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Need Cash Fast? Compare Emergency Loan Options

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

A financial emergency can strike at any time, and you may suddenly find that you need an abundance of cash — fast. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to get through these situations without borrowing money.

Tens of thousands Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. According to a recent consumer expectations survey by the New York Federal Reserve, one in three Americans say they wouldn’t be able to come up with $2,000 within a month to cover an unexpected expense.

If you don’t have an emergency fund, what do you do when you get hit by an unexpected medical bill or your car breaks down? We give you options for finding money quickly if you need it right away, and options if you can afford to wait.

When you need money in 1 or 2 days

Credit cards

If you don’t need cash, your credit card could be a way for you to handle an emergency almost instantly. As expensive as credit cards are, the APRs are generally not going to be too much higher than 30%.

“It’s not ideal,” Chris Dlugozima, a financial wellness expert at GreenPath, a nonprofit debt and consumer credit counseling service that operating in all 50 states. “But if it comes down to a credit card or a payday loan that’s charging 500% interest, it’s sort of the lesser of two evils.”

A credit card can be a quick fix for a one-off emergency. However, if you routinely fall behind on bills, you should consider turning to your credit card with caution. The double-digit interest rate will quickly increase the amount you owe if you’re not able to pay the balance off in full on time.

Credit Cards



It allows card holders to access funds quickly.

High APRs, averaged at 16%.

There may be flexibility if you struggle with credit card debt. For instance, you could try to work out a repayment plan with your credit card company.

Your debt can quickly snowball if you keep getting into credit card debt for emergencies.

APRs are lower than those of credit card cash advances.

Credit card cash advances

In a time-sensitive situation, a credit card advance allows you to borrow cash against your line of credit. You request the money at an ATM with your credit card and a cash advance PIN, in person at a bank, or with convenience checks you make out to yourself and cash.

While they are relatively easy to obtain in emergencies, cash advances typically have higher APRs than regular purchases and they carry fees (3% to 5% of the money borrowed). Unlike a regular purchase, where interest doesn’t start to hit unless you don’t pay the balance, interest starts accruing right away when you advance money.

It can be a costly way to borrow money, but if you think a cash advance is the best option for you, make sure you pay the advance off as quickly as possible.

Cash Advances



It allows card holders to access cash quickly.

Higher APRs than normal— usually up to 30%+.

There is a service fee and possibly an ATM fee.

Your cash advance credit limit may be different than your credit limit for purchases. For example, a bank may give you a total credit limit of $5,000 but limit you to using $2,500 of it for a cash advance.

Signature loans

If you have relatively good credit and a good relationship with a bank, you can try to get a signature loan or a personal loan in an emergency. Your local community bank, credit union, or a major retail bank might be willing to work with you in this situation.

A signature loan is an unsecured form of borrowing, and its interest rates range from 8% to 15%, depending on your credit and the relationship you have with the bank. It usually has shorter terms than other personal loans, ranging from just a few months to 4 to 5 years, on average.

The application and approval process can be quicker because it’s a shorter-term, less risky loan. To apply, you must submit qualifying financial documents, including proof of income and employment.

Signature Loans



The underwriting process can be quick.

APRs are higher than collateral-based loans.

They carry lower APRs than credit cards.

There’s a lack of flexibility after you take out a loan if the emergency is on-going and you need to borrow more.

You will know how much to budget for debt repayment every month.

Payday loans and auto title loans

Payday and auto title loans are high-cost loans that can be obtained easily and quickly from storefront or online lenders. Consumer and financial experts strongly recommend borrowers steer clear of such loans because they are designed to profit based on borrower’s inability to repay.

Payday loans are small-dollar personal loans that become due in a lump sum on your next payday. A typical two-week payday loan with a $15-per-$100 financing fee translates to an annual percentage rate of almost 400%. In comparison, the benchmark APR for affordable small loans is 36%. If you can’t repay on the next payday, you can roll over your debt and incur another $15 fee — that’s when a debt trap begins.

