Compare apps for quick access to money you’ve already earned.
Earnin offers a quick way to get an advance on your next paycheck without completing an application or paying fixed fees. Instead, you download the app, connect it to your bank account and get an advance of up to $100 a day or $500 a pay period. App Store customers score it 4.7 out of 5 stars as of November 2018.
While its basic service can be cheaper than a payday loan, Earnin isn’t for everyone. You must receive direct deposit from your employer for the app to work. You also can’t access its full range of services like balance protection unless you tip a suggested $14 for each withdrawal — which can add up. Consider alternative apps for stronger perks, lower fees or faster turnaround to better meet your needs.
Dave is a pay-advance app that offers no-interest loans designed to help you avoid overdraft fees. It could be a better choice if you’re struggling to stick to a budget: Dave notifies you when you’re about to run out of funds, anticipating regular expenses like rent and utilities. Mark Cuban is an investor, and it gets the same high rating as Earnin on the App Store: 4.7 out of 5 stars.
After you download the app, Dave asks to connect with your bank account. Typically, you’ll need at least two direct deposits in your account to qualify, though it doesn’t check your credit.
Dave offers up to a $75 advance if your pay check is due in the next 10 days. There’s no interest, though Dave charges a $1 monthly membership fee. Dave also asks for tips, part of which go to the charity Trees for the Future. It can take three days to get your funds for free or $4.99 to get money within eight hours.
- Helps develop healthy spending habits.
- No-interest cash advance.
- Advances of up to $75 only.
- Limited to cash advances.
- Three-day turnaround for free advance.
MoneyLion is an all-around personal finance app that also happens to also offer small-dollar loans. It goes far beyond Earnin, offering a no-fee checking account, 0% APR cash advances, credit monitoring, even credit-builder loans of up to $500 starting at 5.99% APR. Plus, you can earn cashback rewards and gift cards for staying on top of your finances. Its customers rate it a high 4.6 out of 5 stars on the App Store.
MoneyLion could be a good option if you regularly rely on short-term loans or want to improve your credit. You don’t have to pay anything to get a cash advance of up to $250, which is instantly deposited into your MoneyLion checking account. But to access its credit-builder loans, cashback rewards and weekly credit score updates, you must be a Plus member. This comes with a $29 monthly fee plus a $50 deposit into an investment account.
3. Even — Automatic Money Manager
Even — Automatic Money Manager is a budgeting app that also offers a free advance on wages you’ve already earned through its Instapay feature. On top of this, Even helps you stick to a budget by alerting you about upcoming bills and how much you need for them. You can even set aside savings through the app by rounding up your purchases to the nearest dollar. It earns a slightly higher rating than Earnin: 4.9 out of 5 stars on the App Store.
Even charges a monthly $2.99 fee to access its basic budgeting and saving tools. To become a Plus member and access Instapay, you must work for an employer that offers it as a benefit. You can get up to a 50% advance on your next paycheck, depending on how much you’ve already earned that month. Either pick up your funds right away at any Walmart or wait until the next business day for a bank transfer. The cost of Plus membership varies depending on how much your employer covers.
- Instant funding available through Walmart.
- Helps you stay on top of bills.
- Available through select employers.
- Plus membership required.
- Only access wages you’ve already earned.
Similar to Dave, Brigit is designed to help you avoid overdraft fees on your checking account. It’s a no-frills app that does one thing only: Gives you access to a pay advance when you’re in danger of overdrawing your account. It scores a solid 4.6 out of 5 stars in the App Store.
Take advantage of Brigit by downloading the app and signing up for the $9.99 monthly subscription. Brigit monitors your bank account and offers up to $250 per pay cycle with no interest or fees when it looks like you’re about to overdraw on your balance. You can also request an advance if you have an unexpected expense pop up.
Approval takes minutes, and you can get your money as soon as the same day. Brigit automatically withdraws the amount you borrowed on your next payday.
- Helps avoid overdrafts.
- No-interest cash advance.
- $9.99 monthly subscription fee.
- No additional financial tools.
5. Speedy Cash
Speedy Cash originally developed its app to help borrowers manage short-term loans. But you can also apply for a loan through the app. In addition to offering an advance on your next paycheck, Speedy Cash deals with auto title loans, installment loans and lines of credit. To apply, download the app, sign up for an account and click Apply.
Some customers say that the Speedy Cash app is faster than applying online or in a store. But like a regular Speedy Cash loan, you’ll typically get your funds the next day.
It’s only available to residents of 27 states, though. And how much you can borrow, fees and terms vary widely depending on where you live. To qualify, you must be at least 18 years old, a US citizen or permanent resident and have a steady income and checking account. It doesn’t fare as well on the App Store as Earnin, with customers rating it a 3.2 out of 5 stars.
Employer-sponsored pay-advance apps
Some companies have started to offer employees an option to withdraw from the wages they’ve already earned before their paycheck is due. Typically, employers offer this as a benefit by signing on as a partner with an app that charges a monthly membership fee for its services. Some companies cover this fee, while others pass it on to their employees.
Pay-advance apps are more common for hourly employees in industries like retail and fast food, especially at big chains like Walmart and McDonald’s. Some companies that employ a lot of employees who rely on short-term loans have started to offer these advances as a benefit to attract more potential job applicants.
Calling itself a holistic financial wellness platform, PayActiv offers instant access to up to 50% of your earned wages with no interest to cover an emergency expense. You can also use the app to pay your bills, send money between bank accounts, set up savings goals and even score discounts on some prescription drugs. Rather than a monthly membership fee, it charges a one-time fee of $0 to $5 each time you use its pay-advance service.
PayActiv currently partners with businesses in:
- Health care
- Human resources
- Senior care
Employers can offer DailyPay as an HR tech benefit to give employees access to their pay as it’s earned. Each hour you work is added to your advance credit, which you can draw from for a small fee, typically $2.99 for instant funding or $1.25 for next-day funding. When payday rolls around, DailyPay automatically deducts your advance from your bank account.
It currently partners with companies in the following industries:
- Quick service restaurant
- Health care
- Amusement park
The FlexWage app gives you access to your earned wages by directly deducting them from your employer’s bank account for a $5 transfer fee. That way, you won’t have to make any repayments and there’s no interest charge. On top of this, FlexWage also issues a payroll card attached to a checking account that your employer can use to directly deposit your paycheck for faster access to your wages.
Unlike many other pay apps, FlexWage is tight-lipped about the businesses it partners with. Employers can find out if it’s a good fit for their business by reaching out to its sales team through an online form.
Want an installment loan instead? Compare top providers
If you want to borrow a larger amount up to $10,000 and possibly build your credit, an installment loan could be a suitable option.
Earnin isn’t the only pay-advance app that can help you cover emergency costs without a payday loan. Most of these apps allow you to get your paycheck early, and they don’t charge interest. They rely on small fees or monthly membership charges instead. Many even offer budgeting and savings tools to help you get your finances back on track.
You need to receive direct deposit to be eligible for most programs, though. And if you work irregular hours, it might be difficult to qualify.
To learn more about your cash advance options, read our guide to short-term loans.