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Apps like Kora

Compare student-friendly alternatives for small-dollar loans and cash advances.

Kora is one of the only loan and money management apps made specifically for college students. Students and recent graduates can take out loans from $25 to $3,000 even if they don’t have a credit history. It’s best for college students who need quick funds for things like gas, textbooks or groceries, and can make monthly repayments from a steady income source — either from parents or a part-time job.

But rates are higher than other personal loans, ranging from 15.99% to 35.99% APR and terms up to 12 months. It also isn’t available in all states. Consider these alternatives if you’re looking for more widely available or lower-cost financing.

Our 6 top picks for apps like KoraCash

  • For regular advances while building credit: Brigit
  • For a one-time advance: MoneyLion
  • For small cash advances building a portfolio: Albert
  • For advances and budgeting: Cleo
  • For a full paycheck advance: B9
  • For hourly workers: Even

Alternative for regular advances: Brigit


Brigit is a financial wellness app that offers advances on your next paycheck up to $250 with no credit score requirements. While this amount is less than what KoraMoney offers, Brigit doesn't charge any interest or fees on what you borrow.

But to qualify for an advance, you must subscribe to the service, which costs $9.99 a month. There's also a fee for same-day transfers if you need the money fast.

This makes it best for students and recent graduates who regularly need funds to hold them between paychecks. The monthly fee also covers a range of other services, such as budgeting tools, credit builder loans, identity theft protection and service to monitor your bank account and send auto advances to prevent overdrafts.

  • Available in all states
  • No interest or fees for advances
  • Credit-builder and budgeting programs included in paid subscription
  • Up to $1 million in identity-theft protection
  • $9.99 monthly subscription fee
  • Advances limited to $250 each pay period
  • Customers mention it's hard to cancel the service
Loan amountUp to $250
Interest rate typeFixed
Loan TermVaries
Turnaround time1 to 3 days or same-day in some circumstances

Alternative for one-time advances: MoneyLion

MoneyLion Instacash advances

MoneyLion is a mobile banking app that offers free cash advances from $50 to $500. The advance amount you qualify for depends on your direct deposit activity — and you can potentially increase this amount to $1,000 by setting up direct deposit to a linked RoarMoney account.

But it's more than a cash advance app. MoneyLion offers a range of banking products that may appeal to students, like an investment account and a financial planning service. And while MoneyLion advertises that its service is free, you'll pay extra for instant advances.

  • Available in: Alabama, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming
  • Potentially borrow up to $1,000
  • No fees and no obligation to tip
  • Round Up investing feature can help you save
  • Regular funding takes 24 to 48 hours
  • Instant delivery costs between $1.99 and $8.99
  • Pattern of customer complaints
Loan amount$50 - $500
Interest rate typeFixed
Loan TermVaries
Turnaround time3 to 5 business days to external checking account, 12 to 48 hours to RoarMoney account

Alternative for building a portfolio: Albert


Albert is a financial management app that offers cash advances up to $250. What makes it different is its Genius feature. Genius is an AI-driven, human-backed service that can help you build an investment portfolio — simply by sharing a few details.

However, Albert enrolls all new users into a 30-day free trial, and many users have complained that it was difficult to cancel. If you don't, Alberts charges you $8 to $16 a month for the feature.

Like other cash advance apps, Albert doesn't charge interest on what you borrow, and repayment comes out of your next paycheck. And while there's no membership fee, there is a fee for instant transfers.

  • Available in all states
  • Investment help built in
  • Paid membership not required
  • No late fees or inactivity fees
  • Automatic enrollment in paid membership
  • Ongoing customer complaints
  • No customer service phone number
  • Instant transfer fees not listed
Loan amountUp to $250
Interest rate typeFixed
Loan TermVaries
Turnaround time2 to 3 days

Alternative for budgeting: Cleo


Cleo is a budgeting app that offers a range of tools it claims can help you “spend smarter.” Based on your spending habits, it provides monthly financial targets and pinpoints where you spend the most cash. It also offers an AI assistant to help you stay on budget.

But its cash advance feature is limited to a maximum of $100 at a time, which is relatively low, even for a cash advance app. It's also on the pricey side: Cleo charges $5.99 a month, plus $4 for each express transfer. Due to the cost, it's best for students who like its quirky AI assistant feature.

