How to Get Emergency Money Fast

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There are many circumstances when an individual or small business needs to get money quickly for emergency expenses. Medical issues, unforeseen household or business repairs or the loss of a job or major client can create financial hardship that requires immediate remedy. There are a variety of ways to gain access to fast cash. While most fast-cash loans carry higher interest rates than traditional forms of financing, be sure to check the legitimacy of a loan maker before signing any financial agreement.

Borrow from family. One of the fastest ways to get emergency cash is to take a private loan from a trusted family member or close friend. Chances are these individuals will not check your credit or ask you to repay at high interest rates. To protect familial relationships, document the terms of the loan in writing.

Take a loan against a 401(k). There is no “qualifying” process, because the money belongs to you, although you will be asked to follow the parameters of the financial entity governing the fund. This typically sets limits on how much can be borrowed and defines terms of repayment. The interest you pay essentially allows you to repay yourself the loan, but you may face penalties or tax ramifications for the withdrawal.

Borrow from a home-equity line of credit. While you can get access to emergency cash faster by setting up a home equity or personal line of credit before the need for the money arises, you may be able to speed the application and qualifying process if you go through the financial institution that handles your other personal or business accounts.

Sell or pawn personal items. Pawn shops make short-term loans as well as buy merchandise outright, usually at a value equal to half the item’s worth.

Cash out bonds or stock certificates or take the cash value of a life insurance policy. Investigate the potential tax ramifications of this approach before using it.

Secure a short-term loan from a payday loan service. Use caution with this form of lending and check the legitimacy of the company before signing any agreement. Reputable national financial organizations like the American Bankers Association can verify the validity of lenders you’re considering.


  • Take into consideration the potential consequences of any move to quickly secure emergency cash. Early withdrawal of retirement savings can affect your financial stability. High-interest loans can grow out-of-control if not paid off quickly; family loans can strain personal relationships; and cashing out investments can result in an increased tax bill.