MoneyLion Instacash pay advance app review

Fee-free, interest-free cash advances up to $250.

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Already have a MoneyLion checking account with direct deposit set up? You might qualify for a zero-cost cash advance. But it won’t be much help if you don’t already have an account. And it’s not available everywhere.

How does MoneyLion Instacash work?

MoneyLion is an online bank that offers 0% APR cash advances to its members through its mobile app. If you receive a direct deposit of at least $250 into your MoneyLion checking account, you may qualify for an Instacash advance. This is a fee-free, interest-free loan you can use when you’re a little short on cash between paychecks. Depending on how large your direct deposit is, you may qualify for up to $250.

You’ll use your MoneyLion app to start the borrowing process. Simply visit the Finances section and click Instacash. You can select how much you want to borrow, and it will be instantly deposited into your account — even if it’s outside of business hours.

The amount you borrow is due on your next payday, and you can use it every pay period provided your account is in good standing.

  • Maximum withdrawal: $250
  • Cost: Free with a MoneyLion checking account
  • Turnaround: Instantly deposited into your checking account

How repayments work with MoneyLion

Repaying your Instacash advance is simple. The amount you borrowed is automatically deducted from your checking account on your next payday. And since there’s no interest or fees — and no obligation to tip — the amount you pay is exactly the amount you borrow.

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 $29 a month, you get all the perks of the Core membership as well as 5.99% APR credit-builder loans, weekly credit score updates and $1 daily cash back for logging into the app.

Compare pay advance apps

Updated November 13th, 2019
Name Product Max. amount per pay period Turnaround time Costs
$500
Same business day to 2 business days
Optional tip of up to $14 per withdrawal
A payday loan alternative. Get an advance on the wages you’ve already earned — with no fees or interest.
Varies by state
As fast as 1 business day
Borrow up to $500 with just a few swipes — but only for residents of 5 states.
$250
As early as same business day
$29 monthly fee if you have a Plus membership
Fee-free, interest-free cash advances up to $250.
Up to 50% of your current net pay
Same business day to 1 business days
$8 monthly membership fee
Access up to 50% of your already-earned wages — but only if you work for an eligible employer.
$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.
$500
As early as same business day
No cost for 3-day option, $3.99 for instant deposit
Hourly workers can get an interest-free advance of up to $150 per day on earned wages.

Compare up to 4 providers

How much does it cost to use MoneyLion Instacash?

MoneyLion doesn’t charge you to use Instacash. Like all of its programs available through the Core membership, it’s completely free. In fact, there are no fees for having a checking account.

The only fee you might have to pay is a $29 monthly fee if you have a Plus membership, which isn’t a requirement for a cash advance.

What are the pros and cons of MoneyLion Instacash?

Pros

  • Instant deposit. Unlike many pay advance apps — and almost every short-term loan option — you can receive your funds instantly into your checking account any day of the week.
  • No cost. MoneyLion doesn’t charge any fees or interest when you borrow. And there’s no obligation to tip.
  • No credit check required. MoneyLion doesn’t do a credit pull when determining your eligibility for its Instacash advance.

Cons

  • Must have a MoneyLion checking account. You need to have direct deposit set up to your MoneyLion checking account to borrow. And once you sign up for an account, you’ll have to wait through two pay periods in order to qualify.
  • Limits to how much you can borrow. MoneyLion limits the amount you can borrow to 10% of your direct deposit amount per pay period.
  • Limited state availability. MoneyLion isn’t available in Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada or Vermont.

Is MoneyLion safe to use?

Although no website can ensure your information stays 100% safe, MoneyLion takes the necessary steps to keep your account and personal details secure. It’s FDIC insured and uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) to keep any information you enter in its app safe from hackers. It also has a security team that monitors its site and database 24/7.

What are users saying about MoneyLion?

Reviews are mixed, but more recent MoneyLion reviews skew toward the negative. It isn’t accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) as of February 2019. And although it earns 3.5 out of 5 stars based on 37 customer reviews, nearly 110 people have filed complaints against the company — giving it a B- rating. Most problems revolve around its Plus membership small personal loans, poor customer service and issues closing accounts — not its Instacash advances specifically.

MoneyLion does a bit better on Trustpilot. Out of its 1,300 reviews, over 80% of customers rate it as “Excellent.” However, there are still multiple complaints about delays in receiving a MoneyLion debit card and rude customer service representatives.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t positive reviews out there. Those that are happy with the bank praise its easy-to-use app, fast turnaround for cash advances and tools available to help improve their credit.

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 — if you already have direct deposit set up to your MoneyLion checking account.

MoneyLionPayday loans
Borrowing amountUp to $250 every pay periodUsually up to $1,000, though exact amounts vary by state
Turnaround timeInstantly deposited into your checking accountOne to two business days
Application processNo application, just borrow when you need itOnline application, usually requires a Social Security number and bank account numbers
CostsFree with a MoneyLion checking accountHigh 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 already 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.
  3. Select the amount you want to borrow.

Your funds will be immediately deposited into your MoneyLion checking account.

More about the company

MoneyLion began in 2013 and has since originated over 200,000 loans. Its focus is on simplicity, inclusion and empowering people to reach their financial goals. Because of its limited fees and focus on the customer, MoneyLion has been featured in several publications including Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and Fortune.

Should I use the MoneyLion app?

MoneyLion’s fee-free, interest-free Instacash advances are ideal if you already have a Money Lion checking account with direct deposit set up. But if you don’t have an account and need money now, you’ll need to consider other pay advance apps out there or look into your short-term loan options.

Frequently asked questions?

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    DarrellSeptember 2, 2019

    Can I use my pre paid card in money lion

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      fayemanuelSeptember 3, 2019Staff

      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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