How can I best access funds to cover an emergency?

If you need access to emergency funds, there are different options available. Each option will have benefits and drawbacks, and may impact your financial position differently. Not all of these options will be best for you – keep in mind your individual circumstances and financial goals.

Find out more on some of the trade-offs of each option below before you take action

Some things to consider:

  • How much do you need?
  • Will you need additional funds for the short or long term?
  • Do you need funds as a lump sum, or will you need to access them on an ongoing basis?
  • Can you access additional funds from what you have (existing funds or credit) or will you need to borrow more?
  • What kind of repayments will you be able to meet (fixed or variable)?

Using your own funds

Accessing your own funds in an emergency is a good place to start – this gives you greater control in the short term and a better understanding of the long term implications for your personal situation. 

Using your rainy day or other savings fund means you may will lose out on earning any interest, but this is likely less costly and easier than other options. 

Term deposits

You could access funds from any long term deposits you have if you’re after a lump sum without any money left owing.  Keep in mind any notice periods and fees associated with breaking the term of your deposit. 

Find out more about term deposits


Consider if selling an investment you currently have may be an option for you, but keep in mind some fees and costs may be associated with selling any investments.  You may have to consider capital gains tax that may apply, trading fees and market conditions.  

Find out more about investments

Borrowing options

Credit cards

You could use your credit card to access additional funds to help cover short term costs. This may be a viable option if you already have a credit card or don’t want to be tied to a specific repayment amount. Keep in mind any debt you accrue on a credit card will compound interest over time, meaning you may owe more than you spend. You should also consider the specific interest rate of your card and any additional fees such as annual fees, cash advance fees and over limit fees which may apply. 

There are different types of credit cards available to CommBank customers, including low fee or low interest cards, as well as Awards cards. 

Compare credit cards

Personal loan

Applying for a personal loan could be useful if you need a large lump sum with regular repayments on the amount borrowed. You’ll need to meet eligibility criteria to apply for a Personal loan.

You can control the amount and frequency of your personal loan repayments, and choose the type of interest rate (fixed or variable). You’ll need to pay back the full amount you’ve borrowed including interest (even if you don’t use it all).

Find out more about personal loans


Applying for or accessing an overdraft can help if you need access to a small amount of money. An overdraft can help you to manage cash flow for a short time. You’ll need to meet eligibility criteria to apply for a Personal Overdraft.

There’s no set up fee when you create an overdraft linked to your everyday account. There is a $10 fee every time you use your overdraft as well as interest charged – if you’re unable to pay back the funds accessed your interest will accumulate and you may owe more than you spent.

Find out more about overdrafts

Experiencing hardship? 

If you’re experiencing hardship CommBank offers support for credit card & personal  loan customers, including deferrals. 

Find out more

Only as a last resort, you could consider accessing your Super early

As part of coronavirus relief, the Federal Government has enabled early access to Super of $1000 to $20,000 for people who really need it. Am I eligible?

This is a major decision with financial consequences. You should speak to a financial professional before proceeding with any withdrawals and consider future impacts including funds available when you retire. 

 Accessing your super today may have implications on your retirement.  Calculate the impact on your retirement savings at ASIC Money.

Things you should know

Not all (or any) of these options might be right for you – take into consideration your personal circumstances before making any decisions.