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Personal Loans

How to Borrow $100 Instantly

Updated Dec 05, 2023   |   12-min read

Sometimes, life throws you curveballs, and you may not have enough cash to cover an unexpected expense. Fortunately, there are ways to get $100 fast in an emergency, including $100 instant loan apps, paycheck advances, and credit card advances. 

Each option has its borrowing requirements, and some loan types have higher fees than others. That’s why it’s worth comparing your options to determine which type of financing would best meet your needs. 

Read on to learn how to borrow $100 instantly, along with each option’s pros, cons, and costs. 

5 options when you need $100 now

If you urgently need $100, there are ways to access cash quickly. In fact, several apps let you borrow money instantly and pay it back on 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. 

Note: Although credit card cash advances and payday loans are included on this list, these should typically only be used as a last resort. They tend to come with high rates and fees that can trap consumers in a cycle of debt that’s difficult to pay back.  

OptionFunding timeAPRCredit check required? 
Instant $100 cash advance on your paycheckInstant 0%, though fees may applyNo
Instant loan app 1 – 3 business days (for free) or instant (for an additional fee) 0%, though fees may apply No
Buy now, pay later (BNPL) loanInstant0% or higher, depending on loan term Sometimes 
Credit card advance Instant Varies but may be 29.99% or higher 
*usually a 3% – 5% fee 
No, apart from qualifying for the credit card in the first place
Payday loan Up to 1 business day Varies but may be 400% or higher (to put this into perspective, 365% = 1% per day)No


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Compare traditional personal loans

  • Loans starting at $600
  • Funds available as soon as the next day
  • No fees or impacts on your credit

Instant $100 cash advance on your paycheck

  • How it works: There are a variety of apps, as well as some banks, that 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. 
  • Funding time: Some apps and banks offer instant funding, though 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. 
  • Credit check?: Typically no 
  • APR: You often don’t have to pay interest or fees for a small cash advance, though 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. 
  • Pros/cons: A paycheck cash advance may offer instant cash without fees or interest as long as you pay it back quickly. A cash advance’s downside is that it’s not a long-term solution to cash flow issues. Plus, you may have to provide the app with your bank account details for automatic repayment, which could result in overdraft fees if you don’t have enough cash in your account when the payment is due.  
  • Best for: Covering a one-time emergency expense 

Instant loan app

  • How it works: Instant loan apps offer small, short-term loans that you’ll pay back quickly, often on your next paycheck. 
  • Funding time: Many loan apps offer instant funding for a fee or no-fee loans if you don’t mind waiting one to three business days. 
  • Credit check?: Usually no 
  • APR: The loan may be free if you can wait a few business days for funding. If you want it instantly, you may have to pay a fee between $1 and $10 or more. Some loan apps also charge monthly subscription fees or request that you leave a tip for the service, though tipping is optional. 
  • Pros/cons: Loan apps can offer fast funding without interest, fees, or a credit check. However, you may need to pay a fee for instant funding and additional fees in the form of subscription fees or a tip. Plus, you may be penalized if you don’t pay your loan back on time or an overdraft fee from your bank if the lender overdraws your account. 
  • Best for: Covering a short-term cash flow issue 

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) loan 

  • How it works: BNPL loans, also known as point-of-sale loans, let you spread out the cost of a purchase over time. If the retailer offers BNPL, you can select this option while checking out. 
  • Funding time: Instant 
  • Credit check?: Usually a soft credit check, but some BNPL providers do a hard credit check if you want a longer-term loan 
  • Added costs: 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. 
  • Pros/cons: BNPL lets you buy an item immediately and pay it back over time. You might not have to pay any interest or fees if you choose a four- to six-week term. However, you’ll probably have to pay interest and undergo a hard credit inquiry if you want more time to repay your loan. 
  • Best for: Financing large-ticket items, such as home appliances or tech  

Credit card advance

  • How it works: If you have a credit card, you may be able to 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. 
  • Funding time: Instant 
  • Credit check?: You don’t have to undergo a credit check to take out a cash advance from your credit card. However, you will have to pass a credit check to qualify for the credit card in the first place. 
  • Added costs: Cash advances may come with a fee around 5% and typically have higher APRs than your regular purchase APR. 
  • Pros/cons: A cash advance can be an easy way to access $100 instantly with a trip to the ATM. However, it can incur high fees and APRs, so it’s not the most affordable way to get funding. 
  • Best for: Borrowers who have exhausted their other options and can afford the high fees and APR. 

Payday loan

  • How it works: Payday lenders offer fast funding, often without a credit check, that you’ll pay back on your next paycheck. However, some lenders in this space are predatory and charge unaffordable interest rates and fees. 
  • Funding time: Instant to a day or two 
  • Credit check?: Usually no 
  • Added costs: Payday loans can come with significant fees, as well as APRs going up to 400% or more. According to the National Consumer Law Center, an APR of 36% is generally seen as the line between an affordable and unaffordable loans. 
  • Pros/cons: Payday loans offer fast cash without a credit check, but the borrowing costs and the potential for abusive lending practices often make them not worth it. 
  • Best for: Payday loans are generally not recommended due to their high rates and fees. 

Can you get $100 now for free? 

A variety of $100 loan instant apps let you borrow $100 or more instantly, including Earnin, Brigit, Dave, and MoneyLion. However, most of these apps charge a fee for immediate funding. 

If you want to access cash for free, you can still 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

While the rise of cash advance and instant loan apps makes it easier to get a small loan quickly, 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’ve run into financial hardship. 

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

Unfortunately, there are also predatory lenders out there that 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

There are other options for borrowing money, and while they may not be as instant as the options above, they also might come with fewer risks. 

  • 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 usually comes with a lower interest rate and more favorable repayment terms. You can draw from it whenever you need, up to your credit limit, without having to reapply each time. However, it’s important to note that establishing a line of credit typically requires a credit check, which is not usually the case for payday loans. Additionally, a line of credit can help build your credit history when you make timely 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 expense over 12 months or more with no interest charges. Once that period ends, though, 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. 

“Generally speaking, the better someone plans, the better their options will be,” says Mike Menninger, CFP. “Thus, having a line of credit already available may be the best solution. I suggest understanding your costs 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 paying back a loan on time can rack up late fees and potentially 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 impact your credit score negatively. 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.