14 Best Cash Advance Apps When You Need Instant Money

Cash advance apps can offer a way to cover expenses until your next paycheck while avoiding payday loans. They are growing fast — 33% of Americans have used at least one of these apps.

Your credit score doesn’t matter, there’s no interest charged and fees are minimal. Some can transfer money immediately.

Our #1 Pick: Dave

Our top pick for instant cash
  • Borrow up to $500 and spend it instantly
  • Get paid up to 2 days early
  • Earn up to 15% cash back

Disclaimer: DebtHammer may be affiliated with some of the companies mentioned in this article. DebtHammer may make money from advertisements or when you contact a company through our platform.

Here are the best apps for cash advances or overdraft protection

AppBest for…Loan amountRepayment scheduleTime for free transfersFast funding feeSubscription fee
AlbertThe “Genius” program$100-$250When your next paycheck is deposited3-6 business days$6.99You decide how much you’re willing to pay, but the minimum is $8 per month
BrigitExtra budgeting perks$50-$250Will not be disclosed until you borrow the money; they will also send a reminder two days before payment is due.1 to 3 business daysNot disclosed$9.99 per month
ChimeFlexibility$20-$200Next paycheck or direct deposit, whichever comes firstInstantN/AN/A
CleoBuilding credit$100You choose; it has to be between 3-14 days after you borrowUp to four days$4$5.99 per month
DaveImproving financial weak spotsUp to $500When you get your next paycheck; it you don’t repay on time, Dave will try to charge your bank account3 business days$1.99 to $13.99$1 per month
EarninPaying as little as possible to borrowUp to $750 per pay periodThe next payday, but Earnin will allow you to roll it over to the subsequent payday once every 180 days (and only by phone)1 to 2 business days$.99 to $3.99None
EmpowerExtra money management helpUp to $250When you get your next paycheckOne business day$1 to $8$8 per month
FloatMeSpeed$50From your next paycheckUp to three business daysNoneFree trial, then $1.99 per month
KloverPersonal securityUp to $200Your next payday; you cannot repay earlyOne to three business days$1.99-$14.98$3.99 per month
MoneyLionMultiple financial products$25 to $250MoneyLion will set a date; typically about two weeks laterOne to two business days$.49-$8.99None
Possible*Extended repaymentUp to $500Four equal payments over eight weeksUp to five business daysN/A2% origination fee
VaroFast accessUp to $250Within 15-30 days, Varo lets you chooseOne to four business days; faster if you bank through VaroN/AYour first advance will start at $20, which is free. The fee for subsequent advances of more than $20 ranges from $3 to $12.50.
Possible loans are only allowed in the following states: AL, CA, DE, FL, IA, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, MI, MS, MO, OH, OK, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT and VT.

Best for actual human contact: Albert

Though Albert’s primary services are banking and financial services, the app also offers small cash advances of up to $250. Albert users who set up an account with direct deposit can also access their paycheck up to two days early, which can be a lifesaver if you’re struggling to make it to payday.

Albert’s “Genius” membership is unique because it offers direct access to humans via text. However, after a free trial, there’s a monthly fee for “Genius” plans. You determine how much you’re willing to pay, although the minimum rate is $8 per month. And if you don’t contact Albert directly to change your billing, you’ll be billed for a full year, ($96 if you pay the minimum rate) in one lump sum. They will bill monthly, but you have to request it.

Albert has earned a B rating with the BBB.

  • Does Albert check credit: No
  • Does Albert charge interest: No
  • Albert subscription fee: You must subscribe to Genius for cash advances. You set the rate you’re willing to pay, but the minimum is $8 per month
  • Does Albert require Plaid: Yes
  • Time to loan funding: Three to six business days
  • Fee to expedite loan: $6.99

APR estimate: If you borrowed $100, paid the $8 “Genius membership fee,” paid $6.99 to get the money instantly and tipped $1, the APR would be about 391%.