Of the 2,900 payday loan complaints received by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2017, 30% were about unexpected fees and 15% on their unaffordability.

A title loan is a secured loan, and you have to put up your car as a collateral to get it. Title lenders charge an average of 25% as a monthly financing fee, which adds up to an APR of at least 300%, according to the FTC. If you can’t repay the loan at all, you risk losing your car.

“You should try everything else,” said Juan Guevara, a certified financial planner based in Colorado. “And if there’s absolutely no other way to do anything, think about those shorter term loans.”

If these risky loans are your last resort to cover an emergency, be sure to pay off the debt in the shortest term possible to avoid getting caught in a debt trap or losing your car.

Payday/Title Loans



The underwriting is both weak and quick.

They are extremely expensive loans with triple-digit APRs.

Borrowers may risk getting caught in a debt trap if they can’t repay payday loans.

Borrowers may lose their cars if they can’t pay off the debt.


Negotiate with your creditor

When you are in a financial emergency, the first step is to try to negotiate with your creditor before borrowing money. Before a bill comes due, talk to your creditors and explain the circumstance. If you need a few more days to come up with the money, they’re way more likely to work with you then you might realize. Many utility companies and hospitals offer lower interest — even 0% — payment plans to make sure that you can pay past due balances over the course of several months.

Ask for help from friends and family

If the negotiation doesn’t work out, ask your family or friends and see if they can loan you money before turning to risky, expensive loans.

“There might not be an interest rate attached to that but you also got to be careful that you could be damaging a relationship there if you don’t end up paying [the debt] back,” Guevara said.

When you need money in 1 or 2 weeks

“Payday alternative” loans from credit unions

If you have a little bit more wiggle room, plenty of community banks and credit unions offer small-dollar loans with much lower interest rates than payday or title loans. These types of financial institutions are much better regulated than high-cost lenders.

For example, all federal credit union loans have an 18% interest cap, with one exception — Payday Alternative Loans, which have interest rates capped at 28%.

“Payday alternative” loans



They are safer loans compared to unaffordable payday lending.

They carry fairly high APRs.

The loan term is short, ranging from one to six months.

It takes a while to obtain the loan. Borrowers must be members of the federal credit union for at least one month.

The loan amount is small, typically up to $1,000.

Personal loans

Personal loans offer perhaps the greatest flexibility when an emergency strikes. You can borrow money at a fixed interest rate over a fixed amount of time, then you pay a fixed monthly payment until your loan is paid off.

The process to apply for a personal loan is similar to applying for a credit card or auto loan: The lender will run your credit and offer you a certain rate based on your creditworthiness. Besides your credit score, you’ll need to prove that you have the ability to repay your loan, usually with pay stubs or other evidence of employment.

A personal loan is a form of unsecured borrowing, which means its interest rates are generally higher than secured loans, such as a mortgage. The higher your credit score, the lower rate you may qualify for. Nationally, a personal loan with a 24-month loan term carries an average 10.31% interest rate. You can apply for a personal loan from banks and online lenders. Use our table below to compare personal loan options to find the best option!


As low as 3.99%

Credit Req.

Minimum 500 FICO®


24 to 60


Origination Fee



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LendingTree is our parent company. LendingTree is unique in that you may be able to compare up to five personal loan offers within minutes. Everything is done online and you may be pre-qualified by lenders without impacting your credit score. LendingTree is not a lender.

A Personal Loan can offer funds relatively quickly once you qualify you could have your funds within a few days to a week. A loan can be fixed for a term and rate or variable with fluctuating amount due and rate assessed, be sure to speak with your loan officer about the actual term and rate you may qualify for based on your credit history and ability to repay the loan. A personal loan can assist in paying off high-interest rate balances with one fixed term payment, so it is important that you try to obtain a fixed term and rate if your goal is to reduce your debt. Some lenders may require that you have an account with them already and for a prescribed period of time in order to qualify for better rates on their personal loan products. Lenders may charge an origination fee generally around 1% of the amount sought. Be sure to ask about all fees, costs and terms associated with each loan product. Loan amounts of $1,000 up to $50,000 are available through participating lenders; however, your state, credit history, credit score, personal financial situation, and lender underwriting criteria can impact the amount, fees, terms and rates offered. Ask your loan officer for details.

