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MoneyLion Instacash pay advance app review

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Fee-free, interest-free cash advances — just sign up for membership and connect a checking account.

finder.com’s rating: 3.4 / 5.0

★★★★★

  • Best for borrowers looking for a quick advance before their paycheck.
  • Pick something else if you want to avoid signing up for a membership.

$250

Max. Amount

As early as same business day

Turnaround time

Details

Product NameMoneyLion Instacash advances
Max. Amount$250
Loan TermVaries
Turnaround TimeAs early as same business day
Costs$29 monthly fee if you have a Plus membership

How do MoneyLion Instacash advances work?

  • Maximum advance: $250 with linked MoneyLion checking account
  • Cost: Free with a MoneyLion membership
  • Turnaround: Within 48 hours to a MoneyLion checking account

MoneyLion offers advances up to 30% of your average deposit — or $250 per pay period — but the exact amount depends on your linked checking account. If you use a MoneyLion checking account and have a high enough income, you’ll have access to the full $250. Using a different bank limits your maximum advance to $200.

Because your advance depends on the amount you have deposited into your account, your full advance amount will change. You’ll always have access to at least $25, and you can borrow up to $50 at a time. While this may be limiting, MoneyLion allows you to take out multiple advances with no cooldown period. So if you need $150, you can borrow three advances and repay them all on your next payday.

Regular delivery of your advance into a MoneyLion checking account takes 24 to 48 hours, but you can choose to pay an optional $3.99 fee to have instant access to your advance. Normal delivery into an external checking account takes longer, anywhere from three to five business days — or you can choose instant delivery for a $4.99 fee.

How much does it cost to use MoneyLion Instacash?

There’s no cost to use the Instacash feature of the MoneyLion app. Even tipping is optional, although MoneyLion strongly encourages its borrowers to leave a small tip on each advance to help keep the free program funded.

How do I repay my advance?

The amount you borrow is due on or around your next payday, and your Instacash advance can be repaid automatically or manually. If you choose automatic payments, your advance amount — plus a tip or instant advance fee, if applicable — will be deducted on the due date. To make a manual repayment, you can select Repay from the MoneyLion home screen, and make a full or partial payment.

Keep in mind that your due date isn’t always your payday. MoneyLion analyzes your account to align your due date with your next expected deposit date. But as long as you repay your advance within five days of the due date, MoneyLion won’t charge a late fee.

Pros

  • No cost or obligation to tip
  • No credit check
  • Additional banking options available

Cons

  • MoneyLion membership required
  • Limited to $50 per advance
  • $3.99 or $4.99 fee for instant delivery

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Is MoneyLion safe to use?

Yes, the MoneyLion app is safe. Its bank account options are FDIC-insured, and the app uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) to keep any information you enter in its app safe from hackers. Outside bank accounts are connected through Plaid to give an extra layer of security.

MoneyLion also has a security team that monitors its site and database 24/7. And like all lenders, MoneyLion has a privacy policy that covers how your information is collected and used.

MoneyLion faced government action

MoneyLion was ordered in February 2018 to forgive over $2.35 million in loans and fees to borrowers in Virginia. According to the lawsuit, MoneyLion illegally offered loans to residents of Virginia from January to July 2018 without obtaining a license and charged an APR for its small-dollar loans well over the maximum interest rate set by the state.

What are users saying about MoneyLion?

BBB accreditedNo
BBB ratingC+
BBB customer reviews3 out of 5 stars, based on 91 customer reviews
Trustpilot score3.8 out of 5, based on 2,785 customer reviews
AppStore score4.6 out of 5 stars, based on 57,100 customer reviews
Google Play score3.6 out of 5 stars, based on 32,506 customer reviews
Customer reviews verified as of22 June 2020

MoneyLion receives fairly high ratings from the App Store and Google Play. Although there are multiple reviews that complain about slow customer service response.

MoneyLion has also received a high volume of complaints on its BBB page — over 1,000 — but every complaint is either resolved or answered. The customers who left positive reviews are generally pleased with MoneyLion’s services, although the most recent ones are for its credit-builder loan, not the Instacash advance.

MoneyLion Instacash vs. payday loans

MoneyLion Instacash advances may come in small amounts like payday loans, but that’s where the similarities end. Its turnaround time and lack of fees make it a much better deal — especially if you already have direct deposit set up to your MoneyLion checking account.

MoneyLionPayday loans
Borrowing amountBetween $25 to $250 every pay periodUsually up to $1,000, though exact amounts vary by state
Turnaround timeMay take up to five business daysOne to two business days
Application processNo application, but will need to connect bank accountOnline application, usually requires a Social Security number and bank account numbers
CostsFree with a MoneyLion membershipHigh fees of $15 to $25 per $100 borrowed
State availabilityNot available in Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada or VermontProhibited in some states

How do I use the app?

Provided you have direct deposits of at least $250 going into your checking account, getting a pay advance only takes three simple steps:

  1. Open the MoneyLion app and navigate to the Finances tab.
  2. Tap the Instacash button, then the Request button.
  3. Select the amount you want to borrow up to your maximum advance amount.

Do I qualify for an Instacash advance?

MoneyLion doesn’t have any set eligibility requirements. However, your checking account will need to meet a few basic requirements, including:

  • Receives consistent deposits
  • Open for at least two months
  • Maintains a positive balance
  • Used frequently

Can I cancel my Instacash membership?

Technically, no. Because Instacash is free and available through the app, you won’t need to cancel or unsubscribe. To cancel your MoneyLion membership, follow these steps:

  1. Visit your MoneyLion profile on the app.
  2. Tap Membership, then Manage my membership.
  3. Select Cancel my membership and confirm your selection.

Additional programs available to MoneyLion users

As an online bank, MoneyLion members have access to both checking and savings accounts, investing programs and even small personal loans.

It has two membership types:

  • Core membership. It’s free to sign up and comes with access to a variety of programs, including a zero-fee checking account, the Instacash advance, cashback rewards, free credit monitoring and a personalized investment portfolio.
  • Plus membership. For $19.99 a month, you get all the perks of the Core membership as well as access to 5.99% APR credit-builder loans, weekly credit score updates and $1 daily cash back for logging into the app.

Should I use the MoneyLion app?

MoneyLion’s fee-free, interest-free Instacash advances are ideal if you want to use MoneyLion for an all-around banking experience. But if you don’t want to sign up for membership, you’ll need to consider other pay advance apps or look into your short-term loan options.

Frequently asked questions?

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2 Comments

  1. Default Gravatar
    Darrell
    September 2, 2019

    Can I use my pre paid card in money lion

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      fayemanuel
      September 3, 2019

      Hi Darrell,

      Thanks for contacting Finder.

      Yes you may. You can link an external bank account or debit card that you own to your MoneyLion Checking account. Once the external account or debit card is linked, you can transfer money to your MoneyLion Checking account.

      Before applying, please ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria and read through the details of the needed requirements as well as the relevant Product Disclosure Statements/Terms and Conditions when comparing your options before making a decision on whether it is right for you. You can also contact the provider if you have specific questions.

      I hope this helps.

      Kind Regards,
      Faye

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