Best Ways to Get a $1,000 Personal Loan

Compare Your Options

Woman is working on a laptop in a café.

 Eva-Katalin / Getty Images

Sometimes you need a little extra money to get through a tight spot. Let’s say you need to borrow $1,000. There are a number of places you can get such a loan: from your local bank or credit union, from an online lender, or from a credit card.

The best option depends on factors like how long you need to borrow for, where you already have accounts, and what form of funding you need. Here are some pros and cons you should weigh as you decide.

So-called payday loans may be easier to get than a personal loan, but it’s best to avoid these because of their high costs. A two-week payday loan may charge $15 for every $100 borrowed, for an effective annual percentage rate (APR) of almost 400%. 

Local Banks and Credit Unions

Traditional lenders are worth investigating when you need a personal loan, especially if you have less-than-perfect credit. You might benefit from meeting with a bank employee in person to discuss your needs and your borrowing history. If you have other accounts with that institution (like a checking account), the insight into your finances may potentially help you get approved.

Fixed APRs will start under 10%, depending on your credit history. Repayment terms may vary from two to seven years, and you may or may not have to pay fees.

What We Like

  • Talking with a banker might help you get approved

  • You may receive funds the same day

What We Don't Like

  • You may need to open checking or share accounts before borrowing

  • You may need to visit in person

If you’ve belonged to a credit union for at least a month, you may be able to get a Payday Alternative Loan (PAL). These loans allow you to borrow up to $1,000 for one to six months. The application fees are capped at $20, and the APR must be below 28%.  

Online Lenders

Online lenders make it easy to compare interest rates. Just by sitting at your computer and typing in personal information like your Social Security Number and the amount you want to borrow, you can get quotes that are specific to you and your credit score—not just advertised rates that are only available to the most creditworthy borrowers. 

Remember to verify that you’re using legitimate, secure websites. (Watch for warnings from your browser and search engines.) And before you submit your information, make sure the lender specifies that getting a quote won’t hurt your credit score. 

As with banks and credit unions, online lenders offer a range of repayment terms and fixed APRs starting in the single digits. 

What We Like

  • Easy to compare rates and fees

  • Online application process is more convenient

What We Don't Like

  • You may have to wait several business days for funds

  • Some online lenders have a minimum loan amount of more than $1,000

  • You may have to pay origination fees of 1%-8%

Credit Cards

Credit cards often carry higher interest rates than personal loans from banks, credit unions, and online lenders, and the lower your credit rating, the more you pay.

However, if you can charge the $1,000 you need to a card, this option may make sense, depending on how quickly you can repay your loan and whether you can take advantage of an introductory rate. 

For instance, you might qualify for an introductory APR of 0% for 12 months, giving you a year to pay off a $1,000 purchase a no cost. (Just remember your variable APR is likely to jack up to double digits after that, so make sure to pay more than the minimum.)

If you need the loan in cash, however, a credit card is probably not the best option because cash advances often come with high-interest rates. Even if you get an introductory rate on a convenience check, there’s often a 3% or 5% fee.

What We Like

  • May be interest-free, for a time

  • Little to no fees

  • You'll have instant access to the funds if you already have the card

What We Don't Like

  • Without a promotion, APRs tend to be higher

  • Maxing out a card can hurt your credit score

  • Too expensive if you need cash

Bottom Line

Here are things to keep in mind as you weigh the borrowing option that's smartest for you:

  • Local banks and credit unions may be willing to approve your application with blemishes in your credit history, especially if you can demonstrate responsible financial behavior in your accounts. But it’s always worth shopping around.
  • Online lenders make it easy to compare rates, and the application process is relatively painless. In many cases, it doesn’t hurt your credit to check your rate, so it’s worth getting an individualized quote.
  • To maximize your flexibility, verify that you can pay off your debt early without additional charges.
  • Weigh origination fees against the interest rate and other features. While it’s never pleasant to pay anything called a “fee,” those charges might open the door to a better deal. 
  • Credit cards are convenient, but interest costs and other charges can make borrowing expensive. If you borrow with a card, be mindful of promotional periods, and pay off the debt as quickly as possible.
Article Table of Contents Skip to section

Article Sources

  1. Fair Isaac Corp. "Credit Checks: What are credit inquiries and how do they affect your FICO Score?," Accessed Sept. 24, 2019.

  2. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. "Consumer Credit - G.19," Accessed Sept. 24, 2019.