It’s not unusual for life to throw unexpected expenses your way. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, any unplanned cost could put a big wrench in your ability to keep your head above water financially.
The good news is that paycheck advance apps put the funds you need within reach. We found the best cash advance apps that can help you make it to payday.
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What Cash Advance Apps Work the Best?
Loan apps present an opportunity to get cash quickly, especially if you don’t have access to overdraft protection at your bank. Many cash advance apps have extra features to help you manage your funds, but selecting the right one depends on what matters to you.
We will explore the features and eligibility requirements of the top cash advance apps so that you can decide which money apps fit your situation best.
Dave is a personal finance app that offers cash advances without a credit check or late fees. If you meet the eligibility requirements, Dave’s ExtraCash feature provides a cash advance of up to $500.
According to Dave, over 50 percent of members use their cash advances to cover food purchases. Other popular uses for the funds include gas, car payments, utilities, and rent.
Dave doesn’t come with any interest charges or late fees. However, there is a $1 monthly membership fee, and you’ll have to pay a fee if you want access to the funds immediately. Additionally, you have the option to leave a tip.
When you take an advance, you’ll agree to a repayment date. Depending on your situation, you could be approved for a cash advance within minutes. Additionally, you won’t be required to link a direct deposit to your Dave spending account.
- Fast access to cash advances
- Optional tipping
- Access to banking services, such as a debit card
- Monthly membership fee
- Fee attached to same-day funding
If you need access to fast cash, Dave could be worth trying.
Empower is another payday advance app that lets you borrow up to $250. You won’t face a credit check, late fees, or an interest rate through Empower. If you qualify, you can get your cash advance within five minutes of opening an account.
When you use the Empower app, it will monitor your linked bank account transactions to help you set a budget. As it tracks your transactions, it offers automatic savings options.
You can manually choose to save a set amount with each paycheck. Alternately, you can let the Empower app automatically transfer funds to savings when the artificial intelligence spots an opportunity.
One of Empower’s biggest downsides is that it comes with an $8 monthly subscription fee. While you can try out the cash app with a 14-day free trial, the ongoing fee is rather steep.
- Built-in budgeting feature
- Get cash in one day
- $8 monthly subscription fee
- Relatively small personal loans are available
Read our Empower review to learn more.
Brigit offers access to a long list of financial tools, including cash advances. According to the app, you can get a cash advance of $250 in as little as 90 seconds. However, most advances start in the $50 to $100 range.
To qualify, Brigit members must have a primary checking account that they use regularly with at least 60 days of account history and a balance of more than $0. Additionally, they must have received at least three deposits from the same employer.
Some of the other tools offered through Brigit include credit builder, automatic savings, and budgeting features. It costs $9.99 per month to use Brigit’s cash advance feature.
- Sign up in 90 seconds
- Cash advances of up to $250
- $9.99 monthly membership fee
- Initial cash advance limit is usually $50 to $100
If you have a stable job and don’t need a lot of cash, Brigit is worth trying.
Earnin is a financial technology company that provides access to up to $100 of your paycheck within minutes of earning the funds. You can even get early access to as much as $750 of your paycheck per pay period.
When you request cash, it will take one or two days to reach your checking account. However, you can pay a fee to have instant access to the funds.
With Ernin, you won’t run into any interest charges, but you will have the option to tip the service.
Balance Shield is one of the extra features Earnin offers. With this tool, you can ask the app to let you know if your checking account balance hits a minimum balance.
If you reach that balance, you’ll know immediately and can request a cash advance. The feature can help you avoid an overdraft fee.
- Advance options of up to $750 per pay period
- Optional tipping
- No monthly fee
- Must link a bank account
If you want to avoid fees, Earnin is worth a look. Read our guide on the best apps like Earnin to learn more.
MoneyLion is a financial app with several handy features, like a credit builder and budgeting system. It also offers cash advances.
The app requires that users who want to borrow money instantly link their checking accounts. If you have recurring deposits, you can potentially unlock cash advance options.
According to the app, it usually takes three to eight weeks to get approved for up to $500. Initially, your cash advance amount might be as little as $10.
MoneyLion’s Instacash feature doesn’t have a monthly fee. However, depending on the loan amount, you’ll pay a fee of $0.49 to $8.99 if you want to receive your funds within minutes through the ‘Turbo’ option.
MoneyLion takes its payment automatically from your checking account on payday. If you sign up for MoneyLion’s Roar checking account, you might be able to tap into a cash advance of up to $1,000.
- No monthly fee
- Up to $1,000 cash advance options
- No minimum credit score requirements
- Fee for instant access
- Roar account required for top cash advance amounts
If your credit score is a concern, MoneyLion is worth trying.
