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Personal Loans

How to Borrow $100 Instantly

Sometimes, life throws you curveballs, and you may not have enough cash to cover an unexpected expense. With certain personal finance apps, you can get $100 instantly through a cash advance or an existing banking account if you have overdraft protection.

Some options are easier to qualify for, and some have higher fees than others. It’s worth comparing your options to determine which type of financing would best meet your needs.

CompanyProductInstant access fee
EarnInCash advance$1.99 – $4.99
EmpowerCash advance$1 – $16*
BrigitCash advance$10.98*
CurrentCash advanceNot disclosed
MoneyLionCash advance$1.99 – $8.99
*Includes monthly membership fee.

5 options when you need $100 now

If you urgently need $100, there are ways to access cash quickly. Several apps let you borrow money instantly and pay it back with your next paycheck.

Here’s a summary of your options to access $100 fast, ordered from most recommended to least based on factors like fees, speed, and impact on your credit.

OptionFastest fundingAPRCredit check?
Paycheck advanceInstant0%
Loan appInstant0%
Buy now, pay laterInstant0%+🤔
Credit card advanceInstant29%+
Payday loanSame day400%+

We included credit card cash advances and payday loans on this list as options, but we don’t recommend them due to their high rates and fees, which can trap consumers in a cycle of debt that’s difficult to pay back.

1) Cash advance on your paycheck

Best for: One-time emergency expenses

A variety of apps, as well as some banks, offer cash advances or early direct deposit on your next paycheck. You can access $100 or more now and pay it back the next time you get paid. 

Some apps and banks offer instant funding, but you may have to pay a fee to get your money immediately. If you prefer not to pay a fee, you might have to wait a few days to get the money. 

These have no credit check in most cases. You often don’t need to pay interest or fees for a small cash advance, but this varies by lender. If you don’t have enough money in your bank account when your payment is due, your bank could charge an overdraft fee. 


  • Instant advances are available in as little as five minutes

  • Your credit score is not affected

  • No fees for standard advances that take between one and five business days, on average

  • Repayment is automatically made on your next payday or at a later date you choose


  • A small fee between $1 and $10 is typically charged for instant advances

  • Some apps charge monthly membership fees

2) Loan app

Best for: Short-term cash flow issues

Instant loan apps offer small, short-term loans you often repay on your next paycheck. Many loan apps offer funding that can be available as soon as the same day you apply. Some loan apps charge monthly subscription fees or request a tip for the service, but tipping is optional.


  • Funding is larger than other options to cover multiple expenses

  • Funds can be available as soon as the same day


  • Charge interest, and in some cases, origination fees

  • Repaid through weekly or monthly payments

  • A credit check may be needed to determine eligibility

3) Buy now, pay later (BNPL) loan

Best for: Financing large-ticket items, such as home appliances

BNPL loans, also known as point-of-sale loans, let you spread out the purchase cost over time. If the retailer offers BNPL, you can select this option while checking out. Funding time is instant.

A soft credit check applies for most of these loans, but some BNPL providers do a hard credit check for a longer-term loan. BNPL is often free if you pay back the cost in four to six payments. If you want a longer term on your loan, expect rates around 15% or higher.


  • Convenient way to purchase an item immediately

  • Most providers offer interest-free periods if on-time payments are made

  • The approval process is simpler and faster than for loans


  • Can lead to overspending and impulse buying

  • Late payment fees and interest can be charged if payments aren’t made

  • Late or missed payments can negatively affect your credit score

  • These loans are not universally accepted and are limited to certain merchants

4) Credit card advance

Best for: Those who’ve exhausted all other options and can afford high fees and rates

If you have a credit card, you can borrow against your line of credit with a cash advance. You can access cash through your credit card at an ATM, similar to how you would with your debit card. 

You don’t need a credit check to take out a cash advance from your credit card. However, you must pass a credit check to qualify for the credit card in the first place. Cash advances may come with a fee of around 5% and typically have higher APRs than your regular purchase APR.


  • Quick access to cash that can be obtained from an ATM

  • You don’t need to submit an application


  • High fees and interest rates that accrue immediately

  • Increases your credit utilization which can negatively affect your credit score

  • ATM and transaction fees can be charged on your advance

5) Payday loan

We don’t recommend payday loans.

Payday lenders offer fast funding, often without a credit check, which you repay on your next paycheck. However, many lenders are predatory and charge unaffordable interest rates and fees.

