It happens to the best of us. You might have been totally on top of your budget, and then an unexpected something turns up to throw you off course. Maybe it’s a medical bill, an unforeseen car repair, or a layoff. But regardless of the specifics, you find yourself in need of cash you just don’t have.

If you’re struggling with poor credit, to boot, the situation’s just that much more stressful. Because a less-than-ideal credit score and history can make it impossible to get your hands on the unsecured personal loans you need to get through a tough time… which, in turn, can just drive your score even lower if it means you’ll end up defaulting on existing payment commitments.

Installment Loans for Bad Credit: Yes, They Do Exist

Fortunately, there are some banks and financial firms who understand that life isn’t always ideal. They’ve created accessible unsecured personal loans that you aren’t automatically disqualified for just because your credit history has a few blemishes.

Of course, as with any loan, you will be paying interest for the privilege of borrowing the money, and the lower your credit score, the higher your interest rate will be on average. So, it’s important to reserve the use of an unsecured personal loan for true financial emergencies.

It’s also a good idea to shop around and find the lender that can offer you the best terms for your specific needs and credit standing. So without further ado, here are five of the best places to choose from when you need an unsecured loan even though you have bad credit.

CashUSA

CashUSABy matching you with a variety of lenders, CashUSA gives you the opportunity to fine-tune your loan terms to suit your needs.

Plus, their sprawling network of providers can offer sizable loans of up to $10,000, which can be a godsend if you’re dealing with unexpected medical bills or other major expenses.

Your loan request can be approved within a matter of minutes and funded in as little as one business day, and all credit types are eligible (though interest rates and terms will vary based on your standing).

  • Loan Amount: $500 – $10,000+
  • APR: 5.99% – 5.99%
  • Term: 3 – 72 months

Read our full review of CashUSA

MoneyMutual

MoneyMutualAlthough it’s not ideal, it’s a fact: most Americans couldn’t come up with even a few hundred dollars to spare in the face of an emergency.

That’s why MoneyMutual offers fast, short-term loans of up to $2,500, even to borrowers with less-than-perfect credit.

Their services have been trusted by more than two million customers to date, and once approved, you can receive your funds via direct deposit, sometimes in less than 24 hours after approval. There’s no cost to fill out the online application, and it takes just minutes.

  • Loan Amount: Up to $2,500
  • APR: Variable
  • Term: Variable

Read our full review of MoneyMutual

PersonalLoans.com

PersonalLoans.comWhether it’s a quick $500 to cover rent or a serious financial undertaking costing tens of thousands of dollars, PersonalLoans.com can match you with lenders offering the funds you need fast.

Better yet, you’ll have up to 72 months (i.e, six years) to repay it in easy monthly installments, making these loans a great choice for debt consolidation loans or to pay off a large standing balance at a lower interest rate.

  • Loan Amount: $500 – $35,000
  • APR: 5.99% – 35.99%
  • Term: 3 – 72 months

Read our full review of PersonalLoans.com

BadCreditLoans

BadCreditLoansIt’s right there in the name: this loan company is all about matching you with the lenders who will fulfill your needs, even if your credit’s far from stellar.

With loan amounts ranging from a quick $500 to a more substantial $5000, and interest rates starting as low as 5.99%, BadCreditLoans is a great first stop on your unsecured loan shopping trip — especially since it’s totally free (and easy!) to submit an application.

  • Loan Amount: $500 – $5000
  • APR: 5.99% – 35.99%
  • Term: 3 – 36 months

Read our full review of BadCreditLoans

CashAdvance

CashAdvanceIf you just need a small amount of cash in a pinch and you’ll be able to pay it off quickly, CashAdvance is a great place to seek a loan.

Although their lenders tend to max out loan agreements at $1000 and carry fairly high interest rates, you can get the money delivered directly to your bank account quickly and easily.

  • Loan Amount: $100 – $1000
  • APR: 200% – 2000%
  • Term: Variable

Read our full review of CashAdvance

How to Improve Your Credit to Get Better Loans Later On

Although these banks and lenders offer a much-needed service to borrowers with imperfect credit scores, it’s in your best interest to work to improve your credit over time. That way, you’ll be able to get better loan terms later on down the line, including when you want to take on major financial commitments like homeownership.

If your credit history is dotted with blemishes, it can feel overwhelming, or even impossible, to get back on track. But that’s not the case! By implementing sustainable changes and habits and being persistent, you can rebuild your score and create the financial freedom you deserve.

Start by looking at your budget and seeing if you can make any cuts. This will save you money that you can then funnel directly toward your standing debt totals. Some people start with the highest-interest account first, known as the “avalanche” approach.

This approach will save you more money over time; others prefer the “snowball” method, which means starting by paying off the account with the lowest total and using that success as motivation to tackle your bigger debt projects.

No matter which way you go about it, you can achieve the debt-free lifestyle of your dreams! And sometimes, a personal loan is exactly what you need to start moving in the right direction.