Best Ways to Borrow Money : Easiest, Fastest, Safest
Borrowing money is risky – but that doesn’t mean it’s always a bad idea.
A recent Forbes Advisor survey found that almost 70% of Americans say they improved their finances through borrowing.
The key, then, is to borrow the right way.
Here, I’ll walk you through some of the best ways to borrow money.
Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Maybe you need money ASAP, or maybe you just want the process to be easy.
Whatever your circumstances, I’ve got a solution for you.
Easiest Ways to Borrow Money
1 – Personal Loan From a Credit Union or Bank
Personal loans allow people to borrow money directly from a financial institution.
You get the money upfront, and then you make monthly payments. Just remember that you’ll have to pay interest, meaning you’ll end up paying back more than you initially received.
Banks and credit unions are types of financial institutions that offer personal loans. The difference between them is simple: Banks are run for profit, and credit unions aren’t.
2 – 0% APR Credit Card
Applying for a 0% APR credit card is “easy” in the sense that it’s familiar.
It’s just like applying for any other credit card.
The hard part is qualifying – since you’ll probably need good or excellent credit.
That 0% interest rate sure is appealing. But here’s the thing: Interest rates are only 0% during the introductory period, which usually lasts between 6-18 months.
3 – Peer-to-Peer Lending
Peer-to-peer lending, or P2P lending, as the cool kids say, allows you to borrow money from another person instead of a financial institution.
You can use a lending platform to find people to give you the money you need. Then, you’ll pay them back (along with interest) at an agreed-upon rate.
So basically, in P2P lending, you’re borrowing money from a random person – but a random person approved by a reputable platform. It’s a decent option for people with not-so-great credit.
Fastest Ways to Borrow Money
1 – Online Personal Loans
The personal loans you get online are just like the ones you can get from a bank, except you complete the application digitally.
Yup, that’s right – you can stay in your pajamas.
The application might take only minutes, but you’ll have to wait to get approved. Still, we’re talking days, not months (which is fast enough in most cases).
2 – Loan From a Friend or Relative
This might seem like a strangely personal option – but it is one of the best ways to borrow money quickly.
A quick tip: Write down the loan agreement and have it notarized. It might seem weird, “Hey, Mom, let’s find a notary!” But it keeps things from getting messy.
3 – Credit Card Cash Advance
Already have a credit card?
Then you can probably use it to take out a cash advance – immediately.
That’s right. You can get money now. Either from an ATM (if your card has a PIN) or a bank that offers cash advances for your credit card company.
This is a fast option, but it sure isn’t cheap.
You’ve got cash advance fees to deal with. And ATM fees. And interest rates. The charges come from all directions, so use this option as a last resort.
4 – Loan Apps
Ever want money and think, “There should be an app for that?”
Well, guess what – there is!
The loan amounts are smaller, but you’ll get the money instantly or in just a few days.
Another perk: Many apps don’t even charge interest.
You’ll likely have to pay a “tip,” which, being involuntary, sounds more like a standard “fee.”
But hey, if it’s a decent deal, they can use whatever terminology they like!
Safest Ways to Borrow Money
1 – Borrow From Your 401(K) Plan
Do you have a 401(K) retirement plan?
Then you can borrow money from that plan – which is basically like borrowing it from yourself. There is interest, but the payments just go back into the fund.
Your fund won’t grow to its full potential, and you run the risk of getting hit with high early-withdrawal penalties.
Think about it: That money’s supposed to be earning interest, so future-you can lounge around on the beach.
But still – it could be better to borrow from your future self than from a ruthless lender.
2 – Public (Government-Run) Agency
Government agencies, on the local and national levels, provide loans to people under certain circumstances.
They’re not always easy to apply for – can you say paperwork?
But they offer pretty amazing terms.
Loans are available for all sorts of purposes:
- Rent assistance
- Home purchases
- Home gardens
Reach out to your local government to learn about your options.
3 – BNPL (Buy Now, Pay Later) Apps
These apps do just what they claim: allow you to buy something now and pay for it later.
This isn’t technically a ‘loan,’ but it serves the same function if you need the money for a purchase. Just keep in mind that you can only shop at retailers who have a relationship with the particular app.
Some BNPL apps charge interest – but others don’t. Look around until you find an app with terms that work for you.
Here’s a list of popular buy now, pay later apps worth checking out.
