There is no need to feel alone if you feel like there is too much money at the end of each month.
It is not uncommon for individuals to experience difficulty making ends meet at times. This is why payday loans are such a big business in the United States. These short-term loans provide a quick and easy way to cover your expenses until your next paycheck. As a result, they only make your situation worse in the long run by adding an excessive interest payment to all your other expenses.
Thanks to modern technology, there’s a better solution. Several popular personal finance apps give you access to your paycheck a few days early, enabling you to make it from one payday to another. So, if your car battery just died in the middle of the week, you can obtain the necessary funds to cover the repair without paying substantial interest or fees.
How Do Payday Advance Apps Work?
In technical terms, the services offered by these apps are not loans, but paycheck advances. In other words, they allow you to get paid a little earlier for the work you have already done.
Even if you are still several days away from receiving your next paycheck, a payday advance app rewards you for some of the work you have already completed this week. When your next paycheck arrives, the app takes $100 directly from your checking account to cover the cost of borrowing $100. For example, the app transfers the $100 needed to borrow to your checking account.
This is the same as a payday loan, except that there is no interest. The apps earn their makers money in various ways, including tips and monthly fees. When you receive your paycheck, you only receive the $100 you actually received — no more than $15 in interest.
Although there is no interest, there is still a downside to this method. Taking money out of your next paycheck leaves you with even less money to pay the bills. Many people take another advance before the next paycheck. You become stuck in a cycle and are always behind and dependent on the app and the advances it offers to meet your needs.
You should only use a paycheck advance as a temporary solution. It does not stretch your limited paycheck any farther than it did last month. Use it to deal with an unexpected one-time expense that requires immediate cash. You should either earn extra money or tighten your belt if you are always behind.
You should consider Accredited Debt Relief if you are struggling with high levels of debt. Accredited Debt Relief does not charge upfront fees and can help you reduce your total debt by up to 50% in a short amount of time.
The Best Payday Advance Apps
There are some payday advance apps that do only one thing: they give you early access to your paycheck as soon as you get it, but most of them come with a lot more features. Many of them offer online banking services, cash-back shopping, online investing, and tools for employers to manage their workforces.
Make sure you don’t just download the first app you come across. Take the time to figure out which one has the features you really need, and stick with it until you are completely satisfied.
For a limited time, earn $150 when you open your Albert account and complete qualifying activities.
This mobile-first financial app offers a no-fee, no-interest paycheck advance feature that can provide you with up to $250 from your next paycheck.
With Albert Instant, you can receive your money immediately rather than in two to three business days by paying a small fee.
There is no credit check – not even a soft inquiry – and no hidden fees for Albert Instant. Once your next paycheck arrives, simply repay Albert for the paycheck advance and move on.
Among Albert’s other notable characteristics are:
- With your debit card, you can earn an instant cashback of up to 20%
- Save automatically on a schedule that suits your needs
- DIY or guided investing – choose your own stocks and themes or let Albert assist you
- Fees and commissions are not based on minimum balances
- You only pay what you think is fair – there are no hidden fees
Using Empower, you can borrow up to $250 interest-free. No late fees or credit checks apply. You can have the funds deposited instantly into your external bank account for a small fee or to the Empower Card for no cost.
The Empower Card offers a range of benefits designed specifically for you in addition to payroll advances:
- Empower Perks. Spend your Empower Card at qualified merchants and get 10% cash back on places and things you already spend money on.
- Early Paycheck Deposit. With a payroll advance, you can get access to your paycheck up to two days faster, while having it deposited into your Empower Card account can take two weeks.
- Free ATMs. Over 37,000 MoneyPass ATMs are available in the United States for free and unlimited use.
- Maximum flexibility. Overdraft fees, insufficient funds fees, and account minimums are not applicable.
Using Empower, you can also set up an automatic savings plan. This feature will automatically deposit money into your savings account according to the rules you specify. In addition, the app provides access to BillShark’s bill negotiation services.
It is required that you meet certain qualifications, which are identified when you sign up for Empower Paycheck Advance, in order to use this service. Empower Cash Advance charges a monthly fee of $8.
You can use GO2Bank, a subsidiary of Green Dot, to get access to your paycheck more quickly. It provides all the perks you would expect from an online bank account, such as:
- A rate of 1% annual percentage yield
- There are no monthly fees as long as you use direct deposit (without direct deposit, there is a $5 monthly fee).
- You will receive fraud alerts if there is suspicious activity on your account
- You will be able to lock and unlock your card through the app
- Paying your bills online
- Direct deposit overdraft protection of up to $200
- Using the app, you can find a network of free ATMs (out-of-network ATM withdrawals are subject to a fee of $3).
