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8 Best cash advance apps to cover you until payday

8 cash advance apps that can offer quick cash in an emergency.

Cash advance apps are a convenient way to borrow small amounts of money before payday – typically between $20 to $500. Unlike other types of loans, cash advance apps don’t charge interest. Instead, you pay a monthly fee or tip to use the service, although some apps are free. This generally makes them cheaper than payday and installment loans which may charge APRs of 700% and up.

Best cash advance apps

Here are 8 of the best apps to help you make it to payday.

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  • 15+ cash advance products reviewed by our team of experts
  • 20+ years of combined experience covering financial topics

We're big on editorial independence. That means our content, reviews and ratings are fair, accurate and trustworthy. We don't let advertisers or partners sway our opinions. Our financial experts put in the hard work, spending hours researching and analyzing hundreds of products based on data-driven methodologies to find the best accounts and providers for you. Explore our editorial guidelines to see how we work.

Best overall: Earnin

EarnIn

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Earnin is a free app that lets you borrow $100 a day – or more with an EarnIn Card – up to $750 of the money you've earned each pay period – with no monthly or other mandatory fees. With Earnin, your advance amount depends on the hours you've worked, which you can verify in a few different ways.

While no fees or tipping are required to use Earnin, you need to provide a work schedule, a work email address or GPS earnings so Earnin can view what you've made. Normal transfer times are one business day or within minutes if you use Earnin's Lightning Speed service — which costs up to $4.99 per transfer.

  • Available in all states

Best for gig workers: Cleo

Cleo

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Cleo is an AI-powered budgeting and cash advance app that could work well for gig workers and freelancers. The reason is that unlike other cash advance apps, you don't need to show a minimum amount of recurring deposits to qualify for cash advances.

As long as you have consistent income, you could qualify for cash advances up to $250 after you establish an income history. To get advances through Cleo, you'll need to pay a monthly subscription fee of $5.99 and same-day transfers cost an additional $3.99.

  • Available in all states

Best for overdraft feature: Chime SpotMe

Chime SpotMe®

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Chime SpotMe is a no-fee service offered through Chime that allows overdrafts of up to $200 for your Chime Checking account. To qualify for an advance, you need to have at least $200 direct deposited into your Chime checking account every month.

Limits also start at a low $20 — but with regular deposits and a solid account history, this limit can increase to $200. And if you receive your paycheck via direct deposit to your Chime Checking Account, you can get your paycheck up to two days early.

  • Available in all states
Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC. Direct deposit: Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date. SpotMe: Chime SpotMe is an optional, no fee service that requires a single deposit of $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to the Chime Checking Account each at least once every 34 days. All qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their account up to $20 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals initially, but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on member’s Chime Account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. Your limit will be displayed to you within the Chime mobile app. You will receive notice of any changes to your limit. Your limit may change at any time, at Chime’s discretion. Although there are no overdraft fees, there may be out-of-network or third party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe won’t cover non-debit card transactions, including ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. See Terms and Conditions.

Best for building a portfolio: Albert

Albert

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Albert is a different kind of cash advance app. In addition to offering cash advances up to $250 per pay period, it packs a mix of saving, investing and budgeting tools that can help you save. One of these is a feature called Genius that uses AI and human support to answer a range of financial questions.

Just enter a few details about your financial goals, and Genius will build a custom investment portfolio for you. You can also ask questions about credit cards, student loans and insurance. But the Genius service costs $14.99 a month, and you must sign up for Genius to qualify for cash advances.

  • Available in all states

Best for payment flexibility: Brigit

Brigit

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Brigit is a financial app that has a free and paid subscription. To get cash advances up to $250 per pay period, you must sign up for one of two paid plans: Plus or Premium. Both offer cash advances and payment extensions, but Premium gives you access to free instant transfers and Brigit's credit builder program.

To request a payment extension, select the extend repayment option in the app, then select a date that works for you. Repayment extensions are available to users with at least two consecutive on-time payments before the request. You can store up to three payment extensions for use later.