As of 17-May-19, LendingTree Personal Loan consumers were seeing match rates as low as 3.99% (3.99% APR) on a $10,000 loan amount for a term of three (3) years. Rates and APRs were based on a self-identified credit score of 700 or higher, zero down payment, origination fees of $0 to $100 (depending on loan amount and term selected).

Compare offers and shop for a personal loan on MagnifyMoney’s personal loan online market.

Personal loans



There are a variety of loan amounts and terms to choose from.

APRs can be high if your credit is not great.

You know exactly how much you will ultimately pay in interest.

If you have a situation where you don't know exactly how much cash you're going to need, a personal loan can be limiting since you must apply for a set amount of money.

You request a certain amount of money to cover an emergency, and so there's no temptation to borrow additional funds later.

Credit cards with 0% intro APR

If your credit score is good, apply for an introductory 0% interest credit card. Balance Transfer credit cards let you wait as long as 21 months to pay off your balance without accruing interest.

A balance transfer card is a solid option for those with a tall stack of credit card debt. It allows users to move debt from a high-interest credit card to a card with a promotional 0% APR period (not through same card issuer). As a result, you could pay less in interest than you would if you kept the debt where it is. But if you can’t repay your debt before the promo period ends, the credit card company may retroactively charge you all the interest that they would’ve charged during the intro period.

Credit cards with 0% intro APR



You can borrow money for 0% interest for a period of time.

If you can’t repay your balance within the 0% interest period, you may be hit with all the interest you would have accrued during the intro period — known as deferred interest.

Some cards charge $0 intro balance transfer fees, allowing you to cut costs.

You don’t know exactly how much money you will ultimately pay in interest.

The new card may offer a sign-up bonus and/or long-term perks, although this may not be a concern when you are in an emergency.

You need a good or excellent credit score to qualify for the best offers (generally 700 and up).

If you are in an ongoing financial tragedy, a credit card gives you flexibility in terms of the amount of money you can borrow.

In most cases, you have to pay a balance transfer fee — typically 3% of your total transfer amount.

401(k) loans

A 401(k) loan allows you to borrow up to $50,000 or half of the total amount of money in your account, whichever is less. Most 401(k) plans offer such loans.

The funds are taken directly out of your 401(k) account balance and a repayment plan is created based on the amount you borrowed and the interest rate you agreed to. When you make payments, the money goes back into your 401(k) account, typically through an automatic payroll deduction. The maximum loan term is usually five years, and you’ll need to make payments at least quarterly.

If you fail to repay the loan on deadline, the money withdrawn is counted as taxable income and the IRS will charge you a 10% early withdrawal penalty if you are under age 59½.

401(k) loans



You can get money relatively quickly without any credit check because you are essentially borrowing from yourself.

If you default on the loan, the money you borrowed will be taxed and hit with a 10% penalty unless you’re already age 59½ or meet other special criteria.

You have a long time to repay the loan.

The money you borrowed is not participating in the market and you may lose out on compound interest. It affects your portfolio performance over time.

The interest you pay back to the account is money put back in your retirement fund.


Asking your employer for help

While it’s not common, some employers may offer paycheck advances or financial help in other ways to help you get through an emergency. For instance, some employers have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which are designed to help resolve problems workers encounter in their life, financial and personal alike.

If your company doesn’t have an EAP, you can still ask if they can provide some type of loan or even give you a raise if you’ve been doing a good job, Guevara suggested. Even if they decline your request, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Negotiate your charges

As we discussed earlier, negotiating is probably one of the best tools you have when an emergency arises. Explain your situation to your creditor and they may work out a payment plan with you or simply extend your due date, depending on the specific situation.

