Coronavirus Hardship Loans: 7 Options to Consider

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Our goal is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we receive compensation from our partner lenders, whom we will always identify, all opinions are our own. Credible Operations, Inc. NMLS # 1681276, is referred to here as “Credible.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some lenders are offering coronavirus hardship loans. These are small personal loans that typically offer low interest rates, short repayment terms, and quick funding time. They also sometimes come with deferred payments.

Here’s what you should know about coronavirus hardship loans:

Where to get a coronavirus hardship loan

Here are a few of your lender options for getting a coronavirus hardship loan:

Online lenders

Online lenders generally don’t offer specific coronavirus hardship loans. However, online lenders do offer small personal loans. Some even offer approval decisions within just a few minutes.

The funding time for an online personal loan is usually five business days or less — though some lenders will fund loans as soon as the same or next business day after approval.

Here are Credible’s partner lenders that offer fast personal loans:

Lender Fixed rates Time to fund Min. credit score Loan amounts


Credible Rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


9.95% – 35.99% APR
As soon as the next business day (if approved by 4:30 p.m. CT on a weekday) 550 $2,000 to $35,000**
  • Fixed APR:

    9.95% – 35.99% APR
  • Variable APR:
    N/A
  • Min. credit score:
    550
  • Loan amount:
    $2,000 to $35,000**
  • Loan terms (years):
    2, 3, 4, 5*
  • Time to fund:
    As soon as the next business day (if approved by 4:30 p.m. CT on a weekday)
  • Fees:
    Origination fee
  • Discounts:
    Autopay
  • Eligibility:
    Available in all states except CO, IA, HI, VT, NV NY, WV
  • Customer service:
    Phone, email
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Loan servicer:
    Avant
  • Loan Uses:
    Debt consolidation, emergency expense, life event, home improvement, and other purposes
  • Min. Income:
    $1,200 monthly


Credible Rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


6.79% – 17.99% APR
Next business day 740 $5,000 to $35,000
  • Fixed APR:

    6.79% – 17.99% APR
  • Variable APR:
    N/A
  • Min. credit score:
    740
  • Loan amount:
    $5,000 to $35,000
  • Loan terms (years):
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Time to fund:
    Next business day
  • Fees:
    No prepayment penalty
  • Discounts:
    None
  • Eligibility:
    Available in all 50 states
  • Customer service:
    Phone
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Min. Income:
    Does not disclose
  • Loan Uses:
    Debt consolidation, home improvement, self-employment, and other purposes


Credible Rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


5.99% – 24.99% APR
As soon as the next business day after acceptance 660 $2,500 to $35,000
  • Fixed APR:

    5.99% – 24.99% APR
  • Min. credit score:
    660
  • Loan amount:
    $2,500 to $35,000
  • Loan terms (years):
    3, 4, 5, 6, 7
  • Time to fund:
    As soon as the next business day after acceptance
  • Fees:
    Late fee
  • Discounts:
    None
  • Eligibility:
     Available in all 50 states
  • Customer service:
    Phone
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Loan Uses:
    Auto repair, credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home remodel or repair, major purchase, medical expenses, taxes, vacation, and wedding


Credible Rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


15.49% – 35.99% APR
As soon as the next business day 580 $2,000 to $36,500
  • Fixed APR:

    15.49% – 35.99% APR
  • Min. credit score:
    580
  • Loan amount:
    $2,000 to $36,500
  • Loan terms (years):
    2, 3, 4
  • Time to fund:
    As soon as the next business day
  • Fees:
    Origination fee
  • Discounts:
    Autopay
  • Eligibility:
    Available in all states except NV and WV
  • Customer service:
    Phone, email
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Min. Income:
    $20,000
  • Loan Uses:
    Home improvement, consolidate debt, credit card refinancing, relocate, make a large purchase, and other purposes


Credible Rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


2.49% – 19.99% APR
As soon as the same business day 660 $5,000 to $100,000
  • Fixed APR:

    2.49% – 19.99% APR
  • Min. credit score:
    660
  • Loan amount:
    $5,000 to $100,000
  • Loan terms (years):
    2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7*
  • Time to fund:
    As soon as the same business day
  • Fees:
    None
  • Discounts:
    Autopay
  • Eligibility:
    Available in all states except RI and VT
  • Customer service:
    Phone, email
  • Soft credit check:
    No
  • Loan servicer:
    LightStream
  • Min. Income:
    Does not disclose
  • Loan Uses:
    Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, and other purposes


Credible Rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


18.0% – 35.99% APR
As soon as the same day, but usually requires a visit to a branch office None $1,500 to $20,000
  • Fixed APR:

    18.0% – 35.99% APR
  • Min. credit score:
    None
  • Loan amount:
    $1,500 to $20,000
  • Loan terms (years):
    2, 3, 4, 5
  • Time to fund:
    As soon as the same day, but usually requires a visit to a branch office
  • Fees:
    Origination fee
  • Discounts:
    None
  • Eligibility:
    Must have photo I.D. issued by U.S. federal, state or local government
  • Customer service:
    Phone, email
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Min. Income:
    Does not disclose


Credible Rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


8.93% – 35.93% APR7
Within one day, once approved9 560 $1,000 to $20,000
  • Fixed APR:

    8.93% – 35.93% APR7
  • Min. credit score:
    560
  • Loan amount:
    $1,000 to $50,000
  • Loan terms:
    3 to 5 years 8
  • Time to fund:
    Within one day, once approved9
  • Loan types:
    Debt consolidation, pay off credit cards, home improvements, unexpected expenses, home and auto repairs, weddings, and other major purchases
  • Fees:
    Origination fee
  • Discounts:
    Autopay
  • Eligibility:
    A U.S. citizen or permanent resident; not available in DC, SC, WV
  • Customer service:
    Phone, email
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes


Credible Rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


5.94% – 35.97% APR
Within a day of clearing necessary verifications 560 $1,000 to $50,000
  • Fixed APR:

    5.94% – 35.97% APR
  • Min. credit score:
    560
  • Loan amount:
    $1,000 to $50,000*
  • Loan terms (years):
    2, 3, 5, 6
  • Time to fund:
    Within a day of clearing necessary verifications
  • Fees:
    Origination fee
  • Discounts:
    Autopay
  • Eligibility:
    Available in all states except West Virginia
  • Customer service:
    Email
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Min. Income:
    Does not disclose
  • Loan Uses:
    Debt consolidation, credit card refinancing, home improvement, and other purposes
Compare rates from these lenders without affecting your credit score. 100% free!
Get Rates Now

All APRs reflect autopay and loyalty discounts where available | LightStream disclosure | Read more about Rates and Terms

Banks

If you already have a bank account, it could be a good idea to check with your bank to see if they’re providing coronavirus hardship loans.

While many banks aren’t offering specific coronavirus hardship loans, some banks do provide emergency personal loans. These loans often come with similarly beneficial terms as hardship loans, such as fast funding times.

For example, U.S. Bank offers small personal loans up to $1,000 that could be funded within minutes if you’re approved.

Tip: The American Bankers Association has put together a comprehensive list of the coronavirus relief options available at various banks. You can search for your bank on this list to see what relief might be available to you.

Learn More: Personal Loans From Banks: Where to Get a Loan

Credit unions

Credit unions are nonprofit organizations that are generally more community-focused than other lenders. This makes them a good option if you’re looking for a hardship loan.

As of May 2020, 80% of credit unions were offering some form of coronavirus hardship loan, according to the Credit Union National Association.

However, keep in mind that not all credit unions advertise their hardship loans on their websites. This means you might need to directly contact a member service representative to see what short-term loan options are available to you.

Here are a couple of credit unions that offer coronavirus hardship loans:

Tip: If you’re not already a member of a local or national credit union, you can use the Credit Union Locator tool provided by the National Credit Union Administration to find one near you.

To join a credit union, you’ll need to fit within that credit union’s field of membership. For example, you might have to live in a specific area, work in a certain career, or join an associated group.

Check Out: Where to Get a Personal Loan

How can I use a hardship loan?

In general, you can use a hardship loan for any personal expense — though some lenders might have specific limitations for their loans. For example, you can likely use a hardship loan to pay bills, buy groceries, or cover other unexpected costs.

Tip: Be sure to borrow only what you can afford to pay back. While a hardship loan might offer deferred payments or other perks, you’ll still need to repay it at some point.

Borrowing only what you need will help ensure that you don’t end up in a worse financial situation.

Learn More: Everything You Should Know Before Taking Out a Tax Refund Advance

Can I get a hardship loan if I am unemployed?

When you apply for a personal loan, you’ll typically have to provide proof of income. This is because lenders want to see your debt-to-income ratio as well as know if you can afford to repay the loan.

However, you might still be able to qualify for a personal loan if you’re unemployed, provided you have other sources of income.

For example, Discover is willing to work with unemployed borrowers as long they meet the other eligibility requirements.