  • No credit check
  • No minimum credit score
  • Advances are available immediately for a fee of $6.99, or in two business days for free
  • Checking account
  • Debit card
  • No fees
  • Genius subscribers get cash back on gas️, groceries, delivery, and more when they use their Albert debit card. Subscribers can earn an average of $2.00 per tank of gas and $1.50 per fast food order.


  • No credit-builder loans
  • No personal or installment loans
  • Small cash advance limit
  • Fee for instant advances
  • Requires Plaid

READ MORE: Apps like Albert

Best for help with budgeting: Brigit

Established in 2019, Brigit is a fast-growing company that offers cash advances to eligible individuals. On Brigit’s BBB page (here), it has a B rating with 1.57/5 stars and 8 customer reviews. However, the app has 4.5/5 on Google Play with 52,000+ reviews. It also has 4.8/5 on the Apple App Store with 140,000+ reviews.

  • Does Brigit check credit: No
  • Does Brigit charge interest: No
  • Brigit subscription fee: $9.99 per month
  • Does Brigit require Plaid: Yes
  • Time to loan funding: One to three business days
  • Fee to expedite loan: Not disclosed

APR estimate: If you borrowed $100 from Brigit for fourteen days and tipped $1, the APR you’d pay is about 286%, but you’d have to wait to get the money.


  • Up to $250 in cash advance (funds available within 1 business day)
  • No credit check or interest
  • Option to extend the due date on the first loan once without penalty (with up to 3 delayed payments with good borrowing history)
  • Optional automated advances as part of the Brigit Plus plan ($10 monthly fee)
  • Flexible repayment, instant deposit, credit monitoring and identity theft insurance through the Brigit Plus plan
  • Free financial resources (ex. tips and ways to earn more cash)


  • App automatically withdraws the money owed from the next paycheck
  • Must show proof of income with 3+ direct deposits in a row from an employer
  • Active checking account required with a positive balance
  • Must achieve 70/100 on Brigit’s unique scoring system to qualify for cash advance
  • May be difficult to deactivate or close the account
  • Requires Plaid

READ MORE: Apps like Brigit

Best for flexibility: Chime

Chime is a fast-growing fintech company with overwhelmingly positive reviews on Google Play or Apple’s App Stores. On BBB, it has a B rating and is not accredited. Check out Chime’s full BBB page here.

  • Does Chime check credit: No
  • Does Chime charge interest: No
  • Chime subscription fee: None
  • Does Chime require Plaid: Yes
  • Time to loan funding: Instant
  • Fee to expedite loan: None

APR estimate: If you used Chime’s overdraft protection to loan yourself $100 and tipped $1, the APR you’d pay is 26%.


  • Up to $200 cash advance (interest-free)
  • Same-day access to funds via direct deposit
  • No credit or bad credit is OK
  • Full-service bank account for things like cash advances and online bill pay
  • No overdraft, monthly or other hidden fees
  • Provides banking alerts to let you know when you get paid
  • Optional to set up automatic savings for a portion of each paycheck
  • Works in conjunction with other apps while you build financial/credit history
  • 24/7 customer support


  • Low initial cash advance of $20 (increases over time with good money habits)
  • Many recent complaints from customers not receiving funds or accounts being closed without a clear reason
  • Requires Plaid

READ MORE: Apps that work with Chime

Best for building credit: Cleo

Cleo is designed as the “sassy” alternative. The idea is to make it seem like you’re talking to a friend rather than an algorithm. In addition to small cash advances of up to $100, Cleo also offers budgeting help, credit-building accounts and can even identify steps you can take to raise your credit score.

  • Does Cleo check credit: No
  • Does Cleo charge interest: No
  • Cleo subscription fee: $5.99 per month
  • Does Cleo require Plaid: Yes
  • Time to loan funding: Up to four days
  • Fee to expedite loan: $4

APR estimate: If you borrow $100 for 14 days, pay $4 to have the money expedited and tipped $1, the APR you’d pay is about 286%.