When you need money in 1 or 2 months

Home equity loans or HELOC

When you have time on your side, you may leverage the equity in your home to cover short-term emergency needs. You can take the time time to shop around with different lenders for a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit (HELOC). Both loans are secured by your house.

A home equity loan is a fixed-rate installment loan. The borrower gets a one-time lump sum. It’s repaid in equal monthly payments over a fixed period of time — usually in 10, 15, 20 or 30 years. It’s the second mortgage on your house.

A HELOC, on the other hand, is a revolving credit line. How much you can take out will depend on your home’s value, your remaining mortgage balance, your household income and your credit score. HELOCs typically have variable interest rates, so it’s important when you’re applying for a HELOC to understand exactly how much can the interest rate go up.

You can apply for a HELOC and leave it open, allowing you to draw funds from it as needed; it can stay open for up to 10 years. As you pay off the principal, your credit gets replenished and you can use it again. You only pay interest during this time period. After the line expires, you enter the repayment period, when you’ll repay the remaining balance as well as any interest owed, if there is any.

Some financial planners advise their clients to open HELOCs even they are not planning to use them, just in case something comes up in the future. Most lenders will let you borrow up to 85% of your home value, minus your outstanding debt.

The appraisal and underwriting process for both loans takes one to two months. Qualifications vary, but most lenders will check your credit and debt-to-income ratio. You should expect to pay closing costs and other fees upfront, which range from $500 to $2,000.

Interest rates on both loans are not that different from a regular mortgage rate, which is lower than other unsecured loans.

Home equity loans or HELOCs



Both have significantly lower APRs compared to other unsecured borrowing options, such as credit cards or personal loans.

You have to make monthly payments and you don't have a 0% interest promo period.

You have a long time to repay the loan and the monthly payments are usually quite small.

Both types of loans almost always have closing costs and other fees.

With a home equity loan, your monthly payment is predictable because your interest rate will be fixed.

If you take out a HELOC with a variable rate, your monthly payments may change.

You can withdraw funds as needed with a HELOC.

Defaulting on either loan could result in a foreclosure.


Sell some assets

If you have one or two months to come up with funds, you may want to see if you can generate some income by selling some of your assets, either doing a yard sale or selling your possessions on eBay.

A key takeaway

When emergencies arise and you don’t have rainy day cash, don’t panic — you should first and foremost try the cost-free ways to bridge a financial shortfall. If you can’t borrow money from friends and family or work out a payment plan with your creditor, then consider the least expensive loan that comes with the lowest level of risk after determining how much money you need and how much time you have to come up with the funds. Don’t focus just on the monthly payment, but the interest rate and the loan term as well.

After recovering from this current financial emergency, start planning for the next one. Life will inevitably throw a curveball at you again, be it unexpected job loss or an astronomical hospital bill. If you start putting money away now, you will have the money to deal with the next financial setback.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Shen Lu
Shen Lu |

Shen Lu is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Shen Lu at [email protected]

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Personal Loans

Align Income Share Agreement Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

If you need money — such as to cover an emergency expense or to consolidate debt — but you’re worried about high-interest rates you might face with a personal loan, there is an alternative funding option you may consider: an income-share agreement (ISA).

An ISA doesn’t come with a set interest rate. Instead, you pay a percentage of your yearly income every year for a set number of years, paying back what you originally borrowed plus more.

Chicago-based Align Income Share Funding is one source of this type of agreement. The company has been providing ISAs since its founding in 2011. In this review, we’ll explain how Align’s ISA works and whether it might be a good fit for you.


