Whether it’s a loan for you or your business, sometimes you only need a small amount to cover specific debts or unexpected costs. This is especially true for young people who often only need a small loan to cover an immediate expense that they don’t have the cash for.

Putting $3K or $4K on a credit card means that you’ll be paying your - probably high - credit card interest rate on the amount.

What the credit card companies don’t want you to know is that personal loans are a cheaper and smarter way to borrow small amounts.

Most banks, however, aren’t interested in doing all the work to process small amounts. That is where these online lending companies come in.

This is everything you need to know about getting a loan for under 5K.

1. Borrow as little as possible, repay as quickly as possible

Loans aren’t free money. You have to pay them back and the sooner the better.

Always base your borrowing on what you can comfortably afford to repay. Borrowing too much can cause debts to spiral out of control.

This is why a small loan is ideal. You’re only borrowing exactly what you need in the short-run, without setting you up for problems down the road.

LendingTree is the leading online marketplace for personal loans, with over 1,500 lenders in their network. For the most options and the easiest comparison between them, LendingTree is your best place to start.

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2. Credit history is important, but even bad credit has options

The ideal loan customer for a lender is someone with a good credit and a high level of disposable income.

However, there are still many options for borrowers with fair or poor credit. Online lenders and companies especially specialize in this area, offering terms that you won’t find at your local bank or credit union.

Amone is an online marketplace that offers an excellent variety of loan options for fair and poor credit through its network of lenders.

3. Pay attention to APR

APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate. This annual percentage rate on a loan is the amount the lender would charge if you borrowed the money for a year, as a percentage of the original loan.

For example at 40% APR, to borrow for a year you'd be charged 40% of the original loan - on top of paying it back.

Sometimes online lending companies have extremely high APRs. This leads to a longer repayment and a price tag on your loan that’s just too high.

LoansUnder36’s network of lenders offers loans as little as $1K with a guaranteed APR of less than 36%.

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4.  Settle your loan early for free

Loan providers allow you to pay off your loan in full.

If you’re financially able to repay your loan in full at any point, do it. Don’t waste money on paying interest and other fees unless you have to.

Now you know everything you need to know about making the right financial move and finding a small personal loan online.