  • Available in all states

Best for low fees: Dave

Dave ExtraCash

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Dave is a banking app that offers cash advances of up to $500 every pay period. For $1 a month, Dave transfers funds to your bank account within three business days. For same-day transfers, you'll need to pay from $3 to $25, depending on how much you borrow and where the money is sent – to your Dave Spending account or an external debit card.

Dave can also help you better track your finances: It notifies you when you're about to run out of funds and has an automatic budgeting feature so you can see your upcoming bills.

  • Available in all states

Best for larger cash advances: MoneyLion

MoneyLion Instacash advances

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MoneyLion offers no-fee cash advances up to $500, depending on your direct deposit activity and the services you sign up for. You can qualify up to $700 of your paycheck per pay period if you sign up for its CreditCredit Builder Plus program for $19.99 a month. And you may qualify for up to $1,000 if you set up direct deposit to a RoarMoney account.

MoneyLion also offers a suite of products, including an investment account and a crypto trading feature. The MoneyLion app gets mostly positive reviews on Trustpilot, but some customers have complained about glitches with the app on Google Play.

  • Available in: Alabama, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Best for budget planning: ONE@Work

ONE@Work

Read review

ONE@Work, formerly Even, is an employer sponsored financial app that offers free advances on wages you've already earned through its Instapay feature. As long as your employer has configured Instapay as an employee benefit, it's free to get instant advances. Otherwise, you may have to wait longer or pay a fee to get an instant advance.

While you must work for an eligible employer to use it, ONE@Work lets you access up to 50% of your earned income so you don't have to wait until payday. It also helps you stick to a budget by alerting you about upcoming bills and how much you need for them.

  • Available in all states

Methodology: How we chose the best cash advance apps

Our team of loan experts looked at 16+ cash advance apps before narrowing it down to the best eight. We also regularly review and update our selections to make sure our picks are the best in the market and best suited for their categories.

Each app is weighed across 10 key metrics: Borrowing limits, monthly subscription fees, turnaround time, transfer fees, tip requirements, ease of use, state availability, additional financial features, ease of verifying accounts and overdraft protection features. We also consider customer reviews and BBB accreditation.

APRs you pay on a $100 payday loan

The APRs on cash advance apps vary widely, depending on how you use them. To help you compare apples to apples, here are the approximate APRs you’ll pay on a $100 instant transfer cash advance with a 14-day repayment period.

APRs on a $100 loan with a 14-day repayment period (instant transfer fee & monthly membership price included).

Cash app providerNormal transfer timeInstant transfer feeAPRDevices
Earnin1 to 2 business days$1.99 to $4.99104.02%iPhone, Android
CleoUp to 4 business days$3.99260.19%iPhone, Android
Albert2-3 days$6.99 instant transfer fee
+
$14.99/month membership
573.04%iPhone, Android, web
Brigit1-3 days$0.99 to $3.99 instant transfer fee
+
$9.99/month membership
Or
$14.99/month membership that includes free instant transfers
195.40%iPhone, Android
MoneyLionUp to 5 business days$1.99 to $8.99234.38%iPhone, Android, web
DaveUp to 3 business days$5 to $25130.35%+iPhone, Android
ONE@WorkImmediatelyFree, when employer has enabled this benefit0%iPhone, Android

Remember: If you don’t need your funds the same day, APRs can be as low as 0% since some providers, like MoneyLion or Earnin, don’t charge monthly fees. But if you see yourself taking out frequent same-day cash advances, you can save money by choosing an app with low instant transfer fees.

Pros and cons of cash apps

Compared to payday and installment loans, which can be predatory and charge sky-high interest rates exceeding 700% or more – cash apps are a cheaper alternative to borrowing money.

Here are the main pros and cons of using a cash app.