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Align income share agreement details

Fees and penalties

  • Terms: Align states that its income-share agreement runs from 24 to 60 months. However, that may depend on your location.
  • Borrowing cost: Align doesn’t charge traditional interest rates on its loans. Instead, it charges a percentage of your income, no more than 10.00%. Say you make $40,000 a year. You might agree to spend 3% of your income each year to repay your loan, or $1,200. If you borrow $4,000 and you sign an agreement to pay back your loan over four years, you’d end up paying $4,800, or $800 more than what you initially borrowed.
  • Borrowing limits: Align will loan you a maximum of $12,500.
  • Time to funding: Align says that you once you sign your contract, it can deposit funds in your bank account in as little as one business day.
  • Hard pull or soft pull? Soft Pull. You can get a quote for an ISA on Align’s website and it will not impact your credit score.
  • Origination fee: Align does not charge origination fees.
  • Prepayment fee: Align also does not charge a prepayment fee. However, there is a cost for getting out of your agreement early.

There are no limits on how you can use your funds from an Align ISA. You can use the money for everything from consolidating high interest credit card debt to paying for home repairs or a dream vacation.

Align is flexible, too, when it comes to determining your income. As the company’s website states, anything listed in box No. 1 of your annual W-2 form can be considered income.

Eligibility requirements

  • Minimum credit score: Not specified.
  • Minimum credit history: Not specified.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Not specified.

Align doesn’t say much about the minimum credit scores or debt-to-income ratio you will need to qualify for an income-share contract. Their website, however, specifies that they’ll consider your income, creditworthiness, job, and location when determining whether to approve your request for funds.

How Align’s income-share agreement works

This yearly percentage is broken up into monthly payments. Say you borrow $8,000 from Align and you earn $30,000 a year. If you agree to pay back your ISA at 10% of your yearly salary for three years, you’d pay Align $3,000 a year, at $250 a month. After the three-year repayment period has ended, you’d end up paying a total of $9,000, or $1,000 more than you borrowed.

When you set up your contract, you pick a date on which you want to pay each month. Align then automatically deducts that amount from your checking account.

As your income changes, so can your monthly payment. If your income goes up, the percentage you contribute will remain the same. But because your income is increasing, the overall amount you pay will jump, too.

It works the other way, too. Align says that if your income falls, you will pay less. If you become unemployed and you have no income, your monthly payment could potentially fall to $0. If you become unemployed, you will have to submit proof that you are not working, such as a notice from your former employer or documents showing you are receiving unemployment benefits.

Applying for an income-share agreement from Align

Applying for an ISA from Align is a simple process. Just click on the “Apply Now” button on the company’s homepage. Once you do, you’ll be asked to provide your name, date of birth, Social Security number, email address, physical address and phone number.

Align will also ask for your gross yearly income, your income source and the industry in which you work. You’ll also need to provide your education level, estimated credit score, the amount you’d like to borrow and what you want the money for.

After filling in this information, you will then submit your application for an online quote. If you are interested, you can contact Align to speak with a representative who will verify your income, job status and credit. Once this is done, Align will make you an official offer stating how much it is willing to lend you and at what percentage of your yearly income. Align will also state how many months you will make payments, and how much you will pay each month and each year to pay off the money you received.

If you like the offer, you will sign your contract. Align will then deposit your funds into your bank account in as little as one business day.

Pros and cons of an Align income share agreement



  • No interest rates: Align doesn’t charge interest rates for its loans. However, you will have to pay a percentage of your annual income for a set number of months to pay back your loan.
  • No origination fees: Applying for a loan at Align is free. The company also doesn’t charge you for the work involved in originating your loan.
  • Protection if you lose your job: How much you pay is based on how much you earn, so you won’t have to make any payments if you lose your job and your income.
  • Applying is fast: You won’t have to meet in person with a lender to get your money. You can start the process online. You will have to speak with a representative to verify your financial information.
  • Monthly payment may change: Your monthly payment can vary because Align charges you a percentage of your gross income to lend you money. If your income fluctuates, your monthly payment will, too. This can be challenging when you are making a household budget.
  • Not everyone is guaranteed an ISA: Align looks at your credit score, income and employment status when determining who qualifies for funds. There is no guarantee of approval.
  • Paying out of your contract may be pricey: You can end your contract with Align before your term ends. This will cost you, though. Align lists in your contract the amount of money you’d have to pay to get out of your ISA early.

