If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, even small additional expenses can upend your budget. While it’s always a good idea to have a robust emergency fund for such costs, sometimes it’s necessary to borrow money to make ends meet until your next payday. There are various apps and tools that can help you budget your money, receive your paycheck faster, and even borrow small sums to tide you over until you get paid.
Dave is a good option if you’re caught in a tight place financially and need some extra cash to get you to payday. The lender offers cash advances of up to $200 with no fees. Customers can receive a small, interest-free advance on their next paycheck with no credit check required.
A cash advance from Dave can help you to prevent overdraft fees and stay on track financially. Customers who have an account with Dave can borrow up to $200, while customers without an account can borrow up to $100.
It can take one to three days to receive your cash advance from Dave. However, customers can pay an additional fee to receive funds faster. Dave charges an optional monthly subscription fee and gives users the option to leave a tip in the app, but customers can opt-out of these additional costs if they choose.
In addition to providing cash advances, Dave also features several other tools to help manage money easier. This includes building your credit history by reporting on-time rent payments, credit monitoring, budgeting tools, and the ability to search for side hustles in the app.
Ever wanted to receive your pay as soon as you earn it, rather than having to wait two weeks for a paycheck? Earnin makes it simple to access your earnings when you need it. Users can get up to $500 from their paycheck per pay period.
Earnin is free to use, but they do feature optional overdraft protection, which costs $1.50 per month, and the option to leave a tip. That said, users aren’t obligated to give Earnin any extra money.
The app also features automatic low-balance alerts that notify you when your balance is low. Its Balance Shield Cash Out feature allows customers to use a portion of their upcoming paycheck to cover any potential overdrafts.
When users save money in their Earnin account, they’re also eligible to win prizes through Earnin’s WeWin program. Plus, users can gain access to their paycheck up to two days faster, so you can access your hard-earned cash when you need it.
Moneylion is a finance app that comes with several different features, including the ability to get your paycheck up to two days early. Moneylion also offers services including mobile banking, investing, personal loans, and more.
The app’s Instacash Advance feature allows users to access cash advances of up to $250 with no interest. There’s no monthly fee to use this service, and no credit check is required. Standard delivery is free, and users can also pay a small fee to have the funds delivered faster.
New customers will be able to access cash advances ranging from $50 to $200. If you switch your deposit account to a RoarMoney account from MoneyLion, you can access up to $300 in cash advances.
If you’re looking for a bank account that supports your savings goals, Moneylion also offers a mobile banking app with few fees and tools that help you manage your spending and saving.
If you’re looking to build better financial habits, Brigit is an option worth considering. The app allows customers to get up to $250 in instant cash before a future paycheck. Customers can also use Brigit’s Credit Builder to raise their credit scores, analyze their spending behaviors, and even look for jobs.
Brigit’s free plan comes with the ability to look for jobs, analyze your finances, and access the app’s library of content. But to access higher-tier features, like cash advances, you’ll need to upgrade to the paid plan, which charges a membership fee of $9.99 a month.
Brigit also features overdraft protection, allowing users to use Auto Advances to send money to your bank account to avoid overdraft fees. The app also analyzes your spending and provides personalized insights into your financial life.
While Brigit has plenty of handy features, it’s notably more expensive than some of the other options on this list. If you’re solely looking for a cash advance, you can get a better deal elsewhere. But if you’re looking for multifaceted budgeting tools and don’t mind paying $9.99 per month, Brigit has plenty of perks to recommend it.
Chime is best known for its no-free online checking accounts. They give customers the option to receive their paycheck up to two days early with their Chime Spending Account and use up to $200 against future wages to cover overdrafts with their SpotMe program.
If you’re on a tight budget and worried about overdraft fees, the SpotMe program from Chime could save you money. The lender will “spot” users up to $200 if they overdraft their account. This money is then repaid whenever you receive your extra deposit.
SpotMe is free to use if you have a Chime account, and customers can also access their paycheck two days earlier than usual. However, the app does give customers the option to leave a tip when using SpotMe.
Chime also comes with plenty of other great features, including a fee-free spending account, a secured credit card for borrowers looking to build credit, and a fee-free high-yield savings account. Overall, Chime is an excellent example of an online bank with low fees that can also help you gain access to your paycheck a little bit faster.
Empower is a fintech app with a Visa debit card that earns cash back—and can give you access to up to $250 in cash advances. Empower also allows users to get their paycheck up to two days faster than traditional accounts.
Empower’s cash advance of up to $250 is free for users, with no interest, late fees, or credit check. However, Empower is only available via mobile app, so it might not be accessible to borrowers who don’t have access to a smartphone.
