Empower cash advance review

Solid option for those with Empower memberships. May not be a good fit for everyone else.

Bottom line: Empower offers cash advances up to $250 — with an option to get your money on the same day at no extra cost. But negative customer reviews and strict eligibility requirements may not appeal to all borrowers.

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Same-day turnaround available

Turnaround time

Details

Product NameEmpower cash advance
Loan TermVaries
Turnaround TimeSame-day turnaround available
RequirementsEmpower checking account for at least 60 days, at least three deposits from same employer, monthly income of $1,000+, maintain account balance of $100
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Review by


Kellye Guinan is a seasoned financial writer with over 500 articles under her belt spanning all things loans from auto to personal to business and everything in between. With four years in the field and five years of research experience, she's able to make complex personal finance decisions easier for anyone to tackle. When she's not up to her knees learning about the latest trends in lending, she spends her time improving her own financial literacy and expertise — and maintaining a Duolingo streak of over 1,300 days.

Expert review

Empower is a good option for people who are relatively financially stable but need a small boost every now and again. Its cash advance option starts at $50, but with an Empower checking account and a history of on-time payments, you could borrow up to $250. However, there are plenty of complaints about Empower’s customer service — and some have had trouble with their bank accounts.

Because you need to sign up for direct deposit and switch banks to qualify for the full amount, you may want to check out other payday advance options before downloading the app.

Pros

  • Same-day delivery to an Empower checking account
  • No fees or interest payments
  • No credit check
  • Automatic repayment on next payday

Cons

  • Monthly fee of $8
  • Must have a bank account for at least 60 days
  • Self-employed income may not count
  • Mixed customer reviews

How Empower works: Fees, features and requirements

Empower is a relatively simple cash advance app — but requirements to qualify for the full $250 advance are strict.

Fees

  • Maximum withdrawal. $250
  • Cost. $8 monthly membership fee
  • Turnaround. Same-day turnaround available

Features

In addition to a cash advance, Empower also has a checking account, automatic savings program, budget tracking and personalized financial recommendations. These features are all included with your $8 monthly membership fee.

Requirements

Empower has three cash advance tiers: The base offer of $50, an additional $50 when you direct deposit your paycheck and another $150 when you successfully repay three cash advances.

Base offer requirements:
To qualify for the initial $50 offer, you'll need to meet these requirements:

  • Bank account open for at least 60 days
  • Average of two transactions per day in active bank account
  • Three recent deposits of $200 or more from same employer
  • Monthly take-home income of at least $1,000
  • Average account balance of $100 or more after pay date

While an account with Empower isn't required, you'll only be able to get same-day advances to an Empower checking account.

Paycheck at Empower requirements:
To earn an additional $50 per advance, you'll need to set up direct deposit to an Empower account — and meet the other requirements for the base offer.

Repayment history requirements:
After you successfully repay three cash advances from your Empower checking account — not an outside bank account — you'll qualify for the full $250 cash advance.

How Empower compares to other pay advance apps

Empower is similar to many other payday advance apps: It has a membership fee under $10 a month and offers a select few financial management and banking services. But its lack of flexibility for larger advances might make it a problem for some.

If you want to get an advance of $250, you'll need to be a repeat borrower and sign up for direct deposit. However, with several user complaints about errors with its bank accounts and poor customer service, it may not be worth the risk when other payday advance apps like Brigit don't require you to sign up for a separate checking account.

Empower reviews and complaints

BBB accreditedNo
BBB ratingD
BBB customer reviews5 out of 5 stars, based on 11 customer reviews
BBB customer complaints1
Trustpilot score3.2 out of 5, based on 1 customer reviews
AppStore score4.7 out of 5 stars, based on 15,000 customer reviews
Google Play score4.3 out of 5 stars, based on 8,473 customer reviews
Customer reviews verified as of02 February 2021

While Empower doesn't get many reviews on its Better Business Bureau (BBB) or Trustpilot pages, it does receive quite a few from users on Facebook and in the App Store and Google Play. Multiple people use the comment thread under its Facebook posts to complain about being locked out of their accounts and state the customer service is severely lacking. However, recent reviews on Google Play are pleased with the advance feature, although a few were disappointed that they could initially only borrow $50.

Is Empower legit?

Yes, Empower is a legit banking service and cash advance app. Its checking and savings accounts are backed up to $250,000 by Evolve Bank and Trust. It also uses Plaid, a third-party service and industry-standard security measure, when you connect your current bank account through the app.

Its privacy policy covers the information it collects from users, how that information is used and how you can stop some sharing. In addition, Empower is up front about its arbitration agreement — which means you waive your right to trial by jury. This isn't an uncommon practice, but it's rare to see a transparent warning in the terms and conditions.

But pay attention to user complaints against Empower and its lack of response. While these aren't necessarily red flags, they could mean it doesn't take customer concerns as seriously as similar apps and services.

Empower app vs. payday loans

Empower is a short-term solution like a payday loan, but the cost to use it is limited — and the app comes with other useful services that payday loans lack.

Amount

Up to $250 per pay period

Typically up to $1,000, and most states allow only one at a time

Turnaround time

Same day

Typically next business day

Application process

Sign up through mobile app by connecting to bank account

Simple online application, typically requires Social Security number and bank account numbers

Costs

$8 monthly membership fee

High interest rate that can equal fees of $15 to $25 per $100 borrowed

Availability

Anywhere in the US

Is Empower worth it?

If you're already interested in Empower's banking options and financial advisor tools, using its cash advance option is simply another benefit. But because it requires users to have a monthly take-home income of at least $1,000 — and demonstrate that they regularly have $100 left over after payday — Empower may not be the right choice for people who are really in need of a quick advance.

Before you sign up and switch your money over, consider more payday advance apps and learn more about the borrowing process.

See other pay advance apps

Compare how Empower stacks up against even more pay advance apps.

Name Product Filter Values Max. amount per pay period Turnaround time Costs
 Brigit
$250
Same business day to 2 business days
$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 5 states.
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