Pros

  • No interest or finance fees charged. Unlike payday, installment and personal loans, cash apps don’t charge interest or finance fees.
  • Low or no fees. Most cash apps come with nominal fees, usually between $1 and $10 per month. Some charge no fees and only require you to pay for optional instant transfers.
  • No credit check. Unlike most loans, cash apps don’t require a credit check and have no minimum credit score to qualify. This is great if you have bad credit or no credit history.
  • Overdraft protection. Many cash apps monitor your bank balance and will alert you or send funds automatically if you’re at risk of an overdraft.
  • Good for emergencies. A cash app is generally a cheaper way to access small amounts of cash than using a credit card advance or in-store payday loan, which typically costs $10 to $30 per $100 borrowed.

Cons

  • Low amounts. Most apps only lend up to $250 per pay period. This is fine for smaller expenses like fuel but won’t cover major ones like car repairs.
  • Transfers can take a few days. Most cash apps offer free transfers, but they can take a few days. To get cash sooner, you typically have to pay a fee. Brigit is one app that allows free instant transfers with a linked bank account.
  • May overdraft your account. Cash apps deduct money from your bank account to repay your cash advance, which could cause an overdraft if you’re not careful.
  • Can feel invasive. Cash apps require a link to your bank account to monitor your direct deposits, and some require you to upload your work schedule or enable GPS tracking to verify you’re at work.
  • May lead to dependency. Repeatedly borrowing against your paycheck can lead to poor financial habits that discourage you from spending wisely.

Are cash apps payday lenders?

Cash apps are not payday and installment lenders. Payday lenders and the like are known for charging mega-high rates, often exceeding 700% APR or more. Cash apps never charge interest on what you borrow — and you only borrow against your future earnings, which can help keep you out of a cycle of debt.

How cash advance apps work

Cash advance apps analyze your finances and offer cash advances of varying amounts — anywhere from $20 to $500 and up. How much you can borrow typically depends on a mix of the following factors:

  • Direct deposit history
  • Minimum bank balance
  • Number of hours worked
  • Spending habits
  • Upcoming bills

How to find the best loan app

Here are six considerations when choosing a cash advance app:

  1. Customer reviews. Online reviews on Google Play, the App Store and Trustpilot are great places to get a sense of real-life customer experiences as well as how easy or difficult it is to qualify for advances and receive money.
  2. Fees. Compare monthly fees, tipping requirements and instant transfer fees. For example, if you do a lot of instant transfers, you’re better off with an app that charges $3.99 per instant transfer versus one that charges $11.99 per transfer.
  3. Cash advance limits. Apps vary widely in how much you can borrow, with limits ranging anywhere from $20 to $500 and up. To get higher advance amounts, you need to set up direct deposit and establish a history of regular deposits.
  4. Repayment requirements. Most apps automatically deduct what you owe from your next paycheck, but some apps, like Brigit, allow you to change or extend your repayment due date if you need more time. This can be helpful if you’re worried about overdrafts.
  5. Employer requirements. Most apps don’t require you to work for a specific employer, but apps like Even, Payactiv, FlexWage and Branch require that your employer supports the app.
  6. Security and hacks. While no app provider is 100% secure, most use 256-bit encryption and adhere to PCI DSS standards – the same used by all major banks. But hacks and data breaches can occur on cash advance apps.

Compare cash advance apps

Start by choosing your state of residence to see providers in your area. Then narrow down your options by turnaround time, costs and more to find the best for your budget and financial goals. Select Compare for up to four products to see their benefits side by side.

Name Product Filter Values Max. amount per pay period Turnaround time Costs
Chime SpotMe®
Not rated yet
Chime SpotMe®
Up to $200
Same day
No fee
Access fee-free overdrafts up to $200 when eligible. Plus get your paycheck up to 2 days early with direct deposit. See Chime terms and conditions.
EarnIn
Not rated yet
EarnIn
Get up to $100 per day or $750 per pay period.
1 to 3 business days, or same-day for a fee
Free to use or $3.99 for Lightning Speed transfers.
No mandatory fees, no interest, and no credit checks. Subject to EarnIn terms & conditions
Cleo
Not rated yet
Cleo
Up to $250
3 to 4 days standard transfer. Same day with $3.99 express fee.
$5.99 monthly membership fee to access cash advances
Automatically monitor your spending plus access cash advances up to $100 at a time.
Albert
Not rated yet
Albert
Up to $250
2–3 business days or instant for a fee
$14.99 monthly subscription to access overdraft protection
Get up to $250 overdraft protection if you sign up for Albert's banking app.
Brigit
Not rated yet
Brigit
Up to $250
1 to 3 business days or instantly with a fee
$8.99 monthly membership fee, up to $3.99 in express fees
Have up to $250 automatically deposited into your account — for a $8.99 membership fee.
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Should I use a cash advance app?

