rates. The downside is that some online loans come with higher fees hidden in the fine print. With Fortuna Credit, you can easily compare rates from multiple lenders in one place.
Cash Advance Loans
If you have a credit card account or two, you might consider a short-term cash advance loan. These are much less expensive than predatory lending alternatives, though you’ll usually pay a fee of around 5% of the borrowed amount. You may also be on the hook for an interest rate around 25-30%.
Take Out a Line of Credit
A line of credit works like a credit card. (In fact, credit cards are considered revolving lines of credit.) With this type of loan, a financial institution approves you for a certain limit – say $2,000. You can borrow money against that limit as you need.
Then, when you make a payment on your debt, the lender will apply your funds to your credit limit and pay off that part of your debt. (In a revolving line of credit, when you pay off your debt, the limit goes back up to its predetermined amount so you can spend it again.) Depending on your arrangement, you may pay back your debt all at once or in monthly installments.
Borrow Money from Your Retirement Account
If you’re strapped for cash but have a significant chunk in savings, you might consider taking out a loan on your 401(k) or individual retirement account.
With your IRA, you can borrow once per year so long as you repay your funds within 60 days. Or, with a 401(k) loan, you can borrow up to half your account balance (maximum $50,000) with a five-year repayment window.
If You Need Money Now, Avoid These 4 “Fast Cash” Sources
Unfortunately, some types of lenders have a reputation for predatory practices. If you find yourself in need of money now, just remember: taking out a personal loan is a better alternative than these money-suckers.
A payday loan, sometimes called a cash advance, is a short-term loan to tide you over until your next paycheck. Depending on your income, you may qualify for up to $500. And oftentimes, you can walk out with cash in less than 24 hours after applying.
But beware! These loans usually come with short-term repayment periods and high-interest rates or a “fee” per borrowed amount ($15 to $30 owed per $100 borrowed isn’t unusual). And if you fail to make your payment in full, you might find yourself on the hook for extra “fees” – as much as 400% interest annually.
A title loan is what it sounds like: a loan attached to the title of a valuable possession. Typically, this refers to your car title, which some lenders will accept as collateral in exchange for a cash loan.
Title loans can seem attractive, as you can borrow up to 50% of your vehicle’s value. The catch? You’re going to pay an average APR of 300%. And if you don’t pay up, you risk the company repossessing your car, even if you’ve made payments.
An installment loan provides a way to borrow money and repay in multiple payments or installments. If you qualify, installment loans offer terms up to three years. Installment loans are a fairly broad category that can include mortgages, auto loans, and personal loans.
Do You Need Money Now? Try Fortuna Credit
If you find yourself saying, “I need money now!”, any one of these solutions may be the catalyst on your journey to long-term financial comfort. Just remember to avoid fast cash scams that pile on more fees than the cost of your loan, as you may find yourself in a deeper hole than where you started.
If you’re in the market for a legitimate loan from a non-predatory lender, Fortuna Credit matches non-prime borrowers (those with lower credit scores) to lenders willing to look beyond your credit report at details such as your bank history and current income. This provides lenders with more accurate information so they can increase approvals and offer better rates. Compare your offers in minutes with Fortuna Credit.
*Any opinions expressed are those of Fortuna Credit and have not been reviewed or approved by any of our partners.