Need Money Fast? 11 Best Cash Advance Apps + Tips for Borrowing

If you think a payday loan is your only option, think again. A cash advance app — also known as a paycheck advance app — can help.

Cash advance apps can be a great alternative to payday loans. With these loan apps, you get a small payday advance for bills, car payments or whatever else can’t wait until the next payday. But unlike payday lenders, most cash advance apps don’t charge interest. Instead, they request that you pay with a “tip,” and some charge a small monthly membership fee.

How do you know which ones are best to help get you back on your feet? Follow along to see which option is best for you.

Our Top Pick: Albert

  • $150 sign-up bonus for new customers
  • There are no costs to borrow (tips optional)
  • Albert provides other banking options

Here are the 11 Best Cash Advance Apps for Instant Cash

While many new cash advance apps are on the market, not all are worth downloading. Here are our top recommendations:

  1. Best for Offering a Signup Bonus: Albert
  2. Best for Offering Extra Financial Tools: Brigit
  3. Best for Building Credit: Cleo
  4. Best for Paying as Little as Possible: Earnin
  5. Best for Extra Perks: Empower Finance
  6. Best for Taking Out a Large Cash Advance: Possible Finance
  7. Best for Improving Other Financial Areas: Dave
  8. Best for Flexibility: MoneyLion
  9. Best for Speed: FloatMe
  10. Best for Transfers with Other Customers: Varo
  11. Best for Increasing the Total You Can Borrow: Klover

Disclaimer: Some or all of the products featured in this article are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. All opinions are our own.

Best for Paying a Signup Bonus: Albert

Albert touts itself as the simple way to bank, save and invest. It’s important to note that even though Albert itself uses the word bank, Albert is not a bank. Albert’s banking services provided by Sutton Bank, Member FDIC. There’s no fee for Albert’s basic service, but you will be strongly encouraged to pay for Albert’s Genius program. Though you can set your own price, $8 is the minimum Albert will accept. Albert will offer you a free trial of Genius. If you forget to cancel, you will be charged for an entire year the next month. In order to prevent this — this is a big out-of-pocket cost for someone looking to borrow $150 — you will have to contact Albert directly. You also will need to plan ahead. It takes a few weeks to become eligible for a small loan until payday.

  • Estimated APR: Albert doesn’t charge interest or fees, unless you need the money immediately, in which case you’ll have to pay a small fee. Albert also accepts tips
  • Minimum Credit Score: N/A
  • Loan Amount: $100-$250

Pros

  • Albert offers a $150 sign-up bonus for any new customer who meets the qualifications
  • There are no costs to borrow (tips optional)
  • Albert provides other banking options
  • Albert offers a debit card
  • Banking services are insured by Sutton Bank, member FDIC
Cons
  • The borrowing limit is low
  • No mobile check deposit
  • It is only available by app

Credit check: No

BBB Rating: B


Best for Offering Extra Financial Tools: Brigit

Brigit connects with your bank account and analyzes two years’ worth of transactions. It then assigns you a “Brigit score.” Your score will determine whether you’re eligible for a cash advance. If you qualify, Brigit will deposit your money by electronic funds transfer (EFT). On your designated repayment date, Brigit automatically withdraws the amount of your advance directly from your bank account. Brigit charges a fee of $9.99 a month, though there is no guarantee you’ll be able to borrow funds immediately. That will depend on your assigned score.

  • Estimated APR: While Brigit doesn’t charge any interest, it’s important to remember that you’ll pay a $9.99 monthly fee, so the cash advance isn’t free
  • Minimum Credit Score: No
  • Loan Amount: $250

Pros

  • The service offers automatic overdraft protection
  • Brigit provides budgeting tools
  • An optional credit monitoring service can be included
  • It’s easy to extend the due date for repayment

Cons

  • Irregular pay schedules aren’t supported

Credit check: No

BBB Rating: B

Read a full Brigit review


Best for Building Credit: Cleo

Cleo brands itself as the money app with a snarky personality. Cleo will even mock you about your spending habits via text. If that sounds like fun, download the mobile app and create an account. You’ll need to connect your bank account through the Plaid platform. Cleo will then analyze your bank activity to decide whether you “qualify” for an advance and, if you do, how much you can borrow. If you accept the advance, the total will be automatically deducted from your next direct deposit. First-time borrowers can qualify for up to $70. There are no interest charges. If you need an “express” advance you’ll pay a $4 fee, but regular ACH transfers are free. Note that to be eligible for cash advances, you must subscribe to Cleo+, the paid version that costs $5.99 per month.

  • Estimated APR: Cleo doesn’t charge interest, the free version doesn’t include cash advances. If you want to borrow cash advances, you have to sign up for Cleo Plus, which costs $6 per month
  • Minimum Credit Score: None
  • Loan Amount: Cash advances up to $100

Pros

  • Cleo offers a secured credit-builder credit card, that helps you give your credit a boost
  • Fast signup
  • Simple to use
  • Offers a cashback program
  • Provides additional protection for your money

Cons

  • You have to give your bank information
  • If you already budget, Cleo may not be for you
  • Monthly fee

Credit check: No

BBB Rating: D

Read a full review of Cleo


Best for Paying as Little as Possible: Earnin

Formerly ActiveHours, the goal of Earnin’s founders is to give workers a better alternative to payday loans. Earnin allows users to borrow against their upcoming paycheck, as long as they only borrow less than $100 per day and less than $750 per pay period. Then, on payday, you will get paid whatever you’ve earned minus whatever you’ve borrowed.