- You can build your credit by using a secured credit card
- Making cash deposits at participating retail stores (although the store may charge a fee)
- Using the app, it is possible to cash checks ranging from $5 to $5,000 (with a fee for instant payment)
- You can earn up to 7% cash back on electronic gift cards purchased in-app
If you have a Chime account with direct deposit, your wages become available to you as soon as your employer deposits them into the account. This allows you to access your money up to two days sooner.
You can use Chime’s full-service bank account to transfer money, send and deposit checks, and pay bills online. The account also offers a number of other great features that most other bank accounts do not, such as:
- No Hidden Fees. Chime does not charge any minimum balance fees, monthly service fees, foreign transaction fees, or overdraft fees of up to $200. It also offers fee-free access to more than 60,000 ATMs nationwide.
- Banking Alerts. The Chime app notifies you when your paycheck arrives when you make a purchase with your Chime debit card, and how much money you have in your account every day.
- Automatic Savings. Chime offers a savings account with built-in automatic savings features. For instance, you can set up an automatic transfer of 10% of your paychecks to your savings account. You can also set up the system to round up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and deposit the change into your savings account automatically.
- Secured Credit Card. The Credit Builder account is linked to a Visa credit card, which carries no annual fees or interest, nor does it require a credit check or a minimum security deposit.
- Payments to Friends. The Chime Pay feature allows you to send payments to other Chime users for free, so you can split a restaurant check, pay your share of the rent or utility bill, or pay your babysitter instantly.
A key feature of the Cleo app is the ability to avoid overdraft fees by providing a paycheck advance benefit. It is not a bank but rather a money management app that connects to your existing bank account.
This feature requires no credit check and no proof of regular income. Furthermore, you pay no interest on the money you borrow. If you qualify, you can get an advance of $20 to $70 immediately.
There is no salary advance option included in the free version of the Cleo app. It can be accessed only through the paid Cleo Plus and Cleo Builder accounts.
You can earn cash back at five retailers of your choice as well as at online partners that change daily with Cleo Plus, which costs $5.99 per month. Other features include:
- Check your credit report and learn how to improve it
- Budgeting tool based on your spending habits
- Tools that automate savings such as round-ups, regular transfers, a “swear jar” that penalizes bad behavior, and a tool that calculates what you can afford to save each week
The Cleo Builder service offers these same features and more. It offers a secured credit card that is designed to help you build credit in the long run. It also provides credit monitoring services and bill reminders. It costs $14.99 per month.
For a limited time, earn a $10 bonus when you sign up for a Revolut account
With Revolut, you can receive your entire paycheck advance up to two days before your scheduled payday when using a direct deposit payer that qualifies.
In contrast to other early direct deposit providers, Revolut does not charge any fees from your paycheck. You will also receive an alert as soon as the funds reach your account.
These features are also available:
- There are no hidden fees or minimum balance requirements
- Free P2P transfers within the Revolut network in over 30 countries
- When traveling abroad, create multiple currency accounts
- You can send international wire transfers in more than 30 currencies at amazing exchange rates — and you can send up to 10 zero-fee international transfers per month.
- With Rewards, you can earn cashback and discounts from top brands
- Every customer receives a personalized card
- Help your child develop healthy money habits by adding up to five Revolut under 18 accounts
ExtraCash from Dave is an online banking account that allows you to obtain a no-interest advance by using its overdraft feature.
A maximum of $500 can be sent from your ExtraCash account to your external bank within one to three business days, or it can be transferred instantly to your Dave Debit Mastercard for a small fee.
Initially, your ExtraCash account balance is zero. If you take a cash advance from the account, your account balance becomes negative, but there is no overdraft fee.
If you are unable to pay the full amount, Dave automatically calculates the date you will withdraw money from your linked bank account. When this occurs, your account balance returns to zero. However, if you cannot pay the full amount, you can pay part of it without incurring late fees.
It is also possible to pay back your paycheck advance early.
Dave also offers the following features:
- Electronic spending account without a minimum balance that does not pay interest
- Access to 32,000 MoneyPass ATMs nationwide without charge
- Budgeting based on your monthly expenses
- You can connect with money-making gigs in your area through the Side Hustle feature
When you request an advance from Dave, you can also give him a tip. Membership in Dave costs just $1 per month.
Possibly the most versatile payday loan app is Brigit, which delivers up to $250 that you have already earned to your account the next business day without subjecting you to a credit check. You can choose the date on which the money will be withdrawn from your account.
