5 Helpful Tips to Get Money Now (Without Breaking the Law)

Sometimes you just need to get your hands on some fat stacks of cash.

Maybe you’ve just come across a can’t-miss investment opportunity. Perhaps your car died and you desperately need another one so you can get to work. Probably you’ve got some bills due.

In the end, when you need some fast cash, the reasons don’t matter as much as the means. You just need to get money now.

Sure, you could rob a bank, bet big at the casino or reply to that Nigerian prince who keeps sending you emails. But you’d be risking your freedom, making a bad bet and throwing good money after bad.

Instead, take a look at these five ways to get your hands on money now (without breaking the law):

1) Secure a personal loan to get money now

There are two types of personal loans: secured and unsecured. Both offer a viable way to secure some fast cash.

Secured loans are backed by collateral, meaning you need to guarantee your willingness and ability to pay it back with your home, car or other piece of personal property.

Unsecured loans do not require such collateral, but they also tend to be a little more difficult to get and charge higher interest rates.

Most personal loans are made available through banks and other legitimate lending institutions. In general, the better your credit score, the more likely you are to be approved and the lower your interest rate will be.

If you’re interested in figuring out how much a personal loan will wind up costing you in the long-run, take a look at this Personal Loan Calculator.

2) Take a cash advance on your credit card to get money now

If you have a credit card, there’s a good chance that you will be able to get your hands on some fast cash–but it will not be free!

Most credit card companies offer their customers the opportunity to take out a cash advance by using an ATM, withdrawing money from the bank or through checks that act as short-term loans.

The advantage of such transactions is that they allow you to get your hands on cash very quickly. The downsides are that you are almost always going to be charged a transaction fee and you’ll pay an incredibly high interest rate.

Taking a cash advance on your credit card is a great way to get money today when you don’t have a lot of other options.

3) Raid the retirement account

If you are lucky enough to have a retirement account, you just might be lucky enough to have an opportunity to get money fast–and it will be your money.

Many people with 401(k)s or IRAs take loans out from the money they have invested in the accounts.

This approach to getting money fast comes with an array of benefits, including the fact that it’s your own money, the interest rates tend to be lower than other types of loans and it will not hurt your credit score.

There are some downsides to raiding your retirement account. For one, you may have to pay the money back within a specific amount of time. If you don’t, you may face penalties. In addition, burrowing money from your future can be a risky proposition. It might save you today, but losing the compound interest and having to pay penalties can wind up costing you dearly down the road.

4) Explore peer lending

The internet is a wonderful tool–especially when you need money today.

Thanks to the power of technology, it is possible for people around the world to borrow money from other people from around the world. It’s called peer-to-peer lending, and it can be a wonderful way to get money now.

In essence, peer-to-peer lending allows you to take out a personal loan from a stranger. Interest rates are generally based on your credit score, so the higher your score the lower the rate you are likely to pay.

Typically, all it takes to secure a loan from one of the many peer lending sites on the internet is a respectable credit score, a pay stub or two and an internet connection.

You can check your credit score for free on Credit Karma. You can learn about the “best” peer lending sites (at least according to Investopedia) by clicking here.

5) Home equity loans

About a decade ago, the home market plummeted. Home prices fell so fast that homeowners and people with mortgages lost an awful lot of equity.

The bottom falling out of the home market was made worse by the fact that companies across the country were cutting their work forces. In addition, many people had gotten into their homes through loans that were bad investments (high interest rates, balloon payments, etc.).

The end result was catastrophic.

Many people simply walked away from their homes, deciding to go into foreclosure. Some were able to sell their homes, many for loses. And those who were fortunate enough to hold onto their homes did so while losing equity.

But things have improved a great deal since then. The economy is improving, people are back to work and home prices are on the rise again.

That means you might be able to take out a home equity loan–if you are a homeowner whose house is worth more than you owe.

Home equity loan rates are generally low, and the loans tend to be easy to qualify for (because they are backed by your home).

While the concept of home equity loans is pretty easy to understand, the structure of the loans is actually quite complex.

Make sure you understand how home equity lines of credit work before you sign on the dotted line.

Need to get money today?

Sometimes you simply need to get money fast. Whether you need it today, tomorrow or sometime next week, you’re going to want to make smart decisions.

Each of these five ways to get money fast comes with its own set of pros and cons. If you need money, take a look at each option–and then choose the one that’s best.