What would you do in an emergency? You know the kind. You need money stat, but payday is still weeks away. To complicate matters, you don’t have the best of credit, so you can’t get a bank loan.

If have a valuable heirloom, you may be torn between going to a pawn shop or heading online for an installment loan. While both pawnshop and installment loans may offer a convenient way to get fast cash, they are two very different financial products.

Keep scrolling to find out what these differences are so that you’re armed with the facts you need to make a decision.

What Are Installment Loans?

An online installment loan for bad credit is a type of personal loan that issues a pre-set amount of money. As an online loan, you’ll apply for, receive, and repay it over the web.

Unlike other cash advances, you won’t have to pay back everything in one lump sum. Instead, you’ll pay back what you owe in multiple installments that fall within a pre-determined time. For short term installment loans, this may be anywhere between a few weeks and a few years.

Your loan amount and repayment terms are fixed, so this information won’t come as a surprise. Generally speaking, you’ll know how much you qualify for before you agree to take the loan; you’ll also know how big your payments will be and when each one will be due.

Before you’re approved for bad credit installment loans, you must fill out an application. This allows a lender like MoneyKey, for example, to see if you meet their eligibility requirements.

One less official yet no less important requirement is how you intend to use these installment loans. The MoneyKey installment loans for bad credit are intended to help cover unexpected emergency expenses when your savings fall short. That means they may not be the best option for long-term financial commitments or discretionary spending.

What Are Pawn Shop Loans?

Fans of the reality TV show Pawn Stars will already have an inkling of how these fast cash loans work. But for those who haven’t binge-watched all 17 seasons, here’s a quick rundown.

When you bring in one of your belongings to a pawn shop, the owner may give you a loan based on its perceived value. If you take this money, they’ll keep your item until you pay them back, plus interest.

There’s no credit check involved; the pawnbroker will ask minimal questions about why you need the money, so you may get cash for anything — not just emergencies. You’ll receive the cash in the time it takes the pawnbroker to determine the value of your belonging.

The downside? There’s a chance a pawnbroker may sell your item while you’re gone. They’re running a business, after all.

You’ll also have a hard time anticipating how much your belonging will fetch in the pawnshop; pawnbrokers often grant small-dollar loans, even if what you have is incredibly expensive.

Which One Will You Choose?

While this article can’t tell you that one cash loan over the other is the best option in every situation, it does arm you with more information. If you have a better handle on what’s available, you can carefully shop for the best fit for your needs.