Hardship Loans
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Being unable to pay your payments due to a job loss or other unforeseen events is a difficult situation to be in. A hardship loan is an option to explore if you need money to get your finances back on track. This article can act as a starting point by telling you all you need to know about financial hardship loans both for bad credit and unemployed including how to withdraw from your 401k.  

What is a Hardship Loan?

Although there is no official definition of a hardship loan, several personal finance firms may offer their own version of hardship loans. Hardship loans, at their core, are loans that can assist you in overcoming unanticipated financial obstacles such as helping an unemployed individual, medical expenditures, or caregiving responsibilities.

What can you use a Hardship Loan for?

A hardship loan, as one of the sorts of personal loans, works similarly to any other type of personal loan. The borrower receives a lump sum of money to use any way they see fit. Among the possible applications are:

  • Mortgage or rent payments
  • Bills that are past due
  • Day-to-day expenses such as groceries and transportation
  • Medical requirements

Nevertheless, a hardship loan could tax already-strained finances. Even in the case of hardship loans, debt of any kind must finally be repaid, with interest.

What Types of Hardship Loans are Available?

There are numerous different types of hardship loans to fit different needs. Here are a couple of such examples:

#1. 401k hardship withdrawal loans

If you have an immediate and significant financial need, you may be eligible to withdraw assets from your own 401k hardship loans. This is only available if your company provides it. If they do, and your financial need qualifies, you are not required to repay this money. There are some restrictions, such as not taking more than is necessary and not having access to money from another source.

The IRS places restrictions on how you can use 401k financial hardship withdrawal loans:

  • Some primary house acquisition and repair costs, as well as expenses incurred to avoid eviction or foreclosure
  • Some medical costs
  • Tuition, fees, and lodging and board for you or a qualified family member or beneficiary (up to 12 months)
  • Funeral and burial costs

You must pay income taxes on the amount withdrawn, and you will be unable to contribute to your 401(k) for six months following the withdrawal.

401k hardship withdrawal loans are not the same as 401k hardship loans (k). If your employer accepts 401k financial hardship loans, you can avoid the 10% penalty by repaying the loan promptly. When 401k hardship loans are repaid with after-tax funds, you will forfeit the tax benefit on the amount borrowed.

#2. Payday loan

A payday loan is a sort of cash advance that is only for a brief period of time. The majority are set up to be automatically refunded from your bank account on your next salary. Payday loans are regarded as “predatory.” This means that the loan terms are abusive and inequitable to you, the borrower. The traditional payday loan provides rapid cash at exorbitant interest rates (but you may not realize how expensive they are when you take the loan).

Most payday loan borrowers become locked in a debt cycle because it can be extremely difficult to repay the loan plus all costs by the due date. Even if you pay off your loan, you may be short on finances for the next month, forcing you to take out another loan. According to Pew Charitable Trusts, the average borrower ends up paying $520 in fees to borrow $375 many times. Once you’ve started the cycle, it can be difficult to break free.

Payday loans should be avoided since they are expensive and are rarely your sole alternative. As an alternative, you could try a credit union or a cash advance app.

#3. Emergency home repair loan

Owning a home is an investment. In addition to the mortgage, insurance, taxes, and homeowners association (HOA) fees, you’ll have to pay for maintenance and repairs over time. When your water heater breaks down, you may have to spend several thousand dollars to replace it. Now you must move quickly because you are currently taking cold showers.

Emergency house repair options include:

  • Home equity loan or home equity line of credit: You’ll need to have equity to borrow against.
  • Credit card or credit card cash advance: You must have enough available credit.
  • Personal loan: You must qualify for a personal loan. We’ve created a guide to teach you how to secure a personal loan.

#4. Medical or Veterinary care loan

Unexpected medical bills are a major source of financial stress. The first thing you should do is contact your healthcare provider and request a discount on your balance. They may also be ready to work with you to devise a payment plan that fits your budget.

If you know you will have a medical bill coming up, you may want to explore a medical loan or a medical credit card. This form of medical expense loan is sometimes free if you make all of your loan payments on schedule. But be cautious. Deferred interest is commonly used in medical funding. If you do not pay off the entire sum before the end of the loan period, you will be required to pay interest on the entire balance, including the portion you have already paid off.

#5. Personal loans

Personal hardship loans can be used for almost any purpose, including financial distress. This is a repayment loan. Your monthly payment and interest rate will remain constant during the loan duration.

To qualify for a personal loan, you must meet the lender’s qualification standards, which may include a minimum credit score. The interest rate is usually determined by your credit score, loan amount, and loan period. Shorter payback terms are frequently associated with lower interest rates.

It makes no difference whether you choose an online loan or a local bank. But, compare interest rates and costs. If your credit score is insufficient or bad to qualify for a personal loan or to obtain a reasonable interest rate, you may be able to expand your alternatives by applying for secured personal hardship loans. You will need collateral to obtain a secured loan.

How to Apply for Hardship Loans

Depending on the lender, applying for hardship loans will most likely be the same as applying for standard personal loans. Among the procedures are:

#1. Examine your credit score

The first indicators of your ability to repay debt are your credit score and report. But, lenders of hardship loans may be ready to consider your banking history if your credit or income has been impacted and proven bad by your present difficulties.

#2. Get prequalified with multiple lenders

Prequalification for hardship loans isn’t always possible, but the most respectable personal loan providers do. You can validate your eligibility and acquire rate quotes in this manner without damaging your credit.

#3. Compare your loan offers

When selecting a loan, you should have at least a few bids to compare. Whilst APRs are important, go beyond rates and fees to ensure that the hardship loan meets all of your demands.