Who’s the best fit for Align Income Share Funding?

An Align ISA can work for people who aren’t afraid of a little uncertainty and are worried about high interest rates. Because Align charges a percentage of your income, your monthly payments can increase or decrease. If you don’t mind this uncertainty, an Align ISA might be a good choice.

This type of agreement might work, too, if you have a relatively low income. But if your income is high, or if you expect it to rise in the near future, an ISA might not be a good fit — your monthly payment could jump too high.

Alternative funding options




Credit Req.

Not Specified


36 or 60


Origination Fee

1.00% - 6.00%


on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingClub is a great tool for borrowers that can offer competitive interest rates and approvals for people with credit scores as low as 0.... Read More

LendingClub is an online lender providing personal loans up to $40,000. Unlike Align, LendingClub provides traditional loans with a fixed interest rate. This means that your payments remain the same every month, a benefit when you are overseeing a household budget. LendingClub does not charge prepayment penalties, but it does have an origination fee between 1.00% - 6.00%. Anyone seeking more certainty with their loan payments should explore this option.




Credit Req.


Minimum Credit Score


24 to 84


Origination Fee

No origination fee


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SoFi offers some of the best rates and terms on the market. ... Read More

Fixed rates from 5.990% APR to 17.67% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.60% APR to 14.700% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of August 7, 2019 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 5.60% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.27% plus 3.08% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

All rates, terms, and figures are subject to change by the lender without notice. For the most up-to-date information, visit the lender's website directly. To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull.

See Consumer Licenses.

SoFi Personal Loans are not available to residents of MS. Minimum loan requirements might be higher than $5,000 in specific states due to legal requirements. Fixed and variable-rate caps may be lower in some states due to legal requirements and may impact your eligibility to qualify for a SoFi loan.

If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you may apply for Unemployment Protection. SoFi will suspend your monthly SoFi loan payments and provide job placement assistance during your forbearance period. Interest will continue to accrue and will be added to your principal balance at the end of each forbearance period, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Benefits are offered in three month increments, and capped at 12 months, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. To be eligible for this assistance you must provide proof that you have applied for and are eligible for unemployment compensation, and you must actively work with our Career Advisory Group to look for new employment. If the loan is co-signed the unemployment protection applies where both the borrower and cosigner lose their job and meet conditions.

Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi's underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (

SoFi is another popular source of personal loans. This online lender also provides traditional loans, with interest rates lower than many lenders because it primarily targets borrowers with great credit. SoFi charges no origination fee or prepayment fees and temporarily pauses your payments if you lose your job.




Credit Req.


Minimum Credit Score


24 to 60


Origination Fee

up to 5.00%


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Payoff is a financial services firm that offers personal loans mainly to help consolidate credit card debt.... Read More

All loans are subject to credit review and approval. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history. Currently loans are not offered in: MA, MS, NE, NV, OH, and WV.

Another online lender, Payoff lets you apply online for a personal loan. The company charges no application fees, and applying does not impact your credit score. You can choose a loan amount between $5,000 to $35,000 and terms from 24 to 60 months.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Dan Rafter
Dan Rafter |

Dan Rafter is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Dan here

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Where U.S. Families Are Leaving in Droves — and Where They’re Moving to

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

While some media outlets report increasing challenges for families seeking a comfortable life in America’s biggest cities, leading to declining birth rates, other research claims most cities and metropolitan areas are as family-friendly as the nation as a whole. What’s clear is that the cost of living, and in particular the cost of childcare, presents significant challenges for those raising children in 2019 and beyond.

We analyzed U.S. Census Bureau migration data to understand which areas families with children are moving to, as well which metropolitan areas they are moving away from. For the purposes of this article, we defined a family as any household with children under the age of 18. Final rankings were determined by subtracting the number of families who left a metro area between 2016 and 2017 from the number of families who moved in.