Here are a few alternative types of income that lenders might accept:

  • Unemployment benefits
  • Self-employment income
  • Social Security benefits
  • Retirement or pension income
  • Child support
  • Alimony
Tip: As you compare lenders, be sure to double-check their income requirements so you can be prepared.

Also keep in mind that some lenders don’t have a minimum required income, which means you might be able to qualify as long as you can show you’ll be able to repay the loan.

Check Out: How to Check If a Personal Loan Company Is Legitimate

How to apply for a coronavirus hardship loan

If you’re ready to get a coronavirus hardship loan or a small low interest personal loan, follow these four steps:

  1. Compare lenders. Be sure to shop around and compare as many personal loan lenders as you can to find the right loan for you. Consider not only interest rates but also repayment terms and any fees charged by the lender. Also keep in mind that some lenders might have less stringent eligibility requirements for coronavirus hardship loans.
  2. Pick a loan option. After you’ve compared lenders, choose the loan option that works best for you.
  3. Complete the application. Once you’ve chosen a lender, you’ll need to fill out a full application and submit any required documentation, such as tax returns or pay stubs.
  4. Get your funds. If you’re approved, the lender will have you sign for the loan so the funds can be released to you. The time to fund for personal loans is typically one week or less — though some lenders offer next-day or even same-day loans to approved borrowers. Hardship loans might also be funded more quickly.
Tip: You’ll typically need good to excellent credit to potentially qualify for a personal loan. Some lenders offer personal loans for bad credit, but these generally come with higher interest rates than good credit loans.

If you’re struggling to get approved for a loan, consider applying with a cosigner. Not all lenders allow cosigners on personal loans, but there are a few that do. Even if you don’t need a cosigner to qualify, having one could get you a lower rate than you’d get on your own.

Learn More: How to Get a Personal Loan With a 600 Credit Score

Alternatives to a hardship loan

Coronavirus hardship loans and fast personal loans aren’t your only relief options during the pandemic.

Here are a few other alternatives to consider:

  • Talk to your lender. Many lenders are offering various relief options to borrowers impacted by the pandemic. For example, you might be able to temporarily pause or reduce payments. Be sure to reach out to your lender to see what assistance might be available to you.
  • Take out a cash advance on your credit card. With some credit cards, you can access cash by taking out a cash advance at an ATM. However, keep in mind that a credit card cash advance often comes with a much higher interest rate compared to the usual
  • Apply for a car title loan. This is a type of secured personal loan that uses the title of your vehicle (such as a car or motorcycle) as collateral. Like payday loans, car title loans are often extremely expensive. Plus, if you can’t repay the loan, you could lose your vehicle. Because of this risk, you should generally only take out a car title loan if you have no other options.
  • Tap into your home’s equity. If you’re a homeowner, you might be able to access the equity in your home through a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit (HELOC). Because these types of loans are secured by your home’s equity, they often come with lower interest rates compared to personal loans. However, keep in mind that if you can’t make your payments, you risk losing your home.

Find Your Loan:


About Rates and Terms: Rates for personal loans provided by lenders on the Credible platform range between 4.99-35.99% APR with terms from 12 to 84 months. Rates presented include lender discounts for enrolling in autopay and loyalty programs, where applicable. Actual rates may be different from the rates advertised and/or shown and will be based on the lender’s eligibility criteria, which include factors such as credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history, and vary based on loan purpose. The lowest rates available typically require excellent credit, and for some lenders, may be reserved for specific loan purposes and/or shorter loan terms. The origination fee charged by the lenders on our platform ranges from 0% to 8%. Each lender has their own qualification criteria with respect to their autopay and loyalty discounts (e.g., some lenders require the borrower to elect autopay prior to loan funding in order to qualify for the autopay discount). All rates are determined by the lender and must be agreed upon between the borrower and the borrower’s chosen lender. For a loan of $10,000 with a three year repayment period, an interest rate of 7.99%, a $350 origination fee and an APR of 11.51%, the borrower will receive $9,650 at the time of loan funding and will make 36 monthly payments of $313.32. Assuming all on-time payments, and full performance of all terms and conditions of the loan contract and any discount programs enrolled in included in the APR/interest rate throughout the life of the loan, the borrower will pay a total of $11,279.43. As of March 12, 2019, none of the lenders on our platform require a down payment nor do they charge any prepayment penalties.

Learn more: Coronavirus Impact Sends Student Loan Rates Tumbling

About the author

Emily Guy Birken

Emily Guy Birken

Emily Guy Birken is a Credible authority on personal finance. Her work has been featured by Forbes, Kiplinger’s, Huffington Post, MSN Money, and The Washington Post online.

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