  • Available in all states
  • No credit check required
  • No interest on cash advances
  • Can help you save money and build credit
  • Three to four business days for regular transfers
  • $5.99 monthly membership fee
  • $4 express transfer fee
Loan amount$20 - $100
Interest rate typeFixed
Loan TermVaries

Alternative for a full paycheck advance: B9

B9 pay advance app

Unlike most cash apps that have a limit on how much they'll advance, B9 offers up to 100% of your paycheck up to 15 days before you get paid. B9 has two membership plans: $9.99 for transfers up to $300 and $19.99 for transfers up to 100% of your paycheck.

While more expensive than other apps, you may find getting an entire paycheck two weeks early worth the cost as long as you regularly use it. It also may be a good option for international students, since it only requires an ITIN, not an SSN. Like other cash advance apps, you have to establish your income and direct deposit history with B9 before you can receive a full advance.

  • Available in all states
  • Access 100% of your paycheck
  • Advances available 15 days before your paycheck
  • No tips required
  • $9.99 or $19.99 monthly membership fee
  • Not all borrowers will qualify for full advance
  • Advances are based on your direct deposit and spending activity
Loan amountUp to $500
Interest rate typeFixed
Loan TermNot Stated
Turnaround timeInstant

Alternative for hourly workers: Even


Even is a payday cash advance app that offers free advances on up to 50% of the wages you've already earned through its Instapay feature. To access Instapay, your employer must be partnered with Even and you must subscribe to Even's premium service — called Even Plus — which costs $8 a month.

Depending on your paycheck amount, you could potentially borrow more with Even than with other apps. Even also has built-in budgeting tools that alert you to upcoming bills and set aside funds for them. These features can help you stay on top of your finances and avoid late fees or overdrafts.

  • Available in all states
  • Lets you access up to 50% of your paycheck
  • Same-day money available at Walmart
  • Alerts you to upcoming bills
  • Employer must be partnered with Even
  • Advance limited to wages you've already earned
  • Requires an $8 monthly Plus membership
Loan amount50% of paycheck
Interest rate typeFixed
Loan TermVaries
Turnaround timeSame day

How does KoraCash compare?

KoraCash is unique among money apps for two reasons: One, it’s geared specifically towards currently enrolled or graduated students. And two, it offers a short-term loan with interest instead of a free cash advance that you pay off on your next payday.

But compared to most cash advance apps, you can potentially access a higher amount with KoraCash — up to $3,000 — and you’ll pay interest on what you borrow. Most cash advance apps top out at $250 or $500 — unless you use one that lets you advance your full paycheck, like B9.

But despite its higher cost, KoraCash may work better for students who don’t have a regular job to draw funds against — and genuinely need a loan they can repay over time. Plus, it’s still cheaper than a payday installment loan, which can charge APRs over 300%. Read our review of KoraCash for more details. Or, weigh the pros and cons.


  • Quick funding
  • Many positive user reviews
  • Available to international students
  • Helps build a credit history


  • Interest rates can hit 35.99% APR
  • More expensive than cash apps
  • Not available in all states

More alternatives to KoraCash

We didn’t include payday and installment loans as alternatives to KoraCash because they come with high rates and fees that often make it difficult to repay the loan on time.

While payday loans are designed for one-time emergency expenses, about 70% of borrowers use them for recurring costs like utilities and bills, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Most payday loan borrowers stay in debt for at least 11 months. A typical $375 payday loan comes with $520 in fees because of repeat borrowing, a Federal Reserve study found.

Our payday loan alternatives guide explains why you should generally avoid payday loans except for emergencies. Instead of using payday loans, cash advance apps are a cheaper way to borrow money without getting into a cycle of debt.

But if you’re not keen on having a cash app monitor your bank account for deposits and otherwise keep tabs on your finances, you can consider these other options:

  • Credit card advances. While expensive, credit card advances are a quick and convenient way to draw money from your credit card at an ATM or bank. Expect to pay between 3% and 4% on the amount advanced or a $10 fee per advance.
  • Personal loans. Some lenders, like Laurel Road, offer personal loans to students, although you’ll need to have good credit and a regular source of income or be studying in a special field, like medicine. You can also qualify with a cosigner.

For more borrowing options, see our guide on loans for 18-year-olds to find and compare lenders willing to work with students.

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