Short-Term Loans for Bad Credit

Whether you have an emergency, need help paying your bills, or are facing an unexpected repair, you may need a short-term loan.

Short-term loans can provide quick access to money that you can use for various reasons. They are typically easy to apply for, and you can often receive your funds the same day you apply.

Can I qualify for a short-term loan if I have bad credit?

You may be relieved to know that not all short-term loans require a good credit score! If you have a steady source of income and can provide the correct documents that show you’re eligible for your desired loan, you should be good to go!

Why is it harder to find short-term loans for bad credit?

While there are lenders who specialize in offering short-term loans for bad credit, they can be challenging to find. This is because most traditional lenders look at your credit score as an indicator of whether you'll be able to repay your loan.

Therefore, if you have a poor credit history, traditional lenders may take it as a sign that you won't be able to repay them. As a result, you may not be able to walk into your bank and get a loan with bad credit.

Fortunately, lenders like Advance America can work with you regardless of your credit history.

Best types of short-term loans for bad credit

If you have bad credit but need a short-term loan, here are some of the best personal loans worth considering:

Cash Advances (a.k.a. Payday Loans)

Cash Advances, otherwise known as Payday Loans, can be a good option for people with bad credit. Payday Loans are small-dollar loans that allow you to borrow a certain percentage of what you regularly bring home on each paycheck. As such, the lender bases your eligibility on your income, not your credit score.

A Payday Loan is an unsecured loan, which means you don't have to offer anything as collateral. And, since you’ll repay the loan on your payday, Cash Advances also offer one of the shortest terms available.

Payday Loans should only be used if you know you can repay the loan with your next paycheck. Be sure to assess your own financial situation before deciding whether this short-term loan is right for you.

Installment Loans

Payday Loans are good for a quick cash infusion, but they may not be sizeable enough to meet your needs. If you need a more significant amount of money, an Installment Loan for bad credit may be a better bet. Installment Loans are available to borrowers who can show a steady source of income and provide the proper documentation. Once approved, you’ll receive the funds as a lump sum.

Because Installment Loans are a type of unsecured personal loan, they typically come with higher interest rates than traditional bank loans.

Lines of Credit

Similar to how you can tap into your available limit on a credit card, a Line of Credit is a flexible loan that offers you quick access to cash when you need it most. Once your Line of Credit is opened, you can withdraw money as needed up to your approved limit. Best of all, you'll only pay interest on the money you draw – not on your entire credit line.

Although a personal Line of Credit is considered a short-term loan, you can leave your credit line open indefinitely. As long as funds are available and you make regular payments, your line remains available to use for emergencies and other expenses.

Pawn shop loans

If you're willing to offer something as collateral to your lender, a pawn shop loan can be a good short-term loan option. Because pawn shop loans are secured, you don't need a good credit score to qualify for one. Instead, you just need an item valuable enough to offer as collateral, such as a piece of jewelry.

Title loans

Similar to pawn shop loans in that they're secured with collateral, title loans are a common type of short-term loan for bad credit. With a title loan, you exchange the title to your car, RV, boat, or other vehicle for funds. The lender then keeps your title until you’ve repaid the amount in full.

If you default on a title loan, the lender keeps your title and can repossess your vehicle, so it’s important to stay on top of your payments.

How to apply for a short-term loan with bad credit

The application process is similar regardless of which short-term loan you prefer:

1. Research lenders and loan options

With so many credit unions, banks, and online lenders to choose from, it's essential to do your research. In addition to comparing rates, terms, and origination fees, you should also consider the lender’s reputation and customer reviews when making your selection.

2. Gather the necessary documents

As with the loan terms and fees, the documents you’ll need to apply for the loan will vary by lender. At Advance America, here's what you'll need to apply for short-term loans for bad credit:

  • A government-issued ID, such as your driver's license or passport
  • Social Security number
  • Proof of income, such as bank statements or pay stubs
  • An active checking account If you apply online, you will also need a working email address.

3. Find ways to prove your creditworthiness aside from your credit score

If your lender pulls your credit report and has worries about your creditworthiness due to a bad score, you'll need to find alternative ways to put their minds at ease. This could include showing you have a sizeable income or getting someone to co-sign the loan.

4. Consider applying for a secured loan

If you simply can't find a way around your credit woes, you might apply for a secured loan. Secured loans are where you offer something as collateral in exchange for the loan.

5. Apply for the loan

Once you know which loan and lender you prefer, it's time to submit the loan application. You can complete an Advance America loan application online or at your nearest Advance America store. The application process can be done in minutes, and you'll have our approval decision just as quickly.

6. Receive your funds

If approved for an Advance America loan before 10:30 AM EST, you could receive your funds the same day. If you apply online, we’ll deposit the money directly into your bank account. For in-person applications, you can receive the money via direct deposit or cash.

7. Review your repayment schedule

Once you receive your money, remember to go over your lender’s repayment schedule and budget accordingly. Any missed or late payments can result in additional fees and penalties that increase the amount you owe.

Benefits of applying for a short-term loan with bad credit

There are many advantages of applying for short-term financing:

  • Speed. You'll receive the money very quickly.
  • Convenience. The money can be deposited directly into your bank account without the need to drive anywhere.
  • Flexibility. You can apply for the loan online or in-store.
  • Selection. There are several short-term loan options to choose from.
  • Ease. Short-term loans are usually small, which can make them easy to repay.

Best of all, it’s often easier to get approved for a short-term loan than with long-term loans, which is good news when you have bad credit.

Get a short-term loan from Advance America

If you have a bad credit score and want to apply for a short-term unsecured loan, Advance America has options! We’re happy to work with all types of borrowers regardless of credit score, and our rates and fees are always transparent, so you can choose an option best suited to your financial situation.

Need a short-term loan now? Apply online to get an instant approval decision!

About the Author

Jalin Coblentz has contributed to Advance America since 2023. His experiences as a parent, full-time traveler, and skilled tradesman give him fresh insight into every personal finance topic he explores.

The Advance America advantage

Since 1997, Advance America has helped millions of hardworking people with a variety of financial solutions including Payday Loans, Online Loans, Installment Loans, Title Loans and Personal Lines of Credit.
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