The loan can, however, be repaid early. As you continue to use the application, you will be eligible for additional extension credits that will allow you to delay payment up to three times in a row without incurring any late fee or penalty. You may also extend the due date on your first loan without incurring any late fees. Only Brigit’s Plus plan comes with these features, which are available for a monthly fee of $9.99.
Alternatively, Brigit’s Plus plan offers the option to set up automatic advances to avoid overdraft fees. You will receive a transfer whenever the account balance is in danger of falling below zero.
In order to qualify for a Brigit cash advance, you must meet the following requirements:
- Income. Before Brigit will grant you an advance, you must demonstrate you have received three direct deposits from the same source. ATM deposits, paper checks, and irregular direct deposits are not accepted.
- Banking. Your checking account must be at least 60 days old and must have a balance greater than $0. Additionally, you must use your account daily for at least a few weeks to establish your earning and expenditure patterns. Finally, Brigit must ensure you have a sufficient end-of-day balance on your payday so that it can safely collect your payment without overdrawing your account.
- Brigit Score. The Brigit app calculates your score based on your earnings, spending, and banking behaviors. The score ranges from 1 to 100, and the app tells you what score you require to receive a cash advance.
Besides paycheck advances, Brigit offers a variety of features to assist you in managing your finances. The free plan provides information on your financial health, personalized tips for improving it, and opportunities to earn extra money. Instant deposit, credit monitoring, and identity theft insurance are additional features of the Plus plan.
Plus plans include credit-building features as well. You get a 12- to 24-month loan from Brigit, and the monthly payments go into your credit-builder account. Brigit reports these payments to the credit bureaus. At the conclusion of the loan period, you are repaid all of the money you borrowed.
ActiveHours was the first paycheck advance app, and it has now been rebranded as Earnin. Its creator, Ram Palaniappan, says it aims to make the financial system fairer by allowing workers to break free of the pay cycle.
Essentially, Earnin functions similarly to Brigit, however, you can only withdraw up to $100 per day and $500 per pay period. There is no charge for this service, but you can add a “tip” of up to $14 to help keep Earnin running. Although the tip is optional, many Earnin users voluntarily contribute it to keep the app running. Some even “pay it forward,” leaving a larger tip to cover the cost for those who cannot afford to pay.
Earnin also offers several other features that can be useful to workers on a budget, including:
- Balance Shield. Using this feature, you will be protected from costly bank overdraft fees. It maintains a record of your bank balance and alerts you if your balance drops below a set amount.
- Earnin Express. If you wish to pay back your paycheck advance and tips more quickly, you may use this virtual account. Simply route your paycheck through this account before it is sent to your primary bank account. By doing so, you can get your paycheck up to two days earlier. If you use Earnin Express, you are able to receive a maximum cash-out of $1,000.
- Financial Calendar. You can use this feature to keep track of your regular bills and other expenses, which will assist you in scheduling a cash advance if you need one.
You have the option of tipping yourself. Earnin paycheck advance offers a virtual tip jar in which you can pay yourself. You can set aside between $1 and $50 per day and withdraw it at any time.
Using Varo, you can receive your paycheck advance sooner thanks to direct deposit. When you use direct deposit with your Varo account, your paycheck will enter your account as soon as your employer transfers the funds.
The Varo Advance feature allows you to borrow up to $100 interest-free. When you first qualify, you will be able to borrow up to $20, and you will be able to increase your limit over time.
Varo Bank Accounts also offers the following features:
- Varo Visa® Debit Card. A contactless debit card bearing the Visa brand mark is included with the account and can be used wherever Visa is accepted as well as added to digital wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, Cash App, and Venmo.
- Transfers to Other Varo Bank Customers. No fees are associated with transferring money from your Varo account to anyone else’s.
- Fewer Fees. Varo does not charge monthly fees, has no minimum balance requirement, does not charge transfer fees, and does not charge foreign transaction fees. It also offers fee-free ATM access in stores including Walgreens, Target, and CVS that are part of the Allpoint® network.
- Deposit Money. The Varo app allows you to deposit checks remotely.
- Automatic Savings Tools. In general, Varo Bank Accounts are similar to checking accounts. However, if you also have Varo Savings Accounts, Varo offers two automatic saving tools to help you accumulate a nest egg. When you choose to Save Your Pay, a specified percentage of each paycheck will be automatically transferred from your bank account to your savings account. If you choose to Save Your Change, Varo transfers the amount from your Varo Bank Account to your Savings Account when you round up each transaction to the nearest dollar.