  • Helps with setting up budgets and establishing goals
  • Can help discourage overspending
  • Earn cash back when shopping through the app
  • Automatic saving
  • Payday advances, but only if you subscribe to the premium plan
  • Privacy protections


  • AI-powered
  • Not insured by the FDIC
  • Money in your Cleo Wallet doesn’t earn interest
  • The premium plan is $5.99 per month, which is a lot for loans capped at $100
  • No investing help
  • No free savings account

READ MORE: Apps like Cleo

Best for improving your financial weak spots: Dave

With over a million active members, the Dave app offers a highly reputable online checking account that also offers cash advances of up to $500. It is BBB-accredited (check it out here) with a B rating. It only has 1.27/5 stars out of 218 customer reviews on BBB. However, it has 4.8/5 on the Apple App Store with 490,000+ reviews and a similar score on Google Play.

  • Does Dave check credit: No
  • Does Dave charge interest: No
  • Dave subscription fee: $1 per month
  • Does Dave require Plaid: No, Dave works with both Plaid or Galileo
  • Time to loan funding: Three business days
  • Fee to expedite loan: $1.99 to $13.99

APR estimate: If you borrow $100, pay $3.99 to have it expedited, the $1 per month subscription fee and tip $1, the APR you’d pay is about 156%.


  • Up to $200 cash advance to avoid account overdraft
  • No credit check
  • No interest
  • Automatic budgeting based on average expenses
  • Free (optional) subscription to LevelCredit, which reports payments and financial activity to the credit bureaus to help build credit
  • No minimum account balance required
  • Charity-focused company that makes monthly donations 
  • Average users save around $500 in yearly fees
  • Free budgeting tools and other resources
  • Will work without Plaid


  • $1 monthly membership fee (plus optional tips)
  • Automatic withdrawal to repay the cash advance
  • Credit-building option only available to those with direct deposits and a Dave Spending Account
  • Some concerns related to billing and product issues, though this is common among all cash advance apps

READ MORE: Apps like Dave

Best for paying as little as possible to borrow: Earnin

A highly reputable lender with largely positive reviews, Earnin has been in business for the past eight years. It has around 1.3 million active users. On BBB (page found here), Earnin is accredited with an A rating and 4.06/5 stars.

  • Does Earnin check credit: No
  • Does Earnin charge interest: No
  • Earnin subscription fee: None
  • Does Earnin require Plaid: Yes
  • Time to loan funding: One to two business days
  • Fee to expedite loan: $1.99 to $3.99

APR estimate: If you borrow $100, pay $1.99 to have the money expedited and tip $1, the APR would be about 78%.


  • Maximum $100 a day or $500 per pay period cash advance
  • No credit score required
  • Interest-free cash advance
  • No hidden fees
  • Customer-first approach
  • Can get up to 10% cashback by linking a valid credit card (at participating locations)
  • Operated through FDIC-insured institution
  • Alerts for low account balance with the option for automatic $100 cash advance to avoid overdraft fees


  • Must get paid regularly (monthly or biweekly)
  • Despite high ratings, some customers experience problems with the app and billing
  • Automatically withdraws the balance owed (plus optional tips) from the next paycheck   
  • Requires Plaid

Best if you also need extra money management help: Empower

Empower is more than a cash advance app. It is a growing fintech company that offers automatic savings and budgeting tools, plus access to a large network of ATMs. Its website promises that, “The Empower Card is the only card you’ll ever need.”

  • Does Empower check credit: No
  • Does Empower charge interest: No
  • Empower subscription fee: $8 per month
  • Does FloatMe require Plaid: Yes
  • Time to loan funding: One business day
  • Fee to expedite loan: $1 to $8

APR range: If you borrow $100, pay $3 to expedite the money, the $8 subscription free and a $1 tip, the APR you’re paying is about 312%.


  • Cash advances of up to $250 with no interest
  • Collect your wages up to two days faster (this is separate from the cash advance feature)
  • Empower Perks let you earn up to 10% cash back on places where you already spend money and items you already buy
  • Get unlimited access to more than 37,000 MoneyPass ATMs across the United States
  • You’ll pay no overdraft fees or insufficient funds fees, and there are no account minimums
  • Automatic Savings feature keeps track of your income and expenses, then — using that information — will transfer money into your AutoSave account.


