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Sites like ACE Cash Express

These eight alternative lenders offer payday loans and installment loans.

ACE Cash Express is a short-term lender that offers same-day loans both online and in-store at 850 locations nationwide. It offers payday, installment and title loans, as well as cash advances, which typically range from $100 to $2,500 — depending on the state. The exception is Texas, where it offers $1,500 title loans.

But its rates run high, with APRs exceeding 660%, making ACE Cash Express loans best for emergencies only. Because the rates charged are so steep, repeatedly using short-term installment loans from lenders like ACE Cash Express can lead to a cycle of debt that can be hard to break.

But there are alternatives, particularly cash advance apps, which offer paycheck advances from $20 to $250 per pay period in most cases without interest or fees on what you borrow. These alternatives offer speedy funding, low fees and a cheaper way to access cash for emergencies.

ACE Cash Express alternatives

Alternative for overdraft feature: Chime SpotMe

Chime SpotMe®

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Chime doesn't offer loans like ACE Cash Express, but the SpotMe overdraft feature offers up to $200 in overdrafts without the interest and fees you'll pay to ACE. This protection is only for your Chime Checking account, and to qualify, you need to make a monthly direct deposit of $200 or more into your account and activate your Chime debit card.

SpotMe only covers overdrafts caused by ATM or debit card transactions and starts with just $20 in overdrafts. You can raise this limit with regular deposits and a solid account history, by qualifying for promotional bonuses offered by Chime or by using SpotMe Boost, a program that allows existing members to boost each other's SpotMe limit.

  • Available in all states
Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC. Direct deposit: Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date. SpotMe: Chime SpotMe is an optional, no fee service that requires a single deposit of $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to the Chime Checking Account each at least once every 34 days. All qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their account up to $20 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals initially, but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on member’s Chime Account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. Your limit will be displayed to you within the Chime mobile app. You will receive notice of any changes to your limit. Your limit may change at any time, at Chime’s discretion. Although there are no overdraft fees, there may be out-of-network or third party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe won’t cover non-debit card transactions, including ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. See Terms and Conditions.
Pros
  • No fees or tipping obligation
  • Low monthly direct deposit requirement of $200
Cons
  • Overdraft limits start at $20 and max out at $200
  • Must use with Chime Checking account and debit card
  • Overdraft only covers debit card purchases and ATM withdrawals
Loan amountUp to $200
Loan TermNext deposit
Turnaround timeSame day

Alternative for investment assistance: Albert

Albert

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Albert is a banking app that offers a suite of financial services, including free cash advances up to $250. But what makes Albert stand out from the field is its Genius service, which can help you design an investment portfolio suited to your goals — just by answering a few questions.

The Genius service costs $14.99 to $16 a month, and it automatically enrolls you in a free 30-day trial when you sign up. However, some users report having difficulty canceling their subscription, making it best for users who want the Genius service as part of their cash advance app experience.

  • Available in all states
Pros
  • Genius offers budgeting, loans and investment help
  • Paid membership not required for advances
  • No late fees or inactivity fees
Cons
  • Must sign up for a free trial of Genius
  • Instant transfer fees not listed
  • No phone support
Loan amountUp to $250
Loan TermN/A
Turnaround time2–3 business days or instant for a fee

Alternative for credit building: Cleo

Cleo

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Cleo can save you money over ACE Cash Express, with no interest charged on its cash advances. Members can request a cash advance through customer support for free, starting with $20 to $70 advances at first and eventually qualifying for up to $250. Advances are easier to request through the app if you pay the $5.99 monthly subscription fee, which also comes with personal financial management tools.

If you're willing to pay $14.99 per month, you can access credit builder tools, which include a secured credit card, early access to your paycheck and up to $500 in emergency cash advance if you set up direct deposits. And Cleo reports to all three credit bureaus, which can help you build credit if you keep up on your payments.

  • Available in all states
Pros
  • New advance available 24 hours after payoff
  • One-time due date extension
  • Budgeting and saving tools through app
  • Build credit with Credit Builder subscription
Cons
  • $5.99 to $14.99 monthly subscription fee
  • Non-subscribers must contact customer service to apply for cash advances
  • $3.99 express fee for same-day funding
Loan amountUp to $250
Loan TermVaries
Turnaround time3 to 4 days standard transfer. Same day with $3.99 express fee.

Alternative for flexible payments: Brigit

Brigit

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Brigit is a no-credit-check cash advance app that can help you cover emergency expenses between paydays — and unlike ACE Cash Express, never charges interest or fees on what you borrow. Brigit offers cash advances up to $250 per pay period and lets you extend your due date, as long as you've made two consecutive on-time payments.

To get advances, you need to sign up for Brigit's paid subscription, which costs $8.99 a month. This fee includes Brigit's credit builder program and up to $1 million in identity theft protection. Brigit can also auto-advance money to your bank account if you're at risk of an overdraft.