Albert offers budgeting tools and interest-free cash advances of up to $250. The Instant cash advances come from your next payday, and Albert will expect immediate repayment when you receive your paycheck.
If you can wait two to three days, you can avoid the fee that comes with instant access to the advance. Like most paycheck advance apps on this list, you won’t encounter interest charges, late fees, or a credit check.
Before funding a cash advance, Albert requires that your pay comes via direct deposit into a connected bank account. The account needs to be at least two months old and have a balance greater than $0.
In addition, the service requires that you’ve worked for the same employer with a consistent income for two months and that you received your most recent paycheck on time in order to qualify for an advance.
Also, you’ll need to be an Albert Genius member. This costs $14.99 per month.
- Cash advances of up to $250 are available
- Early access to paycheck
- $14.99 monthly membership fee
- Not every member will qualify for a cash advance
Albert is worth trying if you don’t need instant access to funds.
Payactiv is a digital wallet that includes access to paycheck advances. The Earned Wage Access feature allows you to receive up to 50 percent of your wages before payday.
When you use the advance, you can have the funds transferred to a Payactiv Visa Card or pick up the cash at Walmart. The catch is that your employer has to enroll with the platform.
If you set up a direct deposit, Payactiv can provide a cash advance of up to $1,000. Otherwise, if you don’t receive your paycheck via monthly direct deposit, the maximum cash advance is $500.
Instant access comes with a fee of less than $3. If you can handle a turnaround time of one to three business days, the transfer is free.
Repayment is automatic, and any advance will be deducted from your next paycheck.
- No bank account linking is required
- Instant access to up to 50 percent of your net earnings
- Limited options if your employer isn’t enrolled
- Bad credit isn’t a limiting factor
If you don’t want to link your bank account, Payactiv is worth considering.
What to Know About Money Lending Apps
At first glance, obtaining funding through payday loan apps seems harmless. Nevertheless, if you want to sign up for a money-lending app, you must approach the situation with your eyes wide open.
Here is a closer look at the risks of using the best apps for payday loans.
They’re Not a Long-Term Solution
When an unexpected emergency comes up, turning to a cash advance app might seem like a logical solution. The immediate benefit of having the cash you need in your account could appear to be worthwhile.
However, money lending apps aren’t a permanent solution to your financial woes.
If you regularly turn to a cash advance app to alleviate a cash crunch, you likely have a bigger financial problem. After all, you don’t want to rely on a lending app to rescue your finances forever.
It’s Important to Break the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle
A recent study found that approximately 60 percent of American adults live paycheck to paycheck. If you frequently have to borrow money to make ends meet, you are likely living a paycheck-to-paycheck reality.
This is a relentless cycle that makes it difficult to move your financial health in a positive direction.
A more permanent solution involves taking a closer look at your income and spending habits. You might need to spend less, earn more, or both.
You Need to Start an Emergency Fund
Occasionally turning to money-borrowing apps is one thing, but you should try to turn to an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses.
This is of particular importance if you’re regularly incurring an overdraft fee on your banking account. An emergency fund helps provide a buffer when an unexpected expense arises.
Many experts recommend saving between three and six months of living expenses in an emergency fund. While this may seem overwhelming, the reality is that starting an emergency fund can be more manageable.
For example, i you are turning to cash advance apps, saving $500 or $1,000 might eliminate that need.
Consider starting an emergency fund by cutting back on discretionary purchases for a while. Then look for a high-yield savings account that will pay you a competitive interest rate on your savings.
CIT Bank is our top choice as it offers some of the best rates in the market.
It’s Time to Get Real About Debt
Carrying a heavy debt burden can take a toll on your financial situation. Beyond the numbers, dealing with too much debt can have an emotional impact as well.
If you are tired of living in debt, it’s time to be honest about that feeling. It’s important to do this even if you’re being charged reasonable interest rates on your indebtedness.
The good news is that it’s possible to pay off debt fast. While the journey to becoming debt-free is rarely easy, the rewards are worthwhile.
If you are ready to get out of debt, make a plan to pay it off today.
The best cash advance apps make getting your hands on the money you need a straightforward process. As you explore your options, keep your needs in mind. If an app stands out to you, it could be worth trying.
Remember that apps that loan you money instantly aren’t a permanent solution. It’s best to view them as a temporary solution you can use while you make a plan to get back on track financially.
What’s the first thing you do when you’re short on money?
Sarah Sharkey is a personal finance writer who enjoys diving into the details to help readers make savvy financial decisions. She’s covered money management, insurance, budgeting, mortgages and more. She lives in Florida with her husband and dog. When she's not writing, she's outside exploring the coast. You can connect with her on her blog Adventurous Adulting.