  • The monthly fee of $8 is more expensive than some of the other options
  • There’s no way to deposit cash or checks into your Empower account
  • It’s a mobile app only; there is no desktop version
  • Requires Plaid

READ MORE: Apps like Empower

Best for speed: FloatMe

FloatMe will loan, or “float” you $50 until payday. The money can be used however you like. FloatMe’s paycheck advance cap is no joke. The maximum advance is $50. The money is then transferred to your bank account. FloatMe connects to your bank account and analyzes your transactions. If you meet their criteria, you will be approved for a “float.” FloatMe is only available to people who are employed and can verify that they are employed by W-2 employers

  • Does FloatMe check credit: No
  • Does FloatMe charge interest: No
  • FloatMe subscription fee: $1.99 per month
  • Does FloatMe require Plaid: Yes
  • Time to loan funding: As little as an hour but up to three business days, depending on your bank
  • Fee to expedite loan: None

APR range: If you borrow $50, pay the subscription fee and tip $1, your APR would be about 78%.


  • Easy to use
  • Money transfers are fast if your bank is compatible
  • No interest or late fees


  • FloatMe has no extra features
  • The app isn’t free. After your first month, you’ll need to pay a monthly fee of $1.99 to keep your account active, whether you use the service in a given month.
  • FloatMe is only available for people who work for W-2 employers. If you’re a gig worker or freelancer/self-employed, you’ll have to choose a different app
  • FloatMe won’t help you build credit.
  • You can’t use the service if your bank isn’t compatible with Plaid.

READ MORE: Apps like FloatMe

Best for personal security: Klover

Klover says it’s mission is to give everyone access to modern financial services by leveraging their most valuable asset, their data.

“We don’t sell your personal information. Ever. We keep your data secure,” they pledge. Klover offers small cash advances of up to $100, according to information on the website, or $150 according to information in the app.

Klover uses a points system to increase the limit users can borrow. Points begin to accrue the moment the customer signs up, and they continue to increase with regular app use.

Klover charges a membership fee of $2.49 per month, and to avoid any fees on your cash advance, you may have to wait up to three business days to get the money. If you need cash more quickly, you’ll have to pay an express fee based on how much money you need to transfer. The smallest transfers will cost $1.99 while the largest can cost up to $14.98.

  • Does Klover check credit: No
  • Does Klover charge interest: No
  • Klover subscription fee: $2.49 per month
  • Does Klover require Plaid: Yes
  • Time to loan funding: Up to three business days
  • Fee to expedite loan: $1.99 to $14.98

APR range: If you borrow $100 from Klover, pay the $2.49 membership fee, tip $1 and pay $14.98 to expedite the money, the APR is about 456%.


  • Klover allows borrowers to increase their borrowing limit by completing simple tasks like watching an ad or scanning receipts
  • No credit check
  • Activating, reactivating or closing an account is simple


  • Klover does not allow any extensions on repaying the cash advance
    Borrowing with Klover does not help build credit
  • Klover does not report to any of the three credit bureaus
    Klover’s borrowing limit is low
    Klover does not support all financial institutions, such as BECU (a credit union originally established to serve employees of The Boeing Company) or SECU (State Employees’ Credit Union).
  • Requires Plaid

READ MORE: Is Klover legit

Best for multiple financial products: MoneyLion Instacash

MoneyLion is an online banking service that offers savings accounts, investment accounts and cash advances. It has a B- rating on its BBB page (found here) and is not accredited. On BBB, it has 4.69/5 stars with over 2,400 customer reviews.