  • Available in all states
Pros
  • Store up to three payment extensions
  • Save on bank overdraft fees
  • Credit builder program included with subscription
Cons
  • $8.99 monthly membership fee
  • Instant transfers cost extra
  • No phone support
Loan amountUp to $250
Loan TermVaries
Turnaround time1 to 3 business days or instantly with a fee

Alternative for higher loan amounts: OppLoans

OppLoans Installment Loans

4.7 / 5 ★★★★★

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OppLoans is a highly rated online lender that offers loans up to $4,000 — which is higher than ACE Cash Express' typical loan amount of $100 to $2,500, depending on the state and type of loan. OppLoan's APR is 160% — significantly lower than ACE's rates, which could help you save money.

But unlike ACE Cash Express, there are no storefront locations, so you won't have access to services like check cashing and prepaid debit cards. That said, it's one of the most transparent lenders in terms of costs, and it reports your activity to the three major credit bureaus to help boost your credit score.

  • Not available in: Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia
Pros
  • APR capped at 160%
  • Reports to credit bureaus
  • Positive customer reviews
Cons
  • No storefront locations
  • Must receive income through direct deposit
Loan amount$500 - $4,000
Interest rate typeFixed
Loan Term9 to 18 months
Turnaround timeAs soon as the same business day.

Alternative for gig workers: Cash App Borrow

Cash App

Cash App Borrow is a pilot feature that hasn't been rolled out to all users yet. But it may become available to you, depending on your app usage. If eligible, you could borrow up to $200 for emergency expenses. But unlike cash advance apps, there's a 5% finance charge to use the service.

While Cash App doesn't disclose eligibility requirements, users have reported getting access to Cash App Borrow after loading funds to Cash App and sending out payments. Some users have also reported getting access without having a job. This could make it ideal for people who get paid in cash or don't receive direct deposits — as having direct deposits is a requirement for most cash advance apps.

  • Available in all states
Pros
  • Credit check not required
  • Direct deposits may not be required
Cons
  • Doesn't disclose finance charges
  • Limited to $200 per advance
  • Eligibility requirements are unclear
Loan amount$20 to $200
Loan TermVaries
Turnaround timeSame day

Alternative for no-fee cash advances: MoneyLion

MoneyLion Instacash advances

MoneyLion is a free banking and cash advance app that offers up to $500 per pay period. But it offers more than just advances, with a banking account called RoarMoney, a crypto trading feature, an investment account and a credit builder program for $19.99 a month.

By opening a RoarMoney account, you can potentially increase cash advances to $1,000 instead of just $500. Unlike some cash advance apps, MoneyLion doesn't charge a monthly fee for advances, but instant transfers cost extra. And there have been some negative reviews from customers recently.

  • Available in: Alabama, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Pros
  • $1,000 paycheck advances available to qualified users
  • No monthly subscription fees and no tipping required
  • Round Up investing feature
Cons
  • Regular funding takes 24 to 48 hours
  • Instant transfers cost between $1.99 and $8.99
  • A pattern of customer complaints
Loan amountUp to $500 or $1,000 with RoarMoney account
Loan TermDue by your next pay date
Turnaround timeUp to 5 days or instant for a fee of $0.49 to $8.99

Alternative for quick installment loans: Possible Finance

Possible Finance Mobile Installment Loans

Possible Finance is an online lender that offers short-term installment loans up to $500. Like ACE and cash advance apps, there's no credit check required, making it good for bad credit. But you'll pay a high rate — up to 460% APR — on what you borrow. But you may get up to eight weeks to repay your loan — longer than with a cash advance app.

As part of its service, Possible Finance reports your payments to two of the three major credit bureaus, which could help build your score — ACE doesn't do this. However, taking out too many loans in a short period could actually hurt your score. Due to its high cost, Possible Finance is best for emergencies where you need a longer time to repay your loan.

  • Available in: Alabama, California, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington
Pros
  • No credit check required
  • More flexible loan repayment terms
  • Reports activity to the three major credit bureaus
Cons
  • APRs can reach over 460%
  • A history of negative customer reviews
  • More costly than using a cash advance app
Loan amount$50 - $500
Interest rate typeFixed
Loan Term2 to 8 weeks
Turnaround timeAs fast as 1 business day

How does ACE Cash Express compare?

Because it’s available both online and in-store, caters to bad credit borrowers and doesn’t require a credit check, ACE Cash Express can be a fast and convenient way to get cash in hand same-day for emergencies.

But it’s pricey compared to cash advance apps, which don’t charge interest or fees on the advances themselves. Even when you factor in membership fees, cash advance apps are less expensive than a traditional payday loan for frequent borrowers.

If you have bad credit or don’t want to get verified with a cash advance app, an installment loan from ACE Cash Express may be worth the higher cost. But for ongoing borrowing, a cash advance app is a more economical choice that can help you stay within your budget.

Pros

  • 72-hour return period
  • 850 store locations
  • Same-day funding available

Cons

  • Loan options vary by state
  • Not upfront about costs
  • Mixed customer reviews

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