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Apps like MoneyLion

MoneyLion is a solid pay advance app — but there are multiple cheaper ways to access your paycheck.

You won’t go wrong with MoneyLion if you use all of its membership features and need frequent advances. But for many, it’s not the most cost-efficient option out there. These six apps offer the same service for much less — but you’ll have fewer additional features to access.

6 top apps like MoneyLion

MoneyLion is certainly an expensive choice with a monthly membership fee of $29 — or $348 a year. These alternatives offer similar services and advance amounts, but the membership fees are $10 or less. And some don’t even have a membership fee to factor into the cost.

  1. For frequent borrowers: Brigit
  2. For advances on full paychecks: B9
  3. For no fees: Earnin
  4. For users without a bank account: Branch
  5. For low monthly fees: Dave
  6. For financial planning: Even

For frequent borrowers: Brigit

Brigit

Brigit is one of the more expensive pay advance apps out there — but it's still less expensive than MoneyLion. The monthly membership fee is $9.99, around $120 per year, and it gives you access to up to $250 every pay period.

Brigit also has some of the most flexible repayment options on the market: Extend your due date up to three times. And instant delivery is available for free. Most apps, including MoneyLion, charge an additional fee for same-day advances.

  • Available in all states
Pros
  • Built-in overdraft protection
  • Credit builder loans also available
  • No fee for instant advance
Cons
  • Monthly fee of $9.99
  • Monthly income of $1,500 or more required
Loan amountUp to $250
Interest rate typeFixed
Loan TermVaries
Turnaround time1 to 3 days or same-day in some circumstances

For advances on full paychecks: B9

B9 pay advance app

B9 is the only pay advance app that lets you access 100% of your paycheck. But unlike MoneyLion, an account isn't optional.

You'll need to set up a checking account and have deposits of at least $500 a month to qualify — on top of the $4.99 monthly fee. But instant turnaround is free, so it's a good choice if you need quick access to your paycheck.

  • Available in all states
Pros
  • Relatively low monthly membership fee
  • No fee for instant advance
  • Nonresidents may qualify
Cons
  • B9 checking account required
  • Limited additional features
Loan amountUp to 100% of your paycheck
Interest rate typeFixed
Loan TermNot Stated
Turnaround timeInstant

For no monthly fee: Earnin

Earnin

Earnin was one of the first pay advance apps on the market, and it still offers one of the better deals: Advances up to $500, depending on your monthly income.

Unlike MoneyLion and most other pay advance apps, there is no monthly fee. Instead, you'll be asked to tip $0 to $14 — which means you may qualify for a free advance. But you will need to work for an eligible employer, and same-day funding is only available if your bank account qualifies for Earnin's Lightning Speed program.

  • Available in all states
Pros
  • Large advances up to $500
  • Optional tipping
  • No monthly membership fees
Cons
  • Tracks location and time sheet
  • Must work for eligible employer
Loan amountUp to $500
Interest rate typeFixed
Loan TermVaries
Turnaround time2 to 3 days, or instant with Lightning Speed

For users without a bank account: Branch

Branch

If you don't have a bank account, Branch may be the best choice to get an advance. But it works directly with your employer, so you'll need to work for an eligible company to qualify. Otherwise, you'll be put on a wait list.

But best of all, Branch also works with contractors. So if you get a 1099, not a W2, you may still be able to get an advance on the money you've already earned. Apps like MoneyLion typically don't offer this option.

  • Available in all states
Pros
  • Large advances up to $500
  • No membership fee
  • No bank account required
Cons
  • Employer must use Branch
  • Potential three-day turnaround
  • Must work for eligible employer
Loan amountUp to $500
Interest rate typeFixed
Loan TermVaries
Turnaround timeAs early as same business day

For low monthly fee: Dave

Dave

Dave is significantly less expensive than MoneyLion. Its monthly fee is only $1, and the instant delivery option is the same as MoneyLion's — $4.99 for an advance as soon as you request it.

The biggest downside is how limited the advance is. Dave only offers $100 to its users. Most apps offer $250 or more.

However, Dave also monitors your transaction history and is designed to cover overdrafts. So if you just need a little bit every once in a while, it may be the least expensive option around.

  • Available in all states
Pros
  • $1 monthly membership fee
  • Same-day turnaround available
Cons
  • Low maximum advance of $100
  • Potential three-day turnaround
Loan amountUp to $500
Interest rate typeFixed
Loan TermVaries
Turnaround timeSame business day to 3 business days

For financial planning: Even

Even

Even is a financial planning app that also offers advances on your paycheck — provided you work for an eligible employer. While it does have free options, Instapay is only available if you opt for the $8 premium membership. And there's no set upper limit on how much you can have advanced.

For people who earn larger paychecks, 50% can be a significant chunk of change. But for those who earn less, you may not have access to much, especially if you borrow early into your pay period.

  • Available in all states
Pros
  • Variety of financial planning tools available
  • Access up to 50% of your paycheck
  • Instant cash pickup at Walmart
Cons
  • $8 monthly membership fee
  • Must work for eligible employer
Loan amount50% of paycheck
Interest rate typeFixed
Loan TermVaries
Turnaround timeSame day

MoneyLion is still a great all-around option

MoneyLion offers checking accounts and other financial features like credit builder loans. But unlike similar options, including Chime and Varo, you don’t need an account with MoneyLion to qualify for an advance. It will mean borrowing less — but it’s that added flexibility that make MoneyLion really stand out.

However, it’s still the most expensive option. If you don’t need frequent access to your paycheck, or don’t need the other features MoneyLion offers, stick with an app that doesn’t charge such a high monthly membership fee.

Pros

  • MoneyLion checking account not required
  • Other banking and financial services available
  • No credit check
  • Midsize advance of up to $250

Cons

  • Instant advances cost $3.99 to $4.99
  • $29 monthly membership fee

Avoid payday loans and installment loans

Other websites frequently list lenders that offer payday loans and installment loans as viable alternatives to MoneyLion. But because of their high cost — sometimes excessive fees that equal an APR of 300% or higher — they can lead to a cycle of debt.

Instead, pay advance apps like MoneyLion rely on the money you actually earn. This means you won’t qualify if you don’t have enough to repay the advance with your next paycheck. So even those that charge a fee are typically less expensive, and less predatory, than payday loans.

There are alternatives to payday loans you may qualify for if you’re experiencing financial hardship. Turn to these before you borrow and only use payday and installment loans as a last resort.

And of course, learn more about how pay advance apps work before you sign up for MoneyLion or one of its alternatives.

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