  • Does MoneyLion check credit: No
  • Does MoneyLion charge interest: No
  • MoneyLion subscription fee: None
  • Does MoneyLion require Plaid: Yes
  • Time to loan funding: One to two business days
  • Fee to expedite loan: $.99 to $8.99

APR range: If you borrow $100 and pay $5 to expedite the money, plus tip $1, you’ll pay an APR of about 156%


  • More than a cash advance app with the RoarMoney account, a savings account and an ETF (exchange-traded funds) investment account
  • $250 borrowing limit with instant access to funds through its Instacash feature
  • No credit check
  • No interest
  • 24/7 Instacash feature for cash advances
  • Access to paycheck up to 24 hours early via RoarMoney account
  • No account minimum balance
  • Option to build investment portfolio based on individual risk tolerance
  • Cashback rewards through RoarMoney account
  • Optional Credit Builder Plus account for those who need a loan up to $1,000 and want to build credit


  • $1 monthly administrative fee for the RoarMoney account
  • $1 monthly fee for the ETF account
  • 5.99% to 29.99% APR on Credit Builder Plus account
  • Credit Build Plus account costs $19.99 a month
  • Some recent complaints involving payment issues and poor customer service
  • Requires Plaid

READ MORE: Apps like MoneyLion

Best for taking out a large cash advance: Possible

Possible is an app that primarily offers short-term installment loans to consumers. Instead of repaying the full amount from your next paycheck, you make four equal payments over eight weeks. Loans are capped at $500. It is BBB-accredited with an A- rating and 4.53/5 stars. Check out the reviews here.

  • Does Possible check credit: No
  • Does Possible charge interest: No
  • Possible subscription fee: None, but each loan includes a 2% origination fee
  • Does Possible require Plaid: Yes
  • Time to loan funding: Up to five business days
  • Fee to expedite loan: N/A

APR range: If you borrow $100 from Possible and pay it back over eight weeks, and tip $1, the APR would be about 18%.


  • Loan amounts are larger than average: They’ll advance up to $500 within minutes (minimum $50)
  • No credit score required
  • It may be used to rebuild credit
  • Avoid overdraft fees
  • Flexible repayment terms with optional delayed payment


  • Only available in the following states: Alabama, California, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Vermont
  • App links to a checking account
  • Loan terms vary based on state
  • Installment loan with higher interest rates (up to 257.00% APR)
  • Cash advance amount varies by state and may be smaller depending on where you live
  • Requires Plaid

READ MORE: Apps like Possible

Best for fast access to your paycheck: Varo

Varo is a full-service online bank known for granting users early access to their paycheck. It also offers cash advances, but you will start out at $20 and have to work your way up. It is BBB-accredited with an A+ rating and 3.92/5 stars out of 377 customer reviews. Check out Varo’s official BBB page here.

  • Does Varo check credit: No
  • Does Varo charge interest: No
  • Varo subscription fee: Advances up to $20 are free. The fee for subsequent advances of more than $20 ranges from $3 to $12.50.
  • Does Varo require Plaid: Yes
  • Time to loan funding: One to four business days, but almost immediate if you bank with Varo
  • Fee to expedite loan: None

APR range: If you borrow $100, pay $12.50 for expedited service and tip $1, your APR would be about 352%.


  • Up to $100 in cash advance (minimum $20)
  • Complete online banking service
  • Up to $100 cash advance (minimum $20)
  • With direct deposit, you can access your paycheck as soon as your employer transfers the money over (up to 2 days earlier than anyone else)
  • No interest or hidden fees
  • No credit check required
  • No minimum Varo bank account balance
  • Early access to tax refund through direct deposit


  • Small cash advance limit
  • Some complaints with using the service
  • Must have an active bank account at least 1 month old with at least $1,000 in monthly direct deposits
  • Requires Plaid

READ MORE: Apps that work with Varo

If none of these will work for you, the number of options is constantly increasing. Other apps include: Kora, Current, Vola, Gerald, B9, Line, Cash App Borrow, Grid Pay Boost, Loan Hunter and Hundy (which is not currently issuing advances but says it hopes to be back soon.)

Can’t wait until payday? Try these earned-wage apps

These apps allow access to your paycheck before payday, but your employer has to participate, so they aren’t available to everyone.

