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Financial emergencies can pop up inconveniently out of nowhere, and you may find yourself in desperate need of a loan. Many options are available if you need a $3,500 loan today. Keep reading to learn how to obtain fast emergency cash to stay on top of bills and afford necessary expenses.  

What Type of Loan Should I Get?

Deciding on a loan can be stressful when you need money now. A quick online search reveals hundreds of lenders and loans to choose from. To help you decide what type of $3,500 loan to apply for, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much money do you need?
  • How much can you afford to pay monthly?
  • How much time do you want for repayment?
  • Do you want to use an asset as collateral?

Answering these questions can help narrow your search when you want to borrow $3,500 today without delay. For example, quick payday loans would not be ideal if you know you need more than a few hundred dollars. A better choice would be a long-term installment loan, allowing you to make smaller monthly payments over a few months or years. However, keep in mind that poor credit history may limit your options. 

What Is the Difference Between Unsecured and Secured Loans?

Loans fall into two categories: secured and unsecured. If you are looking into $3,500 loans, you will have to decide whether to use collateral or not. Collateral is an asset used to secure a loan if the amount is too high or the borrower’s credit score is less than perfect. Using collateral can be risky for borrowers since you can lose possession of that asset if you default on the loan. 

Unsecured Loans

An unsecured loan does not require the use of an asset as collateral. Due to lenders’ lack of financial security, the qualification requirements for an unsecured loan can be much stricter. You may find getting approval for unsecured loans difficult if you lack excellent credit. Typically, financial institutions have a strict minimum credit score requirement. This requirement varies, but you may need at least 670 points. If your credit report displays bad credit, you will have difficulty qualifying for an unsecured personal loan or credit card. 

Secured Loans

A secured loan does require the use of collateral. The type of collateral needed varies, but typically borrowers use car titles, real estate property, savings accounts, etc. Many lenders extend approval to those with bad credit scores due to a lower financial risk. As long as you continuously make on-time payments, you can avoid losing possession of your asset. If you don’t mind using collateral, you can apply for secured personal loans, pawn shop loans, home equity loans, etc. 

Should You Get Fixed or Variable Interest Rates?

Before applying for a loan, you must consider the interest rate you want to pay. While many traditional and online lenders have fixed rates, you can also opt for variable rates. 

Fixed Interest Rates

A fixed-rate does not change month to month. Your payment amount will be the same from the first month to the last. Knowing the amount you need to pay your lender each month can help you stick to a budget plan and start building an emergency fund

Variable Interest Rates

A variable interest rate, also known as an adjustable rate, changes monthly. Suppose you opt for a variable rate loan. Your monthly payment will differ depending on a benchmark interest rate that reflects general market conditions. While your interest rate can drop dramatically, it can also increase without warning. Variable interest rates are a gamble for borrowers.  

What Fees Do Loans Have?

Loans come with a lot of fees that borrowers should be aware of. The exact costs vary by lender. But generally, these are the most common Loan fees to watch out for:

Origination Fees 

An origination fee is a cost some lenders charge to cover processing costs. Origination fees are typically calculated as a small percentage of the total loan amount. This percentage can typically range from one to six percent. 

Application Fees

Many lenders do not charge an application fee, but it is essential to know. This upfront fee is paid at the time of application to cover the cost of processing, reviewing, and documenting your application. Remember that you can pay an application fee and still get denied approval.

Prepayment Penalty

Lenders make money through interest fees. You may have to pay prepayment fees to save money on interest if you pay your loan early. A prepayment fee is either a flat fee or a small percentage of the total loan amount. 

Late Fees

Missed payments will result in a late fee and a dip in your credit rating. Late fees generally range from $25 to $50 as a flat rate or between 3% to 5% of the monthly payment amount. 

$3,500 Loan Options When You Need Money Today

Various loan options can provide $3,500 in financial relief. Read about a few popular financing options below to make a fully informed decision. 

Personal Loans

A personal loan is an installment loan option that offers flexible repayment options for borrowers. Most lenders offer unsecured personal loans that do not require collateral. Depending on your financial need, you can apply for a small or large loan. 

Many lenders offer short and extended repayment terms so that you can choose your level of financial commitment. Eligibility for a personal loan depends on your credit score and income. If you have a lower credit score, you may still qualify for a personal loan, but your interest rates may be higher to offset the lending risk. Compare lenders to find the best competitive rate!