4 – Personal Line of Credit
If you have a checking account with a bank or credit union, you can ask them for a personal line of credit.
Once you’re approved, you’ll be able to borrow money on a continuous basis for as long as the assigned “draw period” lasts.
It’s kind of like mixing a credit card with a personal loan – and it’s not a bad option if you want flexible access to credit.
Best Ways to Borrow Money
1 – Personal Loans
Whether you go through a bank, credit union, or online lender, personal loans represent one of the best ways to borrow money.
The application process is usually quick and easy. This means you can get your hands on the money in just a few days.
There are also options available for folks with low credit scores.
2 – 0% APR credit card
That 0% is enticing for a good reason. It means you can literally borrow money for free.
The key is to pay off your debt before the “introductory” period ends and a higher interest rate kicks in.
3 – Personal Line of Credit
You can get a personal line of credit from the bank or credit union you’re already working with.
The flexibility to draw from the credit line at your own pace is also a major convenience.
4 – BNPL (Buy Now, Pay Later) Apps
These apps might seem too good to be true – but they’re not.
Just make sure you look carefully at the specific terms. Some apps charge interest rates, others charge fees, and it’s best to avoid nasty surprises.
Tips for Borrowing Money
- Avoid payday loans. You usually end up paying more in fees and interest than you initially received.
- Work on your credit score. The better your credit, the easier it will be to qualify for a loan – and the less you’ll pay in interest.
- Always shop around. Different lenders offer different rates.
- Gather key documents. Many lenders will want to see pay stubs, tax forms, and other documents that prove your income, address, and identity.
- Carefully analyze the loan terms before signing. Check for interest rates (the lower, the better), fees, and loan duration (or how long you’ll have to pay off the loan). Always, always read the fine print.
- Check if you’ll need collateral. Unsecured loans don’t require collateral, but secured loans do. Which means you can lose your property (car, house, etc.) if you default. Yikes!
- Create a repayment plan. When you make payments on time, you avoid falling into a cycle of neverending debt.
Commonly Asked Questions About Borrowing Money
What Are The Worst Ways To Borrow Money?
Payday loans and high-interest installment loans are among the worst ways to borrow money. In both cases, you’ll have to pay the lender massive sums after receiving the loan – often sinking you further into debt.
What is the Easiest Way of Borrowing Money?
An online personal loan is one of the best ways to borrow money. A cash advance can also be super simple if you already have a credit card with a PIN. Ultimately, the “easiest” option depends on your situation. Also, check out this article to find the best borrow money app.
What are 5 Ways to Borrow Money?
Some of the best ways to borrow money include:
- Personal loans
- 0% APR credit cards
- Personal lines of credit
- Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) apps
- Credit card cash advances
How Do I Borrow Money Right Now?
Try using your credit card for a cash advance. You could also use a loan app that sends the money instantly. But be sure to read the fine print, as both options tend to charge high fees.
How Can I Borrow Money to Make Money?
Borrowing can produce profits if you invest the loan in something that brings a hefty return. You could use the money for home improvement, or you could launch a business that becomes super profitable. Just be aware – borrowing money comes with risks.
What are Common Types of Borrowing?
Common borrowing methods include personal loans, credit cards, lines of credit, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and loans from friends or relatives. Also, check out this article to find the best borrow money app.
What Borrowing Methods are Best to Avoid?
Try to avoid payday loans and high-interest installment loans. With high-interest rates and high fees, they both tend to put people further into debt.
Where Can I Borrow Money Immediately?
A cash advance from your credit card is an immediate option for borrowing – if you have a credit card, that is. If not, you can try a loan app, buy now, pay later (BNPL), or even borrow from friends or family.
How To Borrow Money Online?
A personal loan from an online lender is one of the best ways to borrow money. The application process is usually simple, and you can get your money in a matter of days. Also, check out this article to find the best borrow money app.
How To Borrow Money From the Bank?
Some banks let you apply for a loan online. For others, you’ll have to go into a physical branch. Check your bank’s website to see their policy. Also, read this article on banks that pay 2 days early.
How To Lend Money For Profit?
You can lend money through a peer-to-peer (P2P) platform and earn a profit by receiving interest.
Borrow Money From a Millionaire?
It might seem crazy, but some folks on the internet seriously suggest finding rich people online and then asking them for a loan. I’d recommend more traditional borrowing methods – but hey, there’s no law against shooting for the stars!