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Although still new, pay advance apps are cornering the market on more affordable short-term loan alternatives. You can get the money you’ve already made when you need it, and often at a much lower cost than payday loans. But most apps have strict eligibility criteria you’ll have to meet first.
If you’re currently employed and work steady hours, a pay advance app — also known as a cash advance app or paycheck advance app — may be able to advance you up to 50% of your earned income. And if you’re between paychecks or waiting for your employer to deposit your funds, a pay advance app can help you meet financial obligations on time.
Pay advance apps work off a tipping system or a small monthly membership fee, so you won’t have to worry about interest or other costs. The turnaround time varies widely between apps, but most can deposit funds into your bank account in less than three business days.
Using a pay advance app may be a good idea if you need the cash to buy groceries and other supplies in bulk before isolating yourself or your family. However, a week or two without regular income can leave your budget thin when your advance comes due on your usual payday.
Check to see how much you’ll need for bills and other regular expenses before getting an advance.
Because pay advance apps are meant for your mobile device, you’ll need to download the app to your smartphone and follow the directions to create an account. And be sure to check for updates frequently. This will allow you to take advantage of new programs and features as they come out.
To create an account, you need to supply some basic information. Enter your contact details, bank account and routing numbers, information about your employment and when you’re paid. This will help most apps determine how much you can borrow and when you’ll have to repay your advance.
From there, it may take a few days for the app to confirm your identity and direct deposits. Once it does, you can navigate to its pay advance section and select how much you want to borrow.
It varies by provider, you can typically borrow a percentage of the money you’ve already earned. Some have a small maximum limit of just $75, while others may advance you up to $500 per pay period.
The total depends on the app and your hourly wage. Many are constantly doing the math for you and show you how much you have available at any given time so you can make an informed decision.
It depends on the app. Some charge a monthly membership fee that can range from $1 to $10, while others ask you to tip — though it’s usually optional. And none of the apps listed below charge interest — a far cry from the costs of payday lenders.
Only Earnin is considering an increase to its advance limit as of March 18, 2020. But Brigit and MoneyLion also have features that may be able to help if money is tight during the outbreak.
Usually, the pay advance app automatically deducts your funds from your bank account on the due date — which is typically your pay day. If you don’t have enough in your account, many will hold off on withdrawing your payment to prevent you from overdrafting.
However, you won’t be able to borrow again until you repay your current advance. And some apps like Dave may ban you if this happens too frequently.
Some companies like Walmart and Comcast have started partnering with pay advance apps to offer both wage advances and installment loans specifically to employees. These work similarly to pay advance apps for everyone, but instead it’s your employer that advances you money and deducts repayments from your future paychecks. You can learn more with our guide to employer-based paycheck advances.
Eligibility criteria vary between providers, but there are a few basic requirements you need to meet:
Some apps may also require you to work for a specific employer or make a minimum amount of money each month to qualify.
In general, no. Most pay advance apps don’t check your credit history when you request an advance, nor will they report your on-time or missed payments to the major credit bureaus.
Pay advance apps are only one option when you’re looking for cash fast. If you need to borrow more than these apps offer, you might want to look into these alternatives:
If you need a $100 or so to hold you over until your next paycheck, consider using a pay advance app. They usually don’t charge interest, so you’ll only be on the hook for a minimal membership fee or optional tip — if that. But you’ll need to be employed to qualify, and you’re limited to borrowing a percentage of the money you already earned.
Don’t have a regular source of income or need to borrow more? You might want to look into your payday loan options instead.
Don’t work for an employer that uses this app? Here are others that may be a better fit.
Access up to 50% of your already-earned wages — but only if you work for an eligible employer.
These apps offer larger cash advance amounts and competitive features.
If your employer doesn’t work with Branch, check out similar apps to get your money today.
Can’t meet its strict eligibility requirements? Consider one of these apps instead.
Hourly workers can get an interest-free advance of up to $150 per day on earned wages.
Get an advance of up to $100 avoid hefty overdraft fees.
Fee-free, interest-free cash advances up to $250.
Have up to $250 automatically deposited into your account — for a $9.99 membership fee.
Compare apps that give you quick access to money you’ve already earned.
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