Key findings

  • Riverside, Calif., took the top spot for highest migration, with a net inflow of 6,279 families. Nearly 15,700 families moved to Riverside while just under 9,400 left.
  • Phoenix, Ariz., was the second most popular spot for families to move to. In total, this metro saw a net inflow of 5,580 families. This city is also known for being a destination of choice for retired seniors and snowbirds, thanks not only to good weather but also retirement-friendly tax laws.
  • The country’s largest city, New York, saw about 38,100 families leave and 13,149 move in. This created a net outflow of just under 25,000 families, making it the city families are most likely to leave.
  • Other big cities like Los Angeles and Chicago did not perform well in this analysis, either, ranking second and third for net outflow of families. The good news for big cities is that they are the ones best able to recover from the loss of families. With a large population of young people, it is possible these cities can naturally replace the families leaving.
  • Apart from the three largest cities, other large cities round out the bottom 10. San Francisco, Washington, Miami, San Diego and Seattle all saw a net loss of families from migration.
  • On the state level, the most popular states for families to move to were North Carolina, Massachusetts and Texas. Those states saw a net gain of 10,108 families; 8,092 families; and 7,643 families, respectively.
  • The worst-performing states, according to our analysis, were New York, California and Indiana. New York lost 23,276 families; California lost 15,690; and Indiana lost 7,670.

Which states families are moving to

Riverside, Calif., ranks first on our list of the top 25 places families are migrating to. It’s followed closely by Phoenix, then by Tampa, Fla.; Portland, Ore.; and Orlando, Fla.

Surprisingly, these states rank relatively low on MagnifyMoney’s list of the top 25 happiest states in America. In that study, Arizona ranked 17th, followed by Oregon at 18th, while California and Florida came in 21st and 29th, respectively. Diving deeper into the categories that contributed to residents’ happiness, California ranked 11th in health, while Florida came 46th in economic stability.

Surprisingly, while the state of Arizona has a lower total population overall than California or Florida, its capital city, Phoenix, ranked second in the number of new families moving in. Florida is also a hot spot for educated workers who are drawn to its relatively low cost of living and low unemployment rates. These are some of the attributes responsible for two cities in Florida ranking in the top five places families move to.

Which states families are moving from

The largest exodus of families comes from the nation’s largest cities. The top five cities families are moving away from include New York, which is at the very top of the list with a net mobility of almost -25,000.

The difference in net mobility between New York and Los Angeles, the next city on the list, is more than 10,000 families. Chicago, San Francisco and Washington follow more closely behind.

These numbers support the recent MagnifyMoney happiness study that ranked New York the 39th happiest state in the U.S. and second-to-last in economic stability overall, just above the state of Louisiana. Another MagnifyMoney study ranked Washington and San Francisco among the top three most expensive cities in the nation, where even a six-figure salary may not be enough to afford housing and transportation costs or live a comfortable lifestyle.

On the other end of the spectrum, Colorado ranked third-happiest state in America, and Fort Collins, Colo., is lowest on the list of metropolitan places families move away from. It also has the second lowest number of families who are moving in.

The cost of moving

From packing supplies and moving trucks to hiring staff and taking time off work, moving and relocation expenses can put a significant dent in a family’s savings. On average, it costs between $2,000 and $5,000 per move more than 100 miles away, according to Consumer Affairs.

You may want to start saving for moving expenses now — or consider options such as an introductory 0% APR credit card or personal loan — to cover costs when making a move with your family across state lines. That’s especially true if your company won’t cover moving expenses.

If you decide that a personal loan is the best option for you, try searching for the best interest rates and repayment terms on MagnifyMoney’s personal loan comparison tool, where you can see if you qualify for personal loan offers.


In order to rank the places where families were moving, researchers looked at the number of families who moved from one metro area to another from 2016 to 2017. To define family, we looked at households with children under the age of 18. To create the final ranking, we subtracted the number of families leaving a metro area from the number of those moving in.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Barbara Balfour
Barbara Balfour |

Barbara Balfour is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Barbara here

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