FloatMe review: What you need to know
FloatMe is a paycheck advance app that loans, or “floats” you $50 until payday. You can use the money however you need to, whether it’s to buy groceries, fill up the gas tank or pay a bill.
Here are some of FloatMe’s key features:
- FloatMe doesn’t charge interest: FloatMe will withdraw the loan from your next paycheck, but if you can’t afford to pay back the entire $50 in a lump sum, you can make arrangements for a partial payment to prevent an overdraft.
- Membership fee: FloatMe charges a membership fee of $1.99 a month to qualify for “floats,” but you can cancel at any time.
- Fast funding: It can take up to three business days to get your float, but depending on your bank, you may be able to get the money within an hour.
- Low borrowing amount: You’ll probably only be eligible to borrow between $10 to $30 to start. The loans max out at $50.
- No credit check: FloatMe doesn’t care about your credit history, and your score won’t be dragged down by a hard pull when you apply.
- You must have a W-2: Self-employed workers aren’t eligible. Borrowers also must earn at least $200 per paycheck, and the paycheck must be direct-deposited into a bank account.
- Keeps tabs on your bank balance: FloatMe will monitor your bank account and alert you when your balance is low, so you can avoid overdraft fees.
- Bank account access: Keep in mind that FloatMe will have access to your account, and will automatically debit you when your payment is due.
- FloatMe won’t help you build credit: Because FloatMe doesn’t report payments to any of the three major credit bureaus, the loans won’t help improve your credit history — even if you make your payments on time.
- Helps you build savings: FloatMe has some features that can help you set aside a small bit of money each payday in order to build a small emergency fund.
How does FloatMe work?
The FloatMe experience
How long does it take to get your float?
Does FloatMe use Plaid?
FloatMe uses Plaid to securely connect your bank accounts. Plaid is a service that securely connects your bank accounts to various apps. Unfortunately, not all financial institutions are compatible with Plaid. Chase, Capital One, and PNC are among the major banks that are not compatible with Plaid. If you bank through one of these, you will have to switch banks in order to use FloatMe.
Pros and cons of using FloatMe
- FloatMe excels at what it does. The app is super easy to use. Your floats (hopefully) won’t take forever to process or be deposited.
- There are no interest or late fees.
- There is no credit check.
- FloatMe only does one thing. You can borrow up to $50 at a time. That’s it.
- 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 are out of luck and will need to use a different app.
- FloatMe won’t help you build credit.
- You can’t use the service if your bank isn’t compatible with Plaid.
What is a cash advance app?
Here are a few of the best cash advance apps like FloatMe
- Albert lets you borrow up to $250.
- Offers a $150 sign-up bonus when you meet the qualifications.
- No Credit Check
- No Fees (unless you want to pay to get your advance faster)
- Also offers banking, balance monitoring, and help with investing
- Offers cool perks to Pro Plan members, like cash back and help with bill negotiations.
- Pro Plan is pay what you want, anywhere from $6 to $16 per month.
- Brigit offers advances up to $250.
- No credit check
- No fees
- Offers a bunch of extra services like financial advice, help finding gig work, etc.
- Pro Plan is $9.99 per month and includes identity theft protection, flexible repayment plans, and more.
- First-time Cleo borrowers get up to $70
- If you want an advance, you have to opt-in to the premium plan, which is $5.99/month
- No credit check
- No fees
- App has a conversational approach and offers to critique your spending and saving habits, encourage you to save, celebrate your wins, etc.
- Dave offers advances up to $200.
- No credit check
- Costs $1 per month. Doesn’t have a free plan.
- App offers banking and balance monitoring. Also, apps like Dave offer an extra financial service by reporting on-time bill payments to the credit bureaus. This can you boost your credit score.
- Earnin caps advances at $100 per day and $500 per pay period.
- No credit check
- No fee, unless you want to speed up your advance deposit
- Lots of awesome extra services like Balance Shield, which monitors your bank account and notifies you it gets too low.
Empower Cash Advance
- Empower offers advances up to $250
- No credit check
- Membership costs $8/month, but there’s no pro plan.
- Also offers banking services and cash back when you use their debit card
- Klover offers advances of up to $100
- No credit check
- $2.49/month if you want to upgrade to Klover+
- No fees or perks
- You can complete micro-tasks like watching ads to increase the amount you can get in advance.