#4. Formally apply with your preferred lender

Once you’ve decided on a lender, you’ll be required to verify your information and submit to a hard credit inquiry, which may temporarily lower your credit score. Hopefully, you’ll be able to keep the approval you were given during prequalification.

#5. Sign your closing documents

You are now only a few signatures away from obtaining your funds and starting repayment. Ascertain that you have a plan in place to meet your monthly obligations so that the loan can assist you in overcoming difficulty without negatively impacting your credit report.

Tips for Comparing Hardship Loans for Bad Credit

If you need to borrow money to get out of a problem, consider the following guidelines to compare hardship loans for bad credit:

#1. Examine the eligibility requirements

On their websites, many lenders post the minimum credit requirements for loans. With this information, you may create a short list of lenders who may be willing to accept you despite your less-than-perfect credit.

#2. Check annual percentage rates (APRs)

An APR is the annual cost of a loan, including interest and fees. Comparing rates from several loans and providers will help you identify the most affordable hardship loan for your credit profile.

#3. Examine the fees

Some lenders charge an origination fee to complete the loan, which is an important cost to compare across lenders. Look for other expenses, such as prepayment penalties and late fees. If you have the cash to pay off your loan early, you should make certain that you will not be penalized for doing so.

#4. Compare funding times

If you need money urgently, the application evaluation procedure and funding timeliness of a lender is critical. Certain lenders may be able to approve you in minutes, and you may be able to receive funding within a few business days if you provide the needed papers straight immediately.

#5. If possible, prequalify

Prequalifying for a loan normally does not require a hard credit check, and it provides you with a conditional loan offer. Prequalifying with various lenders can show you what loans you’re eligible for and where you’ll get the best rate without affecting your score.

Best Bad Credit and Unemployed Hardship Loans in 2023

#1. Upgrade

Upgrade is ideal for persons with all credit ratings. The organization assists people with scores as low as 550. Loan sizes range from $1,000 to $50,000, with 84-month repayment durations. If you have a low credit score, the APR runs from 7 to 36%, which might be pricey. You can expect to receive your funds within one day of approval. It provides a pre-qualification option to help with the application process.

The benefits include a long-term repayment plan, the ability to obtain a secured loan, and the ability to be pre-qualified. The disadvantages include hefty origination fees, high APRs for most consumers, and no personal loan refinancing choices.

#2. Upstart

Upstart is perfect for people who do not have a strong enough credit history to qualify for most other types of loans and credit. This lender is also great for folks with lower-than-average credit scores.

You can borrow between $1,000 and $50,000 with a three-year or five-year loan. Furthermore, Upstart may be able to distribute your funds immediately. If you accept the loan by 5 p.m. EST Monday through Friday, you could have your money as soon as the next working day.

Another significant advantage of Upstart is that there are no prepayment penalties. In other words, if you want to pay off your loan early, you will not be charged a penalty.

#3. Avant

Avant Personal Loans are a good alternative for people who need money quickly. If you are approved by 4:30 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, you can receive your funds the following day. Of course, speedy funding is also dependent on whether or not you have provided all of the required information on time.

This lender also allows you to determine if you are prequalified for the loan without affecting your credit score. Even if your credit score isn’t perfect or bad, you can still be approved for hardship loans because Avant considers both your credit score and your income.

Borrowing amounts range from $2,000 to $35,000, with loan periods ranging from 24 to 60 months.

#4. Lending Point

LendingPoint provides pre-qualification, which allows you to evaluate the terms of a potential loan without affecting your credit score. The most appealing aspect of LendingPoint is that you will receive an approval decision within seconds of applying. In most cases, the monies will be received within one business day.

However, a minimum yearly income of $35,000 is required to qualify for the loan, and these loans are not available to residents of Nevada or West Virginia. LendingPoint evaluates credit score, loan length, credit utilization, loan amount, and other characteristics when assessing loan eligibility.

The loan amounts range from $2,000 to $36,500, while the loan terms span from 24 to 72 months. The origination fees range between 0% and 7% of the loan amount.

How do you Qualify for a Hardship Loan?

By applying, you qualify. You can apply by following these steps:

  • Examine your credit score.
  • Prequalify with several lenders.
  • Examine your lending options.
  • Apply formally to your desired lender.
  • Sign your closing papers.

Do you Pay back Hardship Loans?

A hardship withdrawal is not a loan, and you are not required to repay the amount withdrawn from your account. When you make a hardship withdrawal, you must pay income taxes as well as the 10% early withdrawal penalty if you withdraw before the age of 5912.

Do you need Good Credit for a Hardship Loan?

A bad credit hardship loan is an installment loan provided to consumers with poor credit. Technically, these loans are no different from other types of personal loans. Yet, obtaining a hardship loan usually entails locating a lender that provides a rapid application and funding process.

Are Hardship Loans Good or Bad?

That is not a viable option for the majority of individuals. Instead of accruing a hefty charge that would raise your monthly financial commitments, you might be better off getting hardship loans to help you afford the payment. Contact your mortgage servicer to learn more about any relief programs or forbearance plans they may provide.

What is the Easiest Loan to get Approved for?

Payday loans, automobile title loans, pawnshop loans, and personal loans with no credit check are the easiest loans to get accepted for. These loans provide speedy money and have few criteria, making them accessible to persons with bad credit.

Where to get Money when you can’t get a Loan?

If you are unable to obtain cash through a personal loan, you can use a credit card, obtain a payday alternative loan through a credit union, or borrow from family or friends.


While confronting a financial crisis, having a bad credit score can frequently limit your alternatives because you may not qualify for certain credit cards or other hardship loans. But, some personal loan providers who specialize in loans for those with bad credit may be able to help. Just bear in mind that if your credit score is low, you may face higher interest rates.


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