Cleo cash advance app review

Lets you access between $20 and $100 at a time, but watch out for high fees.

Cleo may work for users who want budgeting, credit-building tools and smaller cash advances. Choose something else if you want to borrow more than $100 at a time or don’t want to pay membership fees.

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Details

Product NameCleo
Max. Amount$100

Pros

  • No credit check required
  • No interest on cash advances
  • Tools to help you save money and build credit

Cons

  • Maximum $100 cash advance amount
  • $5.99 monthly membership fee
  • $3.99 express transfer fee
  • Three to four business days for regular transfers

Our take on Cleo

Cleo is best for people who want a budgeting app that offers a range of tools to help you break habits and “spend smarter.” It offers monthly financial targets based on your spending and shows where you’re spending your cash. It also offers an “AI assistant” to help you stay on track.

However, its cash advance feature is limited. You can only borrow a maximum of $100 at a time, which is low compared to apps like Dave or Earnin, which let you borrow up to $250 or $500 per pay period, respectively. And if you’re new to Cleo, you can only borrow between $20 and $70 until you establish a payment history.

Then there’s fees to consider: Cleo charges $5.99 a month which gives you access to cash advances that take up to four business days to hit your bank account. If you need same-day cash, Cleo charges a $3.99 express fee. Brigit, for example, also charges a high monthly fee, but you can borrow up to $250 and get instant transfers for free — making it more economical if you do a lot of instant transfers.

What this means is, you may end up paying more to use Cleo than other apps. If you’re after higher cash advance amounts or want more value for your money, you may want to compare other cash advance options.

Cleo overview

Cleo is an app that allows you to access up to $100 at a time between repayments. It offers two service levels:

  • A free plan that gives you access to Cleo’s Personal Financial Management Services.
  • The Cleo Plus $5.99 monthly plan that provides transfers up to $100 after you establish a payment history.

With Cleo, you pick a repayment date which can be between three and 14 days after you borrow money and pay Cleo back on your chosen repayment date through the app.

Features

  • Borrow up to $100
  • Membership costs $5.99 a month
  • Express transfers cost $3.99
  • Funding typically in three to four business days

Requirements

To use Cleo, you need a linked bank account or debit card that the company uses to deduct your monthly membership fee from. Cleo uses Plaid to connect to your bank account. The list of supported banks can be found in the Plaid app.

Other services

Cleo offers a range of budgeting and credit-building tools, including:

  • Cleo Personal Financial Management Services. Gives you insights into your spending habits to help you budget and save money.
  • Cleo Wallet Services. A place to put money aside, either manually or automatically. It’s not a savings account and doesn’t pay interest.
  • Budget Management. Links to your bank account to alert you about upcoming bills and other expenses. This can help you avoid overdraft fees.
  • Credit Builder. This $14.99 a month service gives you a secured Credit Builder card. Spend on the card and Cleo reports your activity to Experian, Equifax and Transunion to help build your credit score. You can also get a small amount of cash back on your purchases.

Cleo reviews and complaints

Cleo gets mostly positive reviews on Trustpilot from thousands of reviewers, but recent reviews are mixed. Satisfied customers report liking the app, but don’t provide much detail on what they like about the service. A few customers report enjoying receiving humorous comments from the app.

Less happy customers complain about the $5.99 subscription fee, claiming that it’s too high for what they get in return. Some customers mention that they were unhappy about being charged the membership fee before they received any cash advances.

Cleo isn’t registered with the BBB and has a poor business rating for how it’s handled a handful of complaints over the past few years. A couple of BBB customers complain of not being able to access funds from their Cleo Wallet or errors with debit card balances.

Is Cleo legit?

Yes — though no app can guarantee your information stays 100% safe. Cleo uses Plaid to connect to your bank account, and states that its customers’ banking details are handled by SaltEdge. SaltEdge is compliant with PCI DSS requirements — the credit card security standard used by all major banks — and uses credential tokenization and encryption to protect customer data.

Its privacy policy outlines what kinds of information it collects, how it’s used and whether it’s shared. See Cleo’s privacy policy for more information.

Cleo app vs. payday loans

Cleo provides cash, but that’s where its similarities to a payday loan ends. Here’s how the two stack up:

Cleo cash advancePayday loans
Borrowing amount$100Typically up to $1,000, and most states allow only one at a time
Turnaround time3 to 4 business daysUsually next business day
Application processMobile app signup that requires connection to bank accountOnline application, typically requires Social Security number and bank account numbers
Costs$5.99 monthly membership fee
$3.99 for express transfers
Fee of $15 to $25 per $100 borrowed
State availabilityAnywhere in the USProhibited in some states

Is Cleo worth it?

If you only need cash advances for small amounts and like using Cleo’s different budgeting tools, it may be worth paying the $5.99 monthly membership fee. But other apps may offer higher cash advances and lower fees than Cleo.

But compared to predatory payday loans — which charge extremely high interest rates and fees — Cleo is likely a cheaper option since it doesn’t charge any interest on any balances owed.

Compare Cleo to other cash advance apps

Compare even more cash advance apps to find the right one for your lifestyle and budgeting needs. View maximum loan amounts, turnaround times and applicable costs and fees.

1 - 0 of 0
Name Product Filter Values Max. amount per pay period Turnaround time Costs
Brigit
$250
1 to 3 days or same-day in some circumstances
$9.99 monthly membership fee
Have up to $250 automatically deposited into your account — for a $9.99 membership fee.
Possible Finance Mobile Installment Loans
$500
As fast as 1 business day
Rates vary by state, though you’ll likely be charged around $15 or $20 per $100 borrowed.
Borrow up to $500 with just a few swipes — but only for residents of 21 states.
MoneyLion Instacash advances
$250, $300 with RoarMoney account
3 to 5 business days to external checking account, 12 to 48 hours to RoarMoney account
$29 monthly fee if you have a Plus membership
Fee-free, interest-free cash advances up to $250.
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