Home Equity Loans

A home equity loan is a type of loan that uses a homeowner’s equity as collateral. Suppose you own a home and have sufficient equity. In that case, you can use that equity as leverage to get fast emergency cash. Since houses are high-value assets, you can get much more than a $3,500 loan. Borrowers pay off home equity loans over several years through monthly payments. This loan option is risky as you can lose possession of your home if you fall behind on payments. 

Auto Title Loans

An auto title loan goes by many names, such as auto equity loans and pink slip loans. If you own a vehicle, you can use the title as collateral to get financial support for an unexpected emergency. The loan amount for title loans greatly depends on the equity amount you have in the vehicle. Borrowers make monthly installments over a few months or years. 

Credit Cards

A revolving credit account allows you to borrow anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a couple thousand. And unlike a traditional installment loan, you can borrow money again once you have paid your outstanding balance. However, the size of your credit limit does depend on your credit score. 

You may not get access to a high credit limit if you have bad credit. Credit card interest rates can also be much higher with credit cards. Some credit card companies offer zero-interest promotional periods for new applicants. Still, the rate will increase exponentially once that timeframe expires. 

Alternative Loan Options To Get $3,500

If you want alternative loan options to avoid paying to borrow money, consider borrowing from people you know or yourself. You can also try temporarily increasing your income. 

Asking Friends and Family

Asking friends and family for a loan can help you get the fast emergency cash you need without interest fees or strict repayment terms. While it may be challenging to borrow thousands of dollars from one person, you can ask for smaller loans. Friends and family are often willing to provide financial support to loved ones struggling to cover the cost of unpaid medical bills, veterinary bills, student loans, etc. 

Taking on a Side Hustle

If you don’t need a $3,500 loan right away, you can try working a remote side hustle from home. There are various jobs available depending on your interests and talents. Animal lovers can try housesitting or walking dogs through Rover or Wag. If you have mastered the art of assembling IKEA furniture, you can help people on TaskRabbit. There are endless options for earning a little extra income in your spare time.  

Use Retirement Funds

If you have a 401(k) retirement fund, you can borrow from it if you need fast financial relief. However, withdrawing money from a 401(k) account before you hit retirement age can result in a hefty penalty fee. This fee varies depending on the 401(k) provider you work with. You also lower the amount of money you earn through interest. Financial experts advise consumers against borrowing from their retirement fund unless there are no other options.

What Documents Do I Need To Get a $3,500 Loan Today? 

There are various documents borrowers need to complete the loan approval process. The exact documents required vary per lender, but typically you can expect to provide proof of identity, residence, and income. 

When you apply for online loans, you can upload photos of your documentation for verification. But suppose you apply in person at a traditional bank or credit union. In that case, you will need to have your documents ready for verification. 

Proof of Identification

A lender must be able to verify your identity to prevent fraudulent activity such as identity theft. Most lenders accept any form of government-issued photo ID card, such as a state ID, driver’s license, or United States passport. 

Proof of Residence

Lenders can verify your address through formal correspondence that lists your full legal name and address. For example, you can provide utility bills, credit card statements, bank statements, insurance statements, etc. Ensure the documents you provide have a recent date, as some lenders may not accept documents older than a month. 

Proof of Income

Your income is a vital factor for qualification. Lenders must verify that you have access to reliable income to make monthly payments on time. You can provide recent pay stubs if you work a traditional 9 to 5 job. Depending on the lender you work with, you may be able to provide alternative income documents. For example, you can use invoice statements, Social Security benefit statements, workers’ compensation check stubs, etc. 

Can I Afford Monthly Payments on a $3,500 Loan Today?

A loan is a beneficial financial tool that can help you cover the cost of unexpected expenses. But can you afford another monthly payment? 

The cost of borrowing money depends on the loan amount, interest rate, annual percentage rate, and how long you take to repay the loan. The more money you borrow, the more you will inevitably pay monthly. An extended repayment term can help you obtain smaller monthly payments. Still, you will end up spending more money on interest fees. Many lenders offer free payment calculators online so potential borrowers can see what they would pay monthly. You can also use a payment calculator online using your possible loan terms.

The Bottom Line

There may come a time when you need a couple of thousand dollars for debt consolidation, bills, and unforeseen emergency expenses. There are various loan options available for bad credit borrowers. Still, it’s essential to know your preferred repayment terms ahead of time. Understanding how loans work can help you make the best financial decision for your current situation. 

5 Personal Loan Fees to Watch Out For

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