- Varo Believe Credit Card. You can build your credit score with Varo’s secured credit card. For use, transfer money from your Varo bank account to your Varo secured account. There is a limit on your card of $500. This guarantees that you will always be able to pay off your balance in full, and Varo will report your on-time payments to the three major credit bureaus, thereby boosting your credit score. The Varo Bank app even allows you to monitor your credit score as it improves.
With your Varo Believe or Varo Bank debit card, you can earn up to 6% cash back on selected brands. When you have earned $5, the money will automatically be transferred to your Varo account.
11. SoFi Checking And Savings
You can receive your direct deposit up to two days early with SoFi Checking and Savings. It offers a number of benefits, including:
- No Account Fees. You will not be charged a monthly maintenance fee, an overdraft fee, or a minimum balance fee when you open an account with SoFi Checking and Savings. You will also have access to a network of over 55,000 ATMs for free.
- Free Overdraft Coverage. The SoFi Checking and Savings Account covers accidental overdrafts up to $50 without a fee. You must enroll in direct deposit in order to take advantage of this benefit.
- Interest. Savings with SoFi Checking and Savings earn 1.25% APY – many times the national average. Interest is capped at $300 per year.
- Cash Back. When you make payments from your SoFi Checking and Savings account, you can earn up to 15% cash back rewards. The list of local retailers offering rewards may vary.
- Vaults. Using the Vaults feature, you may lock away savings that you are not willing to use on a regular basis. In the case of a down payment for a home, you can create a Vault for this purpose, make regular monthly deposits into the vault, and track your progress toward your goal. At any given time, you can have up to 20 Vaults.
- Roundups. Every time you make a purchase with your SoFi Checking and Savings debit card, the purchase is rounded up to the nearest dollar and the extra cents are transferred to your Vault.
The SoFi mobile app makes it easy for you to bank from your mobile device. It allows you to pay bills, transfer funds, and deposit checks without ever setting foot in a banking facility.
The MoneyLion online banking app offers both early paycheck advance and early paycheck access. You can borrow as much as $250 with no interest or credit check by using its Instacash feature. The money appears in your account within minutes. Additionally, RoarMoney offers the option of receiving your paycheck up to two days early via its online account.
MoneyLion also offers the following features:
- Low-Fee Checking. Unlike some other credit card services, RoarMoney does not charge a minimum balance requirement or a fee for standard transfers, stop payments, or online bill payments. The only fee is a $1 monthly administration fee.
- Low-Fee Investing. With MoneyLion, you can not only save but can also invest in an exchange-traded fund portfolio tailored to meet your risk tolerance. You can transfer money from your savings account to this portfolio. In addition to fully managing your account, you have no management fees or minimum balances. Your investments can also be adjusted to suit your specific interests, such as socially responsible investing. You may even invest automatically if you wish. Based on the balance of your account, you will be charged a monthly fee ranging from $1 to $5.
- Free Fraud Protection. In addition to providing multi-factor authentication, MoneyLion allows you to lock and unlock your debit card through the app.
- Budgeting Tools. MoneyLion provides you with weekly spending reports so that you can see where your money is being spent.
- Cryptocurrency Purchases. From your RoarMoney account, you can buy and sell two cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and Ethereum, as well as round up the spare change from your credit or debit card purchases.
- Cash-Back Rewards. Using MoneyLion, you can earn cash back on select online purchases made with your debit card or RoarMoney virtual card. With MoneyLion’s Shake ‘N’ Bank feature, you can earn additional rewards after you make a purchase of $10.
- Price Protection. As part of MoneyLion’s price protection, if you find a lower price within 90 days of making a purchase, you may receive a refund of the difference. (A refund limit of $250 per refund and four refunds per year apply.)
Credit Builder Plus accounts are available for $19.99 per month. With this feature, you are able to borrow up to $1,000 and repay it over 12 months. You can build a solid credit history if you make regular, on-time payments. Annual percentage rates (APRs) range from 5.99% to 29.99%, depending on your credit rating.
Also included in Credit Builder Plus are other features that will assist you in building your credit. It includes free TransUnion credit monitoring, which allows you to track the progress of your credit. You may also waive the monthly administrative fee on RoarMoney bank accounts, MoneyLion investment accounts, or both if you choose to do so.
Payactiv is a paycheck advance that can be used in two different ways. If your employer provides you with earned wage access as a benefit, you may take advantage of it. Earned wage access allows you to collect your wages immediately upon earning them. For each two-week pay period, the service charges $1 for each day you use it, with a maximum of $5 per day.
A $1.99 fee applies to cash pickups and instant deposits to cards other than Payactiv Visa prepaid cards. The funds may be transferred to your bank account, loaded onto a Payactiv Visa prepaid card, or received in cash at a Walmart Money Center.
