Best Short Term Loans for Bad Credit are NOT Payday Loans!
Loan Reviews

Best Short Term Loans for Bad Credit are NOT Payday Loans!

EPF Last Update: January 4, 2020

When people look for short-term loans, and especially if they have a bad credit score, they often end up with payday loans. The reason why is how payday loans (which are the worst kind if you ask us) promote their business. It usually sounds like this: short-term loans, fast cash, no credit required. Those are all predatory lending alerts, and if you end up with a payday loan, you can easily fall into a loop of never-ending huge interests. A typical APR for a payday loan is 400%! For that reason, we highly recommend you to avoid payday and auto title loans (which take your car as collateral). Those are true examples of predatory lending.

To learn in detail about getting personal loans with a bad credit score, we suggest you to read our article.

But, to make it easy for you, we have created this table, which will review some of the great companies that will lend you the money through short-term personal loans.

The lending market is much more flexible these days and people with bad credit have much more higher chance to get approve for a loan. And if we add that you are looking for small amount of money, it’s easy to get. Let’s face it, loaning $1,000 is not the same as loaning $100,000.


Loan CompanyMin TermsMin AmountAPRMin Credit Score
BadCreditLoans3 months$1,0005.99% – 35.99%0
OppLoans9 months$50099% – 199%0
PersonalLoans3 months$1,0005.99% – 35.99%580
LendingTree12 months$1,0003.99% – 35.99%500
Upgrade36 months$1,0006.98% – 35.89%600


If you want to see a full list of offers, shop around.

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This is a unique and huge marketplace that offers personal loans for people with bad credit. You can get an offer of up to $1,000 in a few minutes. People with really bad credit can get up to $3,000. Requirements are quite basic: you need to be over 18, and you need to have a regular income, plus the essentials such as US citizenship, email address, phone. If you meet those criteria, you have high chances of getting your personal loan.


  • Easy to get
  • Smaller amounts available (starts at $500)
  • No application fees


  • Interests are high but much better than payday loans, that’s for sure

Best for: Really Bad Credit



This company is not for everyone, as they require a somewhat healthy credit rating. If you are with a credit score of 580 and min income of $1,000 you can get a loan from this huge marketplace. Terms start at three months, which works for most of the people. If you meet the criteria, you will be quite satisfied with PersonalLoans, as it is a reliable company.


  • Good APR 5.99-35.99%
  • A flexible 3-72 months loan period
  • Not that hard to get a loan as it used to be


  • $1000+ minimum

Best for: People With a Fair Credit Score



Upstart works both for people with bad credit, or no credit history (young adults). What makes them different is that they look beyond your credit score when approving loans. Things like your background, education,  play a part, and if you look reliable, they are likely to approve.


  • Up to $50 000
  • Max interest rate 35.99%


  • $1000+ minimum

Best for: People With Thin Credit



The goal of this company is to help people get rid of their debt, and they are well-known for that. They do however have slightly higher requirements.


  • Up to $35,000 loan amount
  • Low APR of 5.99% – 24.99%
  • Good for paying off debt


  • $5000+ minimum

Best for: Credit Card Debt



While upgrade offers some good options for people with a bad score or those who lost their job, they have some shady small text, so you need to be extra careful with them.


  • $1000 – $50 000 unsecured loans
  • Good APR 6.98% – 35.89%


  • Huge late fees

Best for: People who recently lost their jobs


Lending Tree

This is an online loan marketplace, through which you can get multiple credit options offered to you. That makes them very convenient.


  • Easy to set up, as you only need to do it once
  • Flexible APR


  • $1000 +

Best for: People who want to see multiple offers at one place



This company offers excellent interest rates, and also both secure and unsecured loans, making them suitable for different purposes. The downside is that they only offer longterm loans.


  • Both secure and unsecured loans
  • Excellent APR – 5.99 – 29.99%
  • Up to $35 000 max loan


  • $5000 minimum
  • 3-5 years loan duration

Best for: People with bad credit



Again, alternative payday loans. Not as bad as real payday loans, but only get them if you have to. But, if you are dedicated, you can get a better deal with LendUp than with other similar companies.


  • Unique ladder system
  • Loans start at $100


  • Interest rates up to 208%

Best for: Really Bad Credit



Opploans is an alternative to payday loans. These fall in between personal and true payday loans, with interest rates somewhere in the middle. Again we don’t recommend sites like these. But if you have no other options, go for it. It is an expensive loan type, but still much better than payday loans.


  • Easy to get
  • $500 minimum
  • Flexible


  • Interest rates up to 199%

Best for: Really Bad Credit


Which One to Get?

In case you are looking for short-term loans your chances to get approved are high, even with bad credit.

The loans that we recommend are unsecured personal loans, which means a loan of 5% to 35.99% and for people with bad credit, the typical APR will be from 20% to 35.99%. That is not cheap but much better than 400% APR of payday lenders you usually get.

And if you indeed can’t get approved for a personal loan, try alternative loans. Yes, they are more expensive than personal loans but have a lot of benefits and are still way better than payday loans. We have an article that will help you to understand them completely.

And if you can’t get approved for unsecured, try secured personal loans. That means you need to place collateral, like your car, as insurance. Typically we don’t recommend secured personal loans if they are a short-term and low amount. But in some cases, you really can’t get approved for an unsecured loan, this is an option that you have to consider. Everything is better than those payday loans! Just make sure to get secured loan only if you are sure that you pay it on time, so your collateral stays yours.

Which Type of Online Short Term Loans to Avoid?

Payday loans

Avoid these!  Yes, having a bad credit score is rough, but there are much better solutions than getting stuck with a payday loan. You don’t need that APR of 400%, and you should avoid it unless it’s an absolute necessity, and it almost never is.

Personal loans have APR of 20% – 35.99%. It is still a lot, but it is undoubtedly a much better option than 400%. Getting drawn into a payday loan can lead to an endless debt cycle you never get out of. Plus, getting a personal loan with bad credit is easier than you might think.


Auto title loans

These are quite similar to payday loans, and the only difference is that you need to put one of your assets as collateral in case you don’t pay, for example, your car. While the APR is slightly lower than with regular payday (but still high, at about 300%), you risk more, as your car is involved. Avoid these whenever possible.


Secured short term loans

These work for people who want to get more money approved, or want to lower their APR. They also require you to put collateral (your car, again) as insurance. But, they have much lower interest rates than the auto title or payday loans. Still, putting your vehicle as collateral is not exactly pleasant, especially considering that it is usually worth 5-10x more than the actual loan. That is rarely necessary if you ask us, and personal loans are a much better option, as you are likely to get them even with bad credit score.


Cash advance

Although easily accessible, cash advance loans are extremely expensive options. You need to pay initial fees, and the interests are quite high. Plus, you will have to start repaying immediately, there is no grace period. And taking cash advance can further damage your credit score.


Short term loans near me / Payday loans near me / Short term loans without checking your credit / Payday loans online / Fast cash / Easy approval

Scam alert! That is how predatory lenders lure people who are struggling financially, trapping them into endless loops of never-ending interests. These are usually payday loans. But, sometimes even personal loans companies advertise this way, as you often get approved for a loan within a business day.


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