- MoneyLion’s cash advance program is called Instacash
- Offers up to $250 in Instacash advances
- No credit check for Instacash
- No fees for Instacash unless you want “turbo” services. Then the fee is based on the amount of your advance
- Also offers banking, credit building, financial planning, crypto and investing services for additional fees.
- Possible allows loans up to $500.
- Does a credit check
- The fees are $10 to $25 per $100 advanced, depending on where you live.
- No other plans, perks, or services
Online banking apps
Best apps that require your employer to sign up
- Amazon Anytime Pay
- Axos Bank Direct Deposit Express
- Even Instapay
Peer-to-peer loan apps
- SoLo Funds combines lending and social media in a way that is very intriguing. Here’s how the platform works: Hopeful borrowers create listings that ask for money. Lenders then browse the listings and send money to the people whose listings they like best.
- LenMe is the inverse of Solo Funds. With LenMe, hopeful borrowers post their requests and then the lenders compete to offer those borrowers the best deals. The borrowers decide which loan to take.
- Zirtue is more of a facilitator/middle-person platform. You request a loan from someone you already know. They agree to lend you the money. Zirtue acts as the go-between to ensure that rates are fair, payments are made on time, etc.
How do payday cash advances work?
Tips are OPTIONAL
Why are loan apps like FloatMe better than payday loans?
- Loan apps are cheaper than payday loans
- There are no hidden fees or astronomical interest rates (though you may have to pay a small subscription fee)
- The companies behind the apps want you to improve your finances, not get stuck in a debt trap.
- The repayment terms are better.
- You are unlikely to ever get sent to collections if you can’t make your payments on time. Most apps have extension requests built into them just for this reason.
How quickly can I get my cash advance?
This will depend upon the app. Most of the time deposits take a couple of business days to arrive. A lot of apps, however, will agree to send the money faster if you agree to pay a small fee.
What to look for in a cash advance app like FloatMe
- Borrowing limits: Find out how much you can borrow at once. The biggest drawback with FloatMe is that you can’t borrow more than $50.
- Turnaround time: How quickly will you get your money? With some apps, funds are available almost instantly, but it can sometimes take a couple of business days. With FloatMe, it varies. If you choose to subscribe, it’s probably best to test it out before you run into a situation where you truly need the advance.
- Fees: FloatMe does have a small monthly membership fee. Other apps, though, don’t! And very few of them charge interest or late fees … unless you want your advance expedited. Then you can expect to pay a few bucks extra.
- Eligibility requirements: Are you at least 18? Are you a legal citizen of the United States? Do you have a bank account that’s more than a few months old? Can you prove these things? Then you’ll probably qualify for a cash advance app. The requirements for these apps are very low.
- Other features: FloatMe just gives you an advance on your next paycheck. That’s it. Other apps, though, offer banking services, financial monitoring, budgeting tools, etc. If you want an all-in-one app, those do exist!
- Reviews: What are people saying about the cash app? FloatMe, for example, has nearly five-star ratings in both the Google Play and the Apple app stores.
- Will the app help me build credit? FloatMe will not help your credit score. Other apps offer this service, though!
The bottom line
One of the reasons so many people end up in payday loan traps is that they borrow more than they actually need. FloatMe wants to remove this temptation. That’s why users can only float up to $50 at a time. Other apps have similar borrowing limits — especially for first-time applicants. FloatMe’s goal (and other cash advance apps share it) is to help you improve your finances for the long term so that you don’t need them anymore.
Start by tracking every single penny you spend over the course of a month. This will help you figure out where your money is currently going. Then you can figure out where cuts can be made.
It’s also worth figuring out why you spend money. For example, do you buy yourself a little treat after a hard day at work? It’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do, and a perfect pick-me-up…if it only happens occasionally. If every day at work is hard, you might find yourself spending less if you found a different job or moved to a different department.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. They’re the agency that protects people’s money, should something happen to the bank that holds it.
Some of the employer-sponsored advance apps do offer refillable prepaid cards. Most of the personal cash advance apps, however, don’t. They can’t, because their systems depend on communication between their platforms and your bank or credit union in order to process transactions.