You might be a good candidate for a cash advance app if:

  • You receive a biweekly paycheck that doesn’t align with your monthly billing cycle.
  • You regularly find yourself overdrafting your account and paying hefty fees.
  • You’re willing to pay extra for services that can improve your personal finances, such as credit-building programs.
  • You rarely need to borrow more than $250 per pay period.
  • You currently have bad credit or no credit history.

You want to avoid a cash advance app if you have trouble maintaining a positive bank balance due to overdraft fees.

If you’re self-employed and don’t think you’ll be eligible for a cash advance app, read our guide to getting a loan while self-employed. Those who just started a new job or have a job offer, consider your options as a new employee.

What if I can’t pay back my cash app advance?

If you can’t pay back your advance, your bank account will likely be overdrawn, leading to an overdraft fee. However, some apps, like Brigit, may let you change your due date if you foresee being unable to repay on time. You’ll want to stay on top of your bank balance to make sure you don’t end up paying overdraft fees on your cash app loan.

Alternatives to cash advance apps

Cash advance apps can’t help in every situation. If you have irregular paychecks or need to borrow higher amounts, you may want to look into these alternatives:

  • Ask your employer for an advance. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, your employer is a logical place to ask for help. If it’s a one-time situation, HR may be willing to help by advancing part of your paycheck.
  • Consider a loan from a CDFI. You may be able to get a small-dollar, short-term loan at a lower cost than from a payday lender by going through a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). These are typically local banks or credit unions that serve low-income or rural areas.
  • Compare alternative short-term lenders. While more expensive than a personal loan from a bank, providers like LendUp offer short-term loans at a lower cost than payday lenders, with a chance to build your credit.
  • Take out a personal loan. If you’re willing to borrow at least $500, check out Monevo to choose the best offer from several lenders that meet your needs.
  • Take out a credit card cash advance. If you have enough credit available, you can consider getting cash from an ATM in an emergency. Cash advance rates run high, so have a plan to pay it off sooner than later. Consider a card like the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card that offers a lower than average cash advance rate.
  • Get a payday loan — as a last resort. If you’ve exhausted other options, payday lenders can get you cash as soon as the same day. But beware — a typical $375 payday loan comes with $520 in fees, and borrowers can stay in debt for as long as 11 months. Consider OppLoans for lower rates.
  • Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) apps. While not a cash advance, BNPL apps let you purchase items you need and pay them off later. Choose from the best BNPL apps for cash-free purchases today.

Compare local resources and more payday loan alternatives to explore more alternative funding options.

Need cash right away?

A handful of cash advance apps can get you funds within minutes or 24 hours or allow for instant cash pickup at storefront locations. But not all cash advance apps have an instant turnaround time — it may take up to three business days unless you pay an instant transfer fee.

And keep in mind that “instant loans” usually come as a paycheck advance, which means they may only be available to users with a history of regular direct deposits. For example, it may require direct deposits from the same source for 60 days before you’re eligible for advances.

FAQs

Do cash advance apps charge interest?

No, cash advance apps don’t charge interest. However, some apps charge monthly subscription fees and instant transfer fees which can result in relatively high equivalent APRs, depending on how much you borrow and how soon you have to pay back the advance.

Can I get a cash advance if I’m a new user?

Yes, several cash advance apps may let you borrow money right away, but you likely won’t qualify for the maximum amount until you’ve established an income history with the app, which could take several weeks.

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