Cash Advance Apps Like Dave: Here Are 14 Other Options

It happens to everybody: despite your best budgeting efforts, you find yourself short on cash and payday is still a few days away. You don’t want to take out a personal or a payday loan. Surely, there must be a different and better option, right? 

There is! It’s called the cash advance app and it’s designed for situations exactly like this one. Dave is one of the most popular, but there are several others that have different benefits. Here are 14 other online banking options.

Here are a few of the best cash advance apps like Dave:

Dave is a popular option for cash advances, but it’s not the only cash advance app out there. Far from it! There are other apps that offer similar services. Here are some of the most trustworthy cash advance apps currently in operation:

MoneyLion

In addition to a cash advance, which it calls “Instacash”, MoneyLion offers a checking account, credit building, and much more. It offers so many options, it can feel overwhelming!

For its Instacash customers, the process is straightforward. Like Dave, you need to link your bank account directly to the app. If you have a steady income or qualifying deposits, you’ll be approved for an advance. New users are usually limited to $25 for their first advance. As they build a history with the app, however, they can increase their borrowing limit to $250. 

Cash advance specs:

  • Credit check: No
  • Minimum credit score: N/A
  • Maximum advance: $25-$250, more if you have their “Roar!” checking account.

Other stuff MoneyLion offers:

  • Checking account?: Yes (the aforementioned “Roar!”)
  • Debit/ATM card? Yes
  • Credit builder loans? Yes
  • Overdraft/Returned Payment fees: None
  • Installment or Personal Loans?: No
  • Cashback/Other incentives? It depends on the product 

Earnin

Earnin bills itself as the app that lets you “get access to money as soon as you earn it.” The app lets you advance up to $100 per day and $500 per pay period. The app also offers a product called Balance Shield, which links to your bank account. With it, you choose a minimum account balance that you want to maintain. When you get close to that amount, the Earnin app will send you a notification and let you know how much you can advance to keep your account from over drafting. 

Here’s what else you need to know

Cash advance specs:

  • Credit check: No
  • Minimum credit score: N/A
  • Maximum advance: $100 per day, $500 per pay period

Other Earnin offers:

  • Checking account: Kind of? Earnin offers a savings account called “WeWin” that lets users “tip” themselves. 
  • Debit/ATM card? No
  • Credit builder loans? No
  • Overdraft/Returned Payment fees: None
  • Installment or Personal Loans?: No
  • Cashback/Other incentives? “WeWin” members are entered for a chance to win money every time their account increases by $10.

Brigit

Like MoneyLion, Brigit offers users a variety of different products and tools to help them stay on track financially. For users who don’t mind paying a monthly fee, Brigit also offers help with building credit, budgeting, even finding part-time or gig work. Here’s the important info:

Cash Advance specs:

  • Credit check: No
  • Minimum credit score: N/A
  • Maximum advance: up to $250, depending on your “Brigit Score.”

Other Brigit offers:

  • Checking account?: No
  • Debit/ATM card? No
  • Credit builder loan: Yes
  • Overdraft/Returned Payment fees: No

Empower Cash Advance

Like the apps mentioned so far, Empower acts more like a bank/money manager than a lender. If you would just like help to manage your money, Empower connects to all your existing accounts and helps you track your spending and saving from a single location. If you’re interested in the cash advance, you’ll need to open an account. Here’s the important stuff:

Empower Cash Advance specs:

  • Credit check: No
  • Minimum credit score: N/A
  • Maximum advance: up to $250.

Other Empower offers:

  • Checking account?: Yes
  • Debit/ATM card? Yes
  • Credit builder loan: No
  • Overdraft/Returned Payment fees: No
  • Other perks: Cashback (up to 10%), budgeting tools, etc.

Ingo Money

Nobody wants to pay the fees charged by most check cashing places. This is where Ingo Money can come in handy. The Ingo app lets you take a photo of the check and then have the check’s amount deposited wherever you want. You can deposit into PayPal, your bank account, a pre-paid card, etc. 

If you’re able to wait ten days, the deposit is free. If you need the money immediately, there is a fee. The fee is between $5 and 5% of the check. The amount you pay will depend upon the type of check you’re cashing and its amount. 


Possible

Possible Finance insists that it’s a better alternative to payday and installment loans. This is true, but only barely. Like payday and installment loans, Possible loans are only offered in small amounts and the interest rates are very high.

First-time borrowers will only be approved for up to $500 and the interest rates are 150%-200%, depending on where you live, the amount you borrow, etc. This is much lower than you’d pay a payday lender but much higher than you would pay any of the other apps listed here.


What is Dave?

Dave is one of the most popular cash advance apps currently on the market. It offers cash advances up to $75-$100 for people to help them prevent their bank accounts from over-drafting while they are waiting for their next paycheck. The company also offers a checking account to people who might have trouble getting (or do not want to use) traditional bank accounts.