Even if your employer does not offer Payactiv, you can still apply for a Payactiv Visa card. You will not be eligible for earned wage access, but your paycheck advance will be deposited up to two days early to the card. In addition to being accepted anywhere Visa is accepted, the card is also accepted by 37,000 MoneyPass ATMs.
Moreover, Payactiv’s app provides employees with financial coaching, savings tools, and payment options, as well as one-on-one financial coaching. You can use it to pay bills, summon an Uber, pay friends, and make purchases at businesses such as Amazon and Walmart. You can even receive discounts on certain purchases when you use them.
Employers can take advantage of Payactiv’s perks as well. It makes payroll easier and handles tip distribution and mileage reimbursement automatically. The service costs employers nothing and takes only two days to set up.
As with Payactiv, DailyPay enables employers to offer employees access to a portion of their wages before payday.
DailyPay builds credit in your account for each shift you work, which can be transferred to your bank account at any time. You can choose to receive your money instantly or by the next business day, and the app charges $1.25 to $2.99 for each transfer.
You receive your regular paycheck advance minus any advances you have requested. According to DailyPay, the average user saves $1,250 in overdraft fees, late fees, and interest on payday loans.
You may also set up automatic savings transfers with DailyPay. For example, you may use AutoSave to save a set amount every payday, DirectSave to set aside a percentage of your paycheck, or RoundupSave to make a savings transfer whenever you request an advance.
According to DailyPay, it can help employers attract twice as many job applicants and reduce turnover by more than 70%.
There is a slight difference in how FlexWage works from DailyPay and Payactiv when it comes to employers. By signing up for the FlexWage app, you receive a reloadable debit card as an employee that replaces a paper check when you receive your wages. As opposed to a check that needs to be deposited at the bank, you can receive your money immediately on payday. The card is accepted at all retailers that accept Visa, and at Allpoint ATMs. Cash can be transferred to your bank account free of charge.
OnDemand Pay allows you to request an advance before payday arrives. However, it is up to your employer to determine how often this feature is available and what the maximum advance amount is. A fee of $3 to $5 is charged for this service.
Additionally, Flex Pay is a feature specifically designed for restaurant servers, who are tipped. When they finish their shift, they receive their tips on their payment card instantly. Compared to waiting for tips to be submitted by credit card, it is quicker and safer to leave work with cash when tips are submitted. Additionally, Flex Pay allows employers to pay contract employees or make one-time payments to their regular employees, including commissions, bonuses, and per diems.
You can also access a financial wellness program called Sum180 through FlexWage.
- View all your financial accounts in one place by linking them
- Instantly create a starter budget
- Get daily financial tips and challenges
- Find detailed information on a variety of financial topics
- Consult a financial wellness professional
Besides improving worker satisfaction, FlexWage also helps employers save money by eliminating the need for paper paychecks. This application is used by many well-known restaurant chains, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, and Panda Express. Other clients include RWJBarnabas Health and Peppermill Casinos.
What To Do When Payday Advance Apps Won’t Lend Enough?
Occasionally, the $100 or $250 limits on payday advance applications are insufficient to cover all of your expenses. In this circumstance, a payday loan is not the best option. Personal loans have much lower interest rates and are easier to repay than payday loans, which require a lump sum payment.
A personal loan can be obtained from a bank, credit union, online lender, or peer-to-peer lender such as Prosper. The lender will conduct a credit check before approving the loan. Secured personal loans require collateral, such as a car or cash from your bank account. Unsecured loans do not require collateral, however, they usually have higher interest rates.
Depending on your credit history, you may be able to get a personal loan for as little as 3% APR. This is considerably lower than what you would pay on a credit card.
The interest rate on a personal loan, in contrast, may be as high as 36%, as well as origination fees ranging from 1% to 6%. Therefore, you should check the total cost before taking out a loan to ensure it would not be cheaper to use your credit card.
You can get money in a hurry with paycheck advance apps if you need cash to cover an unexpected expense, but they are not a long-term solution. If you consistently struggle to pay your bills, you require more than a one-time cash infusion. You must stop living paycheck to paycheck.
For starters, they help you break free from payday lenders and the high-interest payments they charge; they also assist you in staying on top of your bills and avoiding late fees and overdraft fees.
Among paycheck advance apps, you will also find budgeting tools to assist with tracking and managing your spending as well as automated savings tools to assist with building up your emergency fund. Additionally, many provide you with opportunities to earn additional income through cashback rewards, extra shifts, or side jobs. With the help of these tools, you will not need to rely on cash advances to cover those unplanned expenses; you will have money in the bank to cover these expenses.