Best loan app that requires your employer to sign up: Even Instapay

Created by Walmart in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Even is more than just a cash advance app. It’s also a financial planning tool designed to help users budget and save money. The app works by getting payroll information from a qualifying employer to provide a small cash advance.

Even is BBB-accredited (check out the BBB page here) with an A+ rating. However, there are no customer reviews on the site. On the Apple App Store, Even has 4.9/5 stars. It has 4.8/5 stars on Google Play.


  • Instapay, a feature of the Even app, gives immediate access to money that’s been earned but not yet paid
  • Maximum 50% of earned wages available
  • No interest on cash advance
  • Funds are available for pick up at any US Walmart or via direct deposit within 1 business day
  • May get an advance with a joint bank account
  • Easy online application
  • Free online financial tools to help track money, spending habits and set up a budget
  • Option to automatically set aside money for savings


  • $8 a month Even Plus membership fee to qualify for an Instapay cash advance
  • Instapay only offered through an eligible employer
  • Active bank account and debit card access required
  • Must have a regular source of income with direct deposit
  • Variable loan terms
  • Vague on which employers are eligible

Runner up: DailyPay

With DailyPay, employees build a balance with each hour of work they complete. They can then dip into that balance before payday.


  • You can access your pay from Day 1, and have it sent to any account instantly or on the next business day.
  • No late fees, overdraft fees or payday loan interest and fees.
  • You can transfer money at any time
  • Other financial tools and services are available


  • If your employer doesn’t participate, you can’t use the service
  • It’s free to sign up, but you pay $1.25 every time you transfer money

More options

Pro tip: All of the above apps integrate with your bank through a service called Plaid. It’s possible that your bank isn’t compatible with Plaid (some of the biggest banks, including PNC and Capital One, will not work with Plaid). Don’t be discouraged — you still have a few options for a quick cash advance. Dave offers an alternate way to connect if your bank isn’t compatible with Plaid, and these others work without it: B9, Venmo, Cash App Borrow, Line, Grid Pay Boost and BranchApp (this one is an employer-sponsored earned wage app.)

Is a paycheck advance your best option?

Choosing the app that works best for you requires a bit of research. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you need immediate cash?
  • Does your employer participate in an earned-wage access app?
  • Are you looking for something that also provides banking features and a debit card?
  • Do you have a steady source of income?
  • How much are you willing to pay for a monthly subscription?
  • Are you willing to switch any direct deposits to the new account?
  • Can you realistically afford to pay it back when your next paycheck is deposited?
  • Are you using this to pay a different cash advance or payday loan (or more than one)?
  • Is your credit score 650 or higher? (If so, you may be better off applying for an installment loan. Online applications mean the funds can sometimes hit your bank account by the next business day.)

Once you know the answers, use this breakdown to determine which app best meets your particular needs.

READ MORE: If you need money now, here are some resources

What to look for in a cash advance app

Although most cash advance apps operate under the same kind of idea, not all are created equal. Here’s what to look for when deciding on which cash advance app to use:

  • Borrowing limits: Most apps have a borrowing limit between $100 and $500. Some apps have a lower starting limit that can increase with time and use. Check the requirements to see how much you can borrow.
  • Turnaround time: Depending on the app, you could receive the cash advance within minutes of requesting it. Or it could take a couple of business days to come through. Some apps have a premium option for instant funding, but this usually includes a small fee.
  • Fees: For the most part, cash advance apps are free to use. They also don’t usually charge interest since they aren’t a real loan. Some apps do have a feature for an optional tip (usually a few dollars) to help keep them running. Other apps, and those with premium features, may charge anywhere from $1 to $10 a month.
  • Requirements: Most apps have minimal eligibility requirements. Common requirements include a minimum credit score, direct deposit from a regular employer and an active bank account. Most apps require users to be 16+ years old and a U.S. citizen.
  • Other features: Many apps offer online financial resources and tools to help users with budgeting, saving and spending. Some apps operate more like a traditional bank with a checking and savings account. A few apps offer an investment account and ways to build a diverse portfolio.
  • Reviews: If a cash advance app sounds too good to be true, chances are it is. Check out online reviews at sites like BBB.org, Google Play Store and the Apple App Store to see what users are saying.