Pros and cons of using the Dave app

Pros: Dave’s biggest pro is that it learns your spending habits. That sounds a bit invasive, but the information it learns is used to help you keep better track of your money. It does this by letting you know if your account gets below a certain amount and if you have an automatic payment coming up but don’t currently have enough in your account to cover it. 

Dave also offers Dave Banking, a cash management account that’s similar to an online checking account. If you choose to use Dave Banking, you’ll get a Visa debit card and access to a network of fee-free ATMs. There’s no minimum deposit requirement to open a Dave Banking account.

Other pros include: 

  • No interest charges
  • Easy qualification terms
  • Dave doesn’t charge late fees
  • No credit check
  • Much cheaper than dealing with an overdraft fee

Cons: The biggest drawback to using Dave is the same as its biggest benefit: it requires access to your bank account and tracks your spending habits. Not everybody loves sharing that information.

Other cons include:

  • Monthly membership fee (it’s only $1, but every bit counts)
  • Only offers small loans ($100)
  • Automatically withdraws payments for both advances and monthly fees from your bank account

Other popular online banking options

While there aren’t cash advance apps, these two banking options offer some longer-term financial solutions.

Avant

Avant offers personal loans and credit cards and has an app. It can be a good option for debt consolidation. Here’s what you need to know:

Personal Loan specs:

  • Credit check: Yes
  • Minimum credit score: 550
  • Maximum loan $2K-$35K depending on criteria
  • APR: 9.95%-35.95%

Other Avant offers:

  • Checking account?: Nope
  • Debit/ATM card? Nope
  • Credit builder loans? Not officially, but the personal loans can help you build credit.
  • Overdraft/Returned Payment fees: Varies by state. Here is where to look for your state’s fee schedule
  • Other products: Credit card

Chime

Chime is a bank account that allows its users to access their paychecks a few days early—with qualifying direct deposits of course. The company also has a product they call “Spot Me.” “Spot Me” is a sort of overdraft protection that allows users to overdraft their accounts without facing any penalties. The amount a user is allowed to overdraft depends on a variety of factors. 

Chime also offers a savings account and a credit building account.

Chime account specs:

  • Credit check: Yes
  • Minimum credit score: No. Chime doesn’t run credit checks.
  • Maximum loan: Chime doesn’t loan money directly, but there are a few cash advance apps that work with Chime, including Dave and MoneyLion.

Other Chime offers:

  • Checking account?: Yes
  • Debit/ATM card? Yes, with a credit builder loan
  • Credit builder loans? Yes
  • Overdraft/Returned Payment fees: No

Apps like Dave that connect you with lenders

If you need more than a couple hundred bucks to tide you over, you most likely need a personal loan. Apps like Dave and a few of the others on our list can connect you with a variety of lenders and help you pre-qualify for loans. Here are a few other “lender aggregators” you can try.

LenMe

LenMe is a peer-to-peer (P2P) market. Borrowers submit a request for the loan they need and then Lenders compete to provide that loan at good rates. The Borrower chooses the loan they want and LenMe does the rest. It manages the transfer of funds between the Lender and the Borrower, allows borrowers to manage and change repayment details in their apps, etc. 

LenMe also offers products for investing and for small businesses. 

LenMe’s requirements:

  • Social Security number
  • Online bank account
  • Valid government-issued ID

PockBox

If you’ve ever tried to apply for a “quick” loan online before, you’ve probably visited sites and used apps like PockBox. PockBox acts as an intermediary between hopeful borrowers and lenders. You fill out an application on the PockBox site (or app) and then PockBox sends your information out to its lending contacts. If you meet a lender’s criteria, they will offer you a loan and you finish the process with them. 

The criteria PockBox requires is lenient: 

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • You must be a U.S. Citizen
  • You must be employed and bring in at least $800/month
  • You must have a checking account

LoanSolo

LoanSolo is a typical loan matching service. This one, however, has even easier-to-meet requirements than PockBox! 

LoanSolo’s requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be employed/have a steady source of income (no minimum listed)
  • Have a bank account that accepts direct deposit (even PayPal does that)

Employer-sponsored cash advance apps

It’s possible that your employer has already teamed up with a cash advance app service to help you manage your money. These are especially popular among employers of “on-demand” workers, like rideshare drivers, delivery drivers, etc. 

Even Instapay

Even Instapay is an app that allows someone to access the money they have already earned at work, even before payday. Even works with employers to track employees’ time and wages. Employees can log into their Instapay app to see how much money they have earned so far during that pay period. If the employee needs the money before payday, they simply request it. The employee doesn’t have to pay taxes or fees on their advance. All of that is taken care of by the employer.

Unfortunately, right now, Even Instapay is not available for individuals or the self-employed. It is only available through your employer. The other drawback: you’ll have to pay the $8 Even Plus membership fee to qualify for an Instapay cash advance.

Branch

Like Even Instapay, Branch is a tool that employers can use to allow employees to access their wages as soon as they are earned. What makes Branch great is that it is also set up for people who employ gig workers and independent contractors. 

