Need Cash Now: What Options Do I Have?

Posted on April 23, 2021 in Money

Life is often full of surprises, and not all of them will be pleasant. If you find yourself suddenly facing an unexpected financial surprise, you might start to panic and stress out. Once those feelings start to fade a little, you will find that there are many ways to get money in a hurry

Some options will be better than others, while some should only be considered once all the others have failed, but there are plenty of ways to get cash quickly.

Sell Electronics And Unused Gift Cards

Learn how to make money reselling items. If you have unused gadgets like an old cell phone or tablet, you can sell them on sites like Swappa or Gazelle, but you should use an ecoATM kiosk to get cash today. Consider selling old MP3 players and laptops as well. 

Using a Cardpool kiosk will offer instant cash for gift cards with values between $15 and $1,000. You will get slightly less there, as the company only pays 85% of the card’s value at their kiosks, but they will pay up to 92% if you sell through their website. You can also go through an online gift card exchange such as Gift Card Granny, but most of those will take a few days because you will have to mail in the card and then wait for a direct deposit check. 

Pawn Some Items

Overall, pawnshop loans are not the best way to borrow money. However, they are quick, and if you are unable to repay the loan, the pawnshop will simply keep the item that was offered as collateral. This option is a lot better than ruining your credit or getting hassled by debt collectors. 

Additionally, you will have the opportunity to outright sell to a pawnshop instead of borrowing against an item. Jewelry, musical instruments, firearms, and current electronics will often get you the best deals. 

Ask For A Payroll Advance

Ask your employer for a cash payroll advance on your next paycheck, which typically won’t cost you any fees and will be repaid via payroll deduction. You may also consider Earnin, an app that will offer workers advances that they can repay in a lump sum on payday with no interest. It will ask for a donation, though, and will require access to your bank account and employment timesheets. 

Take A Retirement Loan

You have the option to take out a loan on your 401(k) or individual retirement account, but there will be conditions to it. You can borrow from your IRA once every year if you repay the money within 60 days. If your employer allows 401(k) loans, you can typically borrow up to $50,000, or half of your account balance, with a 5-year repayment term. 

However, if you don’t make any payments for 90 days, the loan will be considered taxable income. Also, if you quit or lose your job, you will typically have to repay the 401(k) loan shortly thereafter. 

Borrow Against Your Life Insurance

If you have a life insurance policy with a cash value, sometimes called permanent life insurance, you can borrow against it and have the rest of your life to repay it. If you don’t repay it, the insurance company will subtract the money from the policy payout when you die. However, a term life insurance policy, the most common type of policy, does not have the option to borrow.

Get A Credit Card Advance

If you have a credit card and the account is currently in good standing, getting a cash advance will be a much less expensive option than taking out a payday loan. You will have to pay a fee, generally around 5% of the amount you borrow, along with interest, normally around 30% regardless of the regular rate.

Try A Payday Alternative Loan

Some credit unions will offer small, short-term cash advances that are commonly known as payday alternative loans. Federally chartered credit unions cannot legally charge more than a 28% annual percentage rate on the loans. While that isn’t cheap, it’s much better than payday loans, which routinely average in the triple digits with their APRs.

Take Out A Personal Loan

There are some lenders that can fund a personal loan in a day, although that’s fairly rare. If you have good credit, you’ll have plenty of choices for a loan with favorable terms and rates. 

If your credit is less than ideal, you will need to find a lender that will not only deliver fast cash but one that accepts poor credit as well. Interest rates for borrowers with bad credit will generally max out at 36% APR. You may find lenders willing to offer quick cash without a credit check, but you will almost certainly end up paying triple-digit interest rates, so it will not be worth it.

Reduce Your Insurance Premiums

It’s well-known amongst veterans of the car insurance industry that the premiums for the same driver and the same coverage can vary by hundreds of dollars from one company to the other. 

Each insurer does their own math; that’s why comparing car insurance quotes can be well worth your time. If you like your current carrier, you should review some of the discounts that they may have available. You could get 10% off for things like making good grades, completing a defensive driver training course, or going at least three years without an accident. 

The same is true with homeowners insurance. Shopping around can save you 10% to 15% in some cases, and you may get a discount for having a home security system, staying claim-free, or being a nonsmoker. 

Many insurers will offer discounts for buying both car and homeowner or renter policies with them. 

Consolidate Your Debt

If you are struggling to keep up with multiple debt payments, you might be able to consolidate the balances form your credit cards, medical bills, store financing, or other charges, and lower the payments with a personal loan. Some lenders will be able to fund the loan within a day. If you were to refinance $5,000 worth of debt from a 10% interest rate down to a 5% rate, you could save over $800 in interest if you were to carry the balance for at least four years. 

If you have good credit, you could balance high-interest credit card debt onto a new card with a 0% introductory interest rate. Just be sure to pay off the balance before the rate balloons when the introductory period ends. 

Loan Sources To Avoid

These are a few of the options that you should try to avoid at all costs. If you have no other choice, they may help you, but they should be the last option on your list.

Payday Loans

Payday loans are short-term loans offered to people who have a source of income and an active bank account, which will be repaid in a lump sum. Your credit won’t be a factor, but if you already have an outstanding payday loan, you may not be able to get another one. Interest will usually be expressed as a “fee,” with $15 per every $100 being typical. 

Borrowers will usually have the option to pay another fee instead of settling the loan, and over time, the fees will add up. A typical $15 fee on a two-week loan will amount to almost 400% annual percentage rate.

Auto Title Loans

These are short-term loans, in places where they are legal, that will require you to hand over the title of your car as collateral for the debt. They are often compared to payday loans, and the interest rates are very similar, but they can be even worse: failure to repay may result in the lender seizing your car.

The Takeaway

If you need cash in a hurry, you will have plenty of possible options. It may take a combination of some of the items on the list to get the money you need, but it’s more important that you avoid risky and predatory loans like payday loans or auto title loans. 

Needing money in a pinch can be very stressful, but if you stay calm and are smart with your money, you will eventually get out of it. Once your day, it may be a good idea to build a budget so that when the next surprise pops up, you’ll be better prepared and won’t end up in a pinch. 


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