Real-world success stories

  • Dave: “I have used Dave before when I was in a financial bind and it really helped me out,” said Danny Trichter, co-founder of accessibilitychecker.org. “I didn’t have to worry about late fees or over-drafting my account. I do think there are risks involved with relying on these apps too much. If you’re not careful, you can easily get into a cycle of debt. So I would recommend use them sparingly and only when you absolutely need to.”
  • Earnin: Jen Jones, a professional dog trainer, chose Earnin and was pleased with how it worked out. “I was able to get a loan of $1,000 in just a few minutes,” she said. “Getting approved for a small loan was fairly easy and it was delivered to me quickly.” Jones said that what stood out for her was how she could track her loan from bank account to bank account. One fallback she mentioned was that the interest rate is relatively high.
  • MoneyLion: Jennifer Spinelli, founder & CEO of Watson Buys, based in Denver, Colo., chose to use MoneyLion. “They offer a quick and easy way to get cash when you need it,” she said, adding that the fees add up, so borrowers must use the apps wisely.

For more information on some other payday loan alternatives, watch this video:

Cash advance apps vs. payday loans

Due to the advent of fintech (financial technology), people no longer have to rely solely on a trip to the bank branch or storefront lender for a loan. Now, mobile banking allows many companies to offer financial services and products online.

Cash advance apps, sometimes known as payday advance apps, are one of the most popular digital financial services out there. These apps provide almost instant cash, giving users access to money they’ve already earned but haven’t yet received from their upcoming paycheck. A cash advance app could be a good option for people who need to pay a bill before payday or have a financial emergency.

Most cash advance apps are free to use, though some charge a small membership or monthly fee. Unlike many lenders, very few cash advance apps charge interest or loan origination fees. Even those apps that do charge a small fee are usually much more affordable than other short-term loan options.

Pro tip: That doesn’t mean cash advance apps are a long-term solution. Regular advances of $100 can add up over time, especially if you regularly take out an advance from your paycheck and don’t have a plan in place to pay it back on payday.

Also, keep in mind that some companies claim to offer cash advances, but they operate more like payday lenders with sky-high fees and unreasonable loan terms.

Unlike many other short-term lenders, the cash advance apps we’re recommending are highly reputable and legitimate.

Long-term risks of cash advance apps

Cash advance apps have minimal risks in the short term or with one-time or occasional use. However, relying on these apps over and over again comes with some serious financial risks.

For one thing, even the small fees that come with some cash advance apps can add up. A dollar or two may not seem like much at first, but if you’re already struggling to keep up with your monthly bills, every little bit counts. The more you spend on things like instant funds, administrative fees or even tips, the less you have for your next paycheck.

For example, say you borrow $150 from your paycheck to help cover the following month’s electricity bill. When you get paid again, the app deducts that $150 (plus any tips) from your paycheck. This deduction could make it difficult for you to pay for upcoming bills or groceries.

The bottom line

Ultimately, if you rely heavily on short-term personal finance options like cash advances, you may need to step back and look at the bigger picture. You may need to explore a longer-term fix like debt consolidation, a personal loan or finding a side hustle. If you only need them every now and then to make ends meet, a cash advance shouldn’t come with major risks.


What happens if you don’t repay a cash advance app?

Failure to pay back a cash advance app may get you banned from using the service. However, though the app doesn’t charge fees, it will continue trying to withdraw money from your bank account, which could rack up overdraft fees.

What if a payday advance app doesn’t lend me enough?

Unfortunately, the loan amounts offered by cash advance apps are very small. If you need to borrow more than the maximum amount, you’ll need to apply for personal loans or try a credit card cash advance.

What’s the difference between a cash advance app and a payday loan?

A cash advance is a short-term cash loan you take out through your credit card. A payday loan is a short-term loan that typically comes with just a few application requirements and a quick turnaround time.

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