Has your roof sprung a leak? Has your car broken down? Did your neighbor’s soccer ball find its way through your window? Or maybe your cell phone bill is just way more than you expected. From time to time we all are faced with sudden, unexpected events that require immediate cash, fast. Here is what to do if you need cash for an emergency repair or another unanticipated expense.
1. Obtain a Payroll Advance from Your Employer
When your funds are low and you need money fairly quickly, one good option is to visit your employer’s Human Resources department to inquire about whether a payroll advance is possible.
Companies don’t typically publicize this option to employees.
But ever since the Great Recession, a growing number of employers have began offering payroll cash advances and loans to workers, according to Alice Whinnery, CEO of the LFE Institute, an organization that provides financial literacy services in the workplace.
Two good things about a workplace loan, or a cash advance from the job, are that you can often get this money in just a couple of days – and you don’t have to fork over ridiculously high interest rates. In fact, many payroll advances don’t require you to pay interest at all.
2. Get Financial Help from a Local Non-Profit Organization
Regional non-profits and local community development groups are increasingly providing financial assistance for those in dire financial straits. So do a Google search for non-profit organizations in your town and contact a few to see about loans.
For example, in Arkansas, a group called Arkansans Against Abusive Payday Lending, provides borrowers with low-cost loans up to $500, which can be repaid over six to 16 months. The organization, comprised of 36 consumer, military and faith-based groups in the state, has been so effective that it helped drive high-cost payday lenders completely out of Arkansas.
3. Use a Credit Card Cash Advance or Balance Transfer Check
A credit card cash advance typically involves a fee of 1% to 4% of the loan amount. Plus, the interest rates on credit card advances are now running about from 15% to 25%. That’s high, but it may be a necessary loan to take out in a pinch when you have no other options.
And it’s way better than using payday lenders, whose rates run about 400%.
Use a site like CardRatings.com to comparison shop for your best credit card deals and balance transfer options. Also, read up on how a balance transfer can improve your credit score.
4. Get a “Small Dollar Loan” from a Bank
Even though the credit crunch has made it a lot tougher to get bank loans, many financial institutions are nevertheless launching new loan initiatives for people who need cash fast.
In 2011, nine federally-insured banks began a new pilot program called FDIC Model Safe Accounts. One key feature of this program: “small dollar loans” of up to $2,500, approved in just 24 hours.
Meanwhile, under the Bank On program, lenders nationwide are expanding their efforts to provide small, fast loans to borrowers in need.
All of these options can help you get money when you need it in a pinch – and they’re all way better than turning to payday lenders when you’ve got to have cash quickly.
This article originally appeared on AskTheMoneyCoach.com.