If you find yourself in a crisis and need cash fast, you’re not alone. According to a survey by the Federal Reserve, 40% of Americans would not have $400 on hand to cover surprise expenses like car repairs or a visit to the ER. Fortunately, there are many ways to get cash in a pinch. Read on to learn several strategies to get cash now.
How to get cash now
There are several different ways to borrow the money you need. If you’re lucky enough to have a wealthy friend or family member who can help you out, asking them for help is your best bet! If not, consider the following strategies.
Credit card advances
If you have a credit card or can get approved for one, most companies will let you withdraw cash from the ATM. This is known as a cash advance.
In most cases, a card’s cash advance limit is smaller than the total credit line, and it usually comes with a fee. Further, the annual percentage rate (APR) of cash advances is generally higher than the APR for regular purchases. Also, your interest charges may begin right away, instead of at the end of the billing cycle.
In spite of these downsides, a cash advance does provide a quick and easy way to get cash when you need it. Plus, the cash advance amount gets lumped in with your credit card balance and can be paid off by your minimum payments (although you’ll pay less in interest if you pay it off faster).
If you’re shopping for a new credit card, look for one that doesn’t charge a fee for cash advances, and that has a competitive cash advance APR.
Personal loans are a popular option because they offer larger amounts and — depending on your credit — have lower rates than credit cards. Of course, the better your credit and annual income, the better your chances of getting good rates and terms.
If you have poor credit available interest rates are likely going to be on the high side to allocate for the increased loan risk. That said, SuperMoney’s loan offer engine makes it easy to know what rates you qualify for without hurting your credit score. You can get a quote in minutes, which makes it easy to determine if this is an affordable option for you.
Personal loans can get you a lump sum within a few days, which you’ll pay back (plus interest) over a set period of time. Note, some lenders also charge origination fees, which will reduce the amount you receive. You’ll want to look for a lender that will:
- Lend you the amount you need.
- Give you enough time to comfortably pay it back.
- Offer it all at a low cost.
If you’re interested, click here to get personalized loan offers. It only takes a couple of minutes, and it won’t hurt your credit score.
Home equity loans
If you own a home, you can get cash fast by applying for a home equity line of credit, a home equity loan, or a shared equity agreement. However, think twice before putting your home as security for a loan.
Although interest rates are lower for home equity loans than other types of credit, you are putting your home at risk. If you default on your loan, the lender could foreclose on you and take your house.
If you have bad credit and can’t get approved for a personal loan or cash advance, you can use a payday loan as a last resort. Payday loans are short-term loans that lend you money until your next paycheck. Typically, you’ll need to write a post-dated check or set up an automatic withdrawal so that the money is withdrawn from your account on the date of your next payday.
If you visit a brick-and-mortar location, you can often get approved for a payday loan without a credit check. Alternatively, you can explore online payday lenders like LendUp. While more lenient with eligibility requirements than personal loan lenders, these lenders may still require a credit check.
However, payday loans come with some serious downsides. The most significant disadvantages are these loans’ short repayment periods and fees of $10 to $30 for every $100 borrowed. The small fees that come with payday loans may not look like much, but if you are unable to pay them off and instead recycle the payday loan fee every time it comes. So, you could end up with a really high APR (around 400% APR) if you did that for a year. So make sure you are able to pay off the loan after the initial period so you don’t get stuck in a payday loan trap. Unfortunately, the majority of borrowers who take out payday loans are unable to pay when the due date rolls around.
As such, payday loans should be your last resort. You should only take one out if you are 100% sure that you can pay it (and all your other upcoming expenses) by the end of the loan term.
Make some money on the side
If you don’t want to borrow money or don’t have that option, here are five ways you can earn money fast.
1. Sell stuff
Over the years, you may have accumulated things, such as clothing, which you longer want or need. Perhaps your fashion sense changed — or maybe that bright orange sweater you impulse-bought was never in fashion in the first place.
Either way, if you need money now, you can sell things you no longer need online. Websites like Platos closet, eBay, Poshmark, and Facebook Marketplace are great sites to sell second-hand items.
To improve your results, look at popular listings for items similar to what you want to sell and use their descriptions and pictures as inspiration.
2. Take online surveys
Did you know that you can earn money by sharing your opinion, watching videos, and playing games? Believe it or not, customer insight and data are a valuable commodity that online survey companies will pay for.
Swagbucks and Survey Junkie are two well-known online survey companies that will pay you for taking their surveys. This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get cash if you need money now. However, it may not earn you enough if you need a large sum of money.
3. Get paid for your photos
If you love photography, you might be able to get paid for it. Online marketing is increasingly important, so companies need good digital photos to engage and attract potential customers. Paid stock photography websites cater to that need, which means you can get paid for your photos. If this sounds like something up your alley, check out Shutterstock and Getty Images.
4. Find a side-gig
Getting a side gig is probably the best way to deal with a cash shortage. This article offers more than 30 ideas for side gigs to make some extra cash. An easy job to get started with is delivering food. Ordering food from home has never been so easy. Many restaurants offer delivery services themselves or through third-party services. One of the most popular today is Uber Eats, and if you have a car, you can sign up to become one of their delivery partners.
Get cash now
There are many ways for you to borrow or earn extra cash fast. All you need to do is find the best option for your situation and get started. The right solution for you will depend on your credit situation and how soon you need the money, as well as your interests and skills. If you need a moderate sum of money fast, a cash advance may be an option. If you’re looking for a larger influx of cash, try a personal loan. Or if you have a little lead time before you need to come up with the money, try earning it with a side job!
Of course, the best way to finance emergencies is to save up an emergency fund. Click here to explore ways you can build your savings.
Jessica Walrack is a personal finance writer at SuperMoney, The Simple Dollar, Interest.com, Commonbond, Bankrate, NextAdvisor, Guardian, Personalloans.org and many others. She specializes in taking personal finance topics like loans, credit cards, and budgeting, and making them accessible and fun.