In addition to on-demand payments, Branch also offers resources like tip and mileage trackers to help with reimbursements, off-cycle payments, etc. 

Axos Bank Direct Deposit Express

Axos Bank has grown quite a lot in popularity over the last couple of years. This is probably because of its Direct Deposit Express. While not a cash advance app, Axos Bank’s Direct Deposit Express helps you get your paycheck a couple of days earlier than you usually would. Usually, banks make you wait to access your funds until after your paycheck has cleared. Axos deposits the amount of your paycheck into your account as soon as they get notified of an incoming direct deposit. Then they just keep your deposit when it clears. Viola! Payday a few days early!

Other good options to check out (or to mention to your employer) are:

What is a cash advance app?

A cash advance app — also sometimes called a payday advance app — is a mobile app that will send you money to help you cover your expenses while you’re waiting for your next paycheck. When that next payday arrives, the app will automatically deduct the amount of your advance from your deposit. 

These apps are available on both iPhone (iOS) and Android smartphone systems. Many even have traditional websites you can use if you’re not entirely sure you want to use your phone. 

How do cash advance apps work?

Cash advance apps are tools that allow users to access money that they know is going coming but hasn’t been deposited yet. 

The user sets up an account on the app. This process usually involves some sort of identification verification. For example, you may be asked for the following:

  • Identification (name, SSN, date of birth, etc.)
  • Contact information (address, phone, email)
  • Place of employment and/or employer

Once you’ve verified your identity, you’ll connect the app to your bank accounts. The app then scans those accounts for deposit activity and frequency. The amount a user can request will be determined by what the app finds during its scans. 

Unlike payday loans, installment loans, or even (sometimes) paycheck advances offered by your bank, cash advance apps rarely charge fees for individual loans. Instead, they charge a monthly fee to use their service. 

How quickly can I get my cash advance?

Once you have been approved for an advance, you can submit a request. These apps are designed with the “I need it now” customer in mind, so the money should arrive quickly. Some loans are approved and funds are sent within minutes. Others may take 1-2 business days. If you need the funds immediately and need to bypass a waiting period, some apps will allow you to do so for a small fee.

What to look for in a cash advance app like Dave

Obviously, not all cash advance apps are created equal. Like with any other financial product you’ll want to take some time to do your own research. Here are the details you should look for: 

Borrowing limits

Typically, the borrowing limit is somewhere between $100-$500. Some apps, like Dave, will require users to start with much smaller advances (around $25) to prove they are worth the risk. Over time as you pay these advances back on time, your limit will likely increase. 

Turnaround time

Some apps will have money in reserve and can send it to you within a couple of minutes. Others take a longer time to process requests, and it might take a day or two (or longer). Some will typically take 2-3 business days but allow you to bypass that time if you’re willing to pay a rush fee.

Fees

Speaking of fees, most of these apps typically don’t charge any interest or a flat amount to take out an advance. Instead, some of them will ask users to “tip” the app for use of its service. Others might ask for a monthly subscription fee to help them pay for operations. Monthly subscriptions are relatively low, most are somewhere between $1-$10 per month depending on how many features you access. 

Requirements

Eligibility is usually easy. Most of the time users must be at least 16 years old and be a citizen of the United States. Minimum requirements are few. A few apps might require users to have a minimum credit score or a few direct deposits from the same employer to qualify for advances. 

Other features

How many bells and whistles do you want or need? If you just need a simple app that will lend you $50 to keep your account in the black for a couple of days, an app like Chime or Dave is a good way to go. If you’d like something more robust with budgeting tools, investment and savings help, etc., apps like MoneyLion and Empower are good. 

Reviews

Like most things in life: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Always check out an app’s reputation. Look up the founding company online to see how they make their money. Look for complaints with the BBB as well as in your app store. The app store reviews are especially helpful for finding out if an app is as easy to use as advertised. 

Why are loan apps like Dave better than payday loans?

There are many reasons that cash advance apps are better than payday loans. Apps rarely charge any interest, let alone exorbitant interest. Their repayment terms are flexible. They are easier to access. You get the idea. 

The biggest reason to choose an advance app over a payday lender, though is this: 

The people who make cash advance apps want you to succeed because your success is what will bring in more customers. They won’t need to keep preying on the same users over and over again. 

Payday loans are designed to keep you financially desperate, so you need more payday loans. This is what keeps them in business.

Want to know more about alternatives to payday loans? Check out this video:

The bottom line

Even the best budgeter can find themselves in an “oops” situation toward the end of a pay period. This is what cash advance apps are made for: to help you bridge the gap between paychecks. 

If, however, you find yourself regularly needing help to bridge that gap, or you’re behind on your bills, a cash advance isn’t going to offer a long-term solution. 

Instead, use the other tools these apps offer you to help you focus on your budget and spending habits. If you’re not sure where to start or you feel like you need more help than these apps offer, you might need to talk with a financial adviser. 

Professional advisers and non-profit credit counselors are great resources when you’re in over your head and need help getting back on track.

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