To meet the eligibility requirements for Empower’s cash advance, users must receive their paycheck in the Empower mobile app. The exact amount borrowers can access will vary depending on their income, account balance, and account age.
Empower comes with plenty of other tools, including the ability to earn up to 10% cash back at select retailers. Cardholders have free access to over 37,000 ATMs, plus phone and live chat support for customers with questions or concerns.
Unlike some of the other apps on this list, Dailypay focuses specifically on large corporations' employees. The app partners with employers like Kroger, Dollar Tree, and McDonald’s to give employees access to their paycheck faster.
Employees can instantly access up to 100% of earned pay with the app’s PAY feature, either immediately or the next day. They can also save money for both short- and long-term goals when they receive their paycheck.
Dailypay is free for employees to use, although employers pay to use the service. The service targets employers who are looking to give their employees increased flexibility and access to their wages. However, the app also seems to target companies whose low-wage employees may especially need cash advances.
Payactiv is another app that allows users to access their paycheck early. Rather than waiting until payday, users whose employers offer Payactiv can access a portion of their current earnings. How much users can access depends on several factors, including their income and their employer’s settings.
Because this app is only available for employees of participating employers, it’s not the best fit for employees whose employers don’t yet offer Payactiv. However, there are a few other benefits for customers, regardless of who their employer is.
For instance, the card offers the ability for users to receive their paycheck up to two days in advance. In addition, you can pay bills directly from the app, transfer money, view saving and spending patterns, and plan for the future.
For users whose employers work with Payactiv, the app also provides company-wide notifications, the ability to check for open shifts, and the opportunity to get in touch directly with team members and employers.
Varo is best known for its high-interest savings account and fee-free online banking. For existing customers, they also feature Varo Advance. This cash advance comes with no interest, and customers can borrow up to $100 against a future paycheck.
Cardholders can access anywhere from $20 to $100 with Varo Advance. It’s free to borrow $20, but fees range from $3-5 for amounts $50 and up. Qualifying customers must have a bank account with Varo that’s at least 30 days old. You also need to have at least $1,000 in direct deposits to one of your Varo accounts.
Varo allows you to set up an automatic repayment due date for the cash advance 15 to 30 days after receiving your funds. In addition to Varo Advance, Varo also allows account holders to access their paycheck up to two days earlier than usual.
Varo is a great option if you’re looking for a robust online bank account that comes with a cash advance. They also feature high-yield savings accounts with a rate of up to 3.00% APY. Varo also comes with perks like cash back from select retailers.
Free; optional tips, fast delivery fees, and subscription fees
8 hours to 3 days
Free; optional tips
Instant to 2 business days
Free; $3.99-$4.99 fee for faster delivery
Instant to 5 business days
Same day to 1 business day
Free; optional tips
Instant to 1 business day
Employees of large employers
Instant to 48 hours
What is a cash advance app?
Also sometimes known as a paycheck advance, a cash advance app allows borrowers to access money in advance of a paycheck. It’s typically a better alternative to payday lenders for borrowers facing an emergency financial situation or who live from paycheck to paycheck and need access to quick cash.
How can I access money in an emergency?
Because of their generally low cost, cash advance apps are a viable way to access cash during an emergency. Whether you have an unexpected car repair, medical bill, or just need help to make ends meet, a cash advance from one of these apps can help to tide you over until payday. Other options for borrowing during a financial emergency include payday alternative loans from a credit union and putting expenses on a credit card.
How much does a cash advance from an app cost?
Some cash advances are free, but others charge fees. While these fees are generally small, they account for a sizable APR, especially when compared with other financial products, like credit cards or personal loans.
Why you should (or shouldn’t) use a cash advance app
In general, a cash advance app is only a good choice if you’re short on cash and have poor credit. If you’re not able to access credit cards, personal loans, or other similar financial products, a cash advance from one of these apps is a much more favorable alternative to a short-term loan like a payday loan or title loan. Some cash advances also come attached to online bank accounts, so customers can automatically take advantage of them without paying any extra fees.
That said, if you have good credit and need help funding an emergency expense, there are other options available. Paying for an expense with a credit card or a personal loan may be less expensive in some cases. Cash advance amounts are also typically under $500, so a higher personal loan amount might be a better fit for borrowers with big expenses.
If you’re still a week or two from payday and need access to cash fast, a cash advance from a cash advance app allows you to borrow against your future paycheck to cover current expenses. While this can be a welcome lifeline when you’re in a tight financial spot, you should avoid relying on cash advances when possible. If you continually use cash advances to cover expenses, you may get stuck in a cycle of borrowing from yourself only to need that money down the line. If possible, you should work to build up a financial safety net to have funds to spare in case of an emergency.
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