What are emergency loans?
Emergency loans are essentially loans designed to give you credit in an emergency, where you are going to need the funds very quickly.
What is an emergency? How long is a piece of string? Emergency loans will mean different things to different individuals - it may be that you have to pay unexpected car repairs, or that you have lost valuables, or your boiler has broken down. For all intent and purposes, it doesn’t really matter what “your” emergency is. What matters is that you’re able to take control.
How do I know if I should be looking for emergency loans?
Life is unpredictable, and we all sometimes finds ourselves being unable to handle unexpected expenses. Although one would have thought having a good credit score is bound to help, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re able to obtain a traditional loan from a mainstream lender within your “emergency” timescale. A plumbing nightmare will not wait for a slow banking system. Fortunately, there are lenders out there who offer emergency loans, lenders who will act with some sense of urgency, and who do not focus on your credit score.
What can I expect from lenders?
Emergency loans are designed to provide quick cash and as a result come at a price. APR's on these types of loan will generally be in excess of 100%. Repayments will often be over a short term period of between 1 and 6 months.
Acceptance criteria will vary from lender to lender but as a minimum you will have to be at least 18 years old and be able to demonstrate that you can afford to repay the loan. If you have a poor credit history, don't panic you have options just be sure to check the lenders criteria before you apply.
If, in using the term “emergency”, you mean unexpected bills, or the fact that your washing machine has broken down, or that you’re needing to make last minute travel plans, then (depending on the loan amount required) you may wish to consider securing a loan against an asset. Logbook loans are an option for car owners, and you may wish to check out our specific logbook loans pages in this regard.
Another alternative is doorstep loans, which is essentially cash delivered to your doorstep by a local agent. Not only is the cash delivered to you (as opposed to being paid directly into your bank account), but the lender will call at your home to collect the loan repayments. Although the agent may not be able to come out to your home that very same day, you are likely to be able to arrange something relatively quickly. We again have specific pages for doorstep loans.
Borrowing from friends and family
It's not always easy asking friends or family if you can borrow money but it can be a considerably cheaper form of borrowing in comparison to borrowing from a commercial lender. The key thing to remember when getting into a financial agreement with friends or family is that you have strict repayment plans in place and have discussed what would happen if things go wrong.
When not to use an emergency loan
Emergency loans for rent, food or even to keep up with household bills are not a good idea. These types of loans are designed for one off emergencies and not for long term or sustained borrowing. If you're struggling with debt there are a number of places you can term for free assistance. These are all outlined in our guide; "what to do if you're struggling with debt".