Cash advance apps let you borrow a small amount of money from your upcoming paycheck before it hits your bank account. These apps are a quick fix if you need money ASAP. However, before we list the top-rated apps for you to use, it’s important to first explore the pros and cons of cash advance apps, also known as loan apps.
Should You Use a Cash Advance App?
While cash advance app fees seem small, they add up. In most scenarios, it doesn’t make sense to pay to get access to money that you’ve worked for. These apps should only be used in an emergency. But they are not a long-term solution for ongoing financial problems.
Repeatedly needing cash advances is a sign that you need to increase your income or work on your budget.
Pros and Cons of Loan Apps
Get cash fast. This is especially helpful if you need money in an emergency. Some of these apps can deposit money almost immediately, but many charge a fee for instant service.
Could be less costly than an overdraft fee. If you’re stuck choosing between paying an overdraft fee or a paycheck advance, chances are that the advance is the cheaper option. Most loan app fees are no more than $10, while the average overdraft fee is $35.
Could cause an overdraft. Many loan apps require access to your bank account so that money can be withdrawn when it’s due. While some apps try to avoid causing an overdraft, it’s not guaranteed.
Possible Cycle of Debt. Because these apps make it easy to borrow from your next paycheck, it increases the risk of users falling into a cycle of debt. Others may use these apps to cover regular expenses, which is also problematic.
Best Loan Apps
Now that we’ve gone over some of the pros and cons, we’ve included a list of some of the best apps for cash advances. Read on to learn more.
1) Earnin: Best for Low Fees
Earnin is more than a paycheck advance app. It tracks the hours that you work by tracking your location or using a timesheet and lets you borrow money that you’ve earned. The app also notifies you when your bank account balance is low.
Amount you can borrow: $100 to $500
Fees: Earnin asks for a voluntary tip, up to $14. The overdraft protection feature requires a minimum recurring tip of at least $1.50.
Speed: With the Lightning Speed feature, you can get money instantly. Otherwise, you’ll receive funds within 1-2 business days.
Repayment: Borrowed cash is withdrawn from your bank account on your next payday.
2) Dave: Best for Small Advances
Dave lets you borrow small amounts of money while waiting for your next paycheck. The app can also be used to avoid overdrawing your account. With a Dave spending account, you’ll have access to larger loan amounts.
Amount you can borrow: $5 to $200 for Dave spending account users; $5 to $100 for those without the spending account.
Fees: The Dave app charges several fees, all of which are optional:
- $1 monthly subscription fee (users can opt-out in the app)
- $1.99 to $5.99 fee to receive your money faster (this fee is based on the loan amount)
- Optional tip (up to 20% of the loan amount)
Speed: It can take up to three business days to get your money. With the express fee, you’ll receive your money within eight hours.
Repayment: By default, your payment date is set to your next payday. However, this can be changed if needed.
3) Brigit: Best for Budgeting Tools
Brigit allows you to get money when you need it while also offering budgeting help and financial advice. To get a cash advance using the app, you must have a paid plan, which offers cash advances, automatic deposits to prevent overdraft, and credit monitoring.
Amount you can borrow: $50 to $250
Fees: The paid plan costs $9.99 a month
Speed: If funds are requested before 10AM, you can get a same-day cash advance. Otherwise, your money will arrive the next business day.
Repayment: The app automatically sets your next payment based on your paycheck schedule. The repayment date can be extended, but only once for every two advances that are repaid on time.
4) Chime: Best for Existing Customer Overdraft Protection
Chime is a mobile company that has spanned into the financial world. The app offers both checking and savings accounts, along with credit-builder loans and a SpotMe feature. This feature lets users overdraw their account by a small, predetermined amount.
There are also apps that loan money with Chime, including Cleo, Dave, and Albert.
While SpotMe is more for overdraft protection than a cash advance feature, it’s a quick way to get money if you’re low on funds. You must have $200 in qualifying direct deposits each month to qualify for this feature.
Amount you can borrow: $20 to $200
Fees: No fees, but users can pay an optional tip.
Speed: Instant. Money is sent to your Chime account if it’s close to overdrawing.
Repayment: The amount is paid back on your next payday.
5) MoneyLion: Best for Multiple Financial Products
MoneyLion is more than a cash advance app. It also offers mobile bank and investment accounts along with credit builder loans and financial overdraft protection loan schools first tracking. Anyone with a qualifying checking account can receive an Instacash advance.
If you don’t have a MoneyLion account, you’ll have to pay a small fee for the cash advance.
Amount you can borrow: $25 to $250, but higher amounts are only available to users with a MoneyLion checking account.
- $3.99 fee for instant delivery for MoneyLion checking account users
- $4.99 fee for instant delivery for non-MoneyLion checking accounts
- Optional tip
Speed: Without instant delivery, it can take 12-48 hours for MoneyLion checking account users to receive their funds. For non-MoneyLion checking account users, it can take 3-5 business days.
Repayment: Funds are automatically withdrawn on your next payday. If the account doesn’t have enough funds to repay the loan within five days of the due date, you’ll be charged a late fee.
Are Cash Advance Apps Payday Lenders?
No, cash advance apps aren’t the same as payday lenders. For this reason, payday lending regulations don’t apply.
However, some consumer advocates consider payday cash advance franchises and apps to be very similar to payday lenders. They offer small-dollar loans that must be paid on your next payday. Cash advances come with fees, and repayments aren’t reported to major credit bureaus.
Alternatives to Cash Advance Apps
Cash apps are only one of the options to get fast cash. There are several alternatives that may have lower fees. These options may also help you improve your credit, finances, or both.
Small Personal Loan
Credit Union Loan
If you’re a credit union member, you may qualify for a personal loan with an 18% or lower interest rate. Some credit unions offer loans for as little as $500. Others offer payday alternative loans.
Make More Money
Instead of borrowing, find ways to earn extra cash. There are many options to consider, including babysitting, pet sitting, online surveys, or working as a rideshare driver.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Loan Apps Safe?
Yes, but these apps should not be used frequently. They should only be used in the event of an emergency. Using a loan app on a weekly basis means you’ll be stuck paying fees on the money you’ve earned.
What Are the Dangers of Having Overdraft Protection?
Overdraft protection doesn’t necessarily eliminate overdraft fees. If you’re charged a fee, you’ll have to pay it. There’s also the risk that a transaction won’t clear, leaving you unable to complete any transactions.
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