Funding takes a day or two. Payday loans can have significant fees and APRs of 400% or more. The National Consumer Law Center considers an APR of 36% the line between an affordable and unaffordable loan.


  • Immediate access to cash


  • Extremely high interest rates and fees

  • Repayment is typically required in a short period which can be challenging to meet

  • Many payday loan borrowers find themselves in a cycle of debt due to the interest and fees

  • These lenders could employ aggressive collection tactics if repayment is not made

  • Failure to repay a payday loan could lead to collections which negatively affects your credit score

Can you get $100 now for free? 

Several apps instantly let you borrow $100 or more, including EarnIn, Brigit, Dave, and MoneyLion. However, most of these apps charge a small fee for immediate funding. 

If you want to access cash for free, you can use these apps, but you may have to wait one to three business days to get your cash. A cash advance on your next paycheck may also be an option, whether you use an app or get a paycheck advance from your bank. 

Options for accessing $100 instantly, such as credit card cash advances and payday loans, can get pricey fast. Credit cards charge a fee and a higher APR for cash advances, and payday loans can have exorbitant rates and fees. 

Risks of borrowing money instantly

The rise of cash advance and instant loan apps makes it easier to get a small loan quickly, but it’s important to exercise caution when borrowing. You often pay a price for fast cash.

Even apps and cash advance services that don’t charge fees may impose penalties if you can’t pay the loan back on your next paycheck in a week or two, which may be difficult if you run into financial hardship. 

Plus, your bank could charge an overdraft fee if the lender takes payment from your account for insufficient funds. Read all the fine print to see what you might have to pay in fees or other hidden loan costs. 


Predatory lenders prey on vulnerable borrowers. Lenders that offer fast cash with no credit check may not be trustworthy, so it’s important to confirm that a lender is reputable before sharing any personal information

Alternatives to borrowing $100 instantly

You have other options for borrowing money. They may not be instant, as the options above are, but many come with fewer risks:

  • Personal line of credit
  • Payday alternative loan
  • Personal loan
  • 0% APR credit card
  • Friend or family loan

Establish a secured or unsecured line of credit

A line of credit is a flexible and cost-effective alternative to instant cash methods. Unlike payday loans, which often have high interest rates and fees, a line of credit can come with a lower interest rate and more favorable repayment terms.

You can draw from it whenever you need, up to your credit limit, without reapplying each time. Establishing a line of credit typically requires a credit check, but a line of credit can help build your credit history when you make on-time payments.

Payday alternative loan (PAL)

Some credit unions offer PALs to qualifying members, which offer between $200 and $1,000 and have APRs that don’t exceed 28%. You can often choose a repayment term of up to six or 12 months, depending on the loan type and amount. 

Personal loan

Personal loans are another option, with some lenders offering funding the same day your application is approved. You often need to borrow a minimum of $1,000 and meet a lender’s requirements for credit and income. 

0% APR credit card

If you’re looking to finance a large purchase, consider opening a credit card with a 0% APR promotional period. You could repay your expenses over 12 months or more with no interest charges. Once that period ends, the card may charge a high APR. 

Loan from friends or family

Asking a close friend or family member to front you $100 may also be an option. It’s worth drawing up a loan agreement with that individual so you’re both on the same page about repayment and any interest charges. 

Our expert weighs in

Mike Menninger


Generally speaking, the better someone plans, the better their options will be. Having a line of credit already available may be the best solution. I suggest understanding your costs and fees before embarking on any of these methods or alternatives. Credit cards are the easiest but certainly not the cheapest.


Is there a “cooling-off” period for any of these options?

The Truth in Lending Act (TILA) gives a three-day right of rescission, or “cooling-off” period, during which a borrower can cancel a home loan, such as a home equity loan, home equity line of credit, or mortgage refinance, without penalty. This right does not apply specifically to other types of loans, but you may be able to cancel or return a loan without penalty, depending on the lender. 

Reach out to the lender if you’ve changed your mind and need to change your loan. Reputable lenders don’t charge penalties for prepayment, but this may not be the case with a payday loan. 

What are the consequences of not repaying on time?

Not repaying a loan on time can rack up late fees and damage your credit score. A late fee may be a flat fee or a percentage of your payment amount and will vary by lender. 

Since some cash advance apps require your bank account details to withdraw payments automatically, you could also face an overdraft fee if you don’t have sufficient funds in your account on the due date. 

Can any of these options affect my credit score?

Missing payments on a loan has the potential to harm your credit score. Some lenders may report late payments to the credit bureaus, which will show up as a red mark on your credit report and drag down your credit score.