  • Estimated APR: Earnin doesn’t charge interest or fees. Users can opt to donate a “tip” of any amount, but regular tips add up. A $2 tip on a $20 withdrawal due in two weeks is an annual percentage rate of 260%, comparable to the rates that payday lenders charge.
  • Minimum Credit Score: N/A
  • Loan Amount: $100-$500

Pros

  • There are no costs to borrow (tips optional)
  • Earnin provides overdraft prevention tools
Cons
  • The borrowing limit is fairly low
  • Earnin only counts income from one employer: no side income
  • It could be potentially invasive to your privacy

Credit check: No

BBB Rating: A-

Read a full review of Earnin


Best for Extra Perks: Empower

Is more of a money management app than a platform for cash advances. Empower connects to your existing bank accounts through Plaid. This means that the app never has your bank information. It can only view and track your spending and saving. Empower breaks down your spending so you can see where your money goes. While it helps you budget, it will also help you bridge the gap until payday with small loans of up to $250. There is no interest charge, but they do charge an $8 per month subscription fee.

  • Estimated APR: N/A
  • Minimum Credit Score: No
  • Loan Amount: Up to $250

Pros

  • Instant fund delivery is free if you qualify
  • There’s a 14-day free trial with full features
  • Your Empower checking account generates interest
  • Empower offers free financial coaching
  • The app makes optional recommendations to save money

Cons

  • Borrowers cannot select the cash advance amount
  • You’ll have to pay an $8 monthly subscription fee

Credit check: No

BBB Rating: B. Empower is not accredited by the BBB.


Best for Taking Out a Large Cash Advance: Possible

Loans like those from Possible Finance have more in common with personal loans or installment loans than payday loans or your typical cash advance. You’ll pay interest. And you won’t have to repay the full amount from your next payday.

And unlike most other apps, Possible Finance does do a credit check, though the website says that bad credit or no credit won’t matter. The company does a “soft pull” on your credit. According to the company’s support site, this credit check is purely “for fraud prevention and identity verification.” And, since it’s a soft pull, it won’t show up on your credit report or affect your score.

  • Estimated APR: Rates vary by state; charges range from $15 or $20 per $100 borrowed. This means an APR of around 91% or 122%
  • Minimum Credit Score: Reports all payments to major credit bureaus so borrowers build credit history
  • Loan Amount: Short-term installment loans of up to $500

Pros

  • Possible reports payments to all three major credit bureaus
  • There’s an option to delay your payment

Cons

  • Customer service availability is limited
  • Interest rates are higher than other similar apps
  • Possible may charge an origination fee
  • The website does not clearly disclose rates and fees

Credit check: Possible does a “soft pull” on your credit report for fraud prevention and identity verification. (A soft pull won’t push down your credit score.)

BBB Rating: B


Best for Improving Other Financial Areas: Dave

Dave is one of the most-recognizable cash advance apps. Dave offers interest-free cash advances up to $100 for a flat fee of $1 per month. Payment is due on your next payday or on the next Friday, depending on how much you borrow. You will have to show proof of a steady income, but there’s no credit check.

  • Estimated APR: The Dave app requests donated tips in place of interest
  • Minimum Credit Score: No
  • Loan Amount: Up to $200 per pay period

Pros

  • Dave helps prevent overdraft fees
  • Dave includes a budgeting tool to create a customized plan
  • Dave’s Side Hustle service can help you search for extra gigs
  • Payments can be manual or automatic
  • There are no late fees

Cons

  • Borrowers are only allowed one advance per pay period
  • The maximum cash advance is only $100
  • The app only counts income from one employer; side income doesn’t count
  • Dave can be invasive to your privacy

Credit check: No

BBB Rating: B


Best for Flexibility: MoneyLion Instacash

MoneyLion is a mobile banking platform. One of MoneyLion’s features is a cash advance program they call Instacash. The borrowing limit is based on how much you direct deposit but maxes out at $250. If you sign up for other MoneyLion products, you can qualify for up to $1,000 ub advances. Most advances are issued through the MoneyLion debit card, so getting the money can be quicker than with some of the other options.

  • Estimated APR: N/A
  • Minimum Credit Score: No
  • Loan Amount: up to $250 (considered a core membership)

Pros

  • MoneyLion Core is free
  • MoneyLion Plus costs $19.99 per month but is not required for the cash advance
  • There is no monthly fee or interest rate
  • You get fast delivery with a MoneyLion account
  • Credit-builder loans are available
  • There’s no transaction limit per day
  • There’s a five-day due date grace period

Cons

  • You need to have a MoneyLion checking account that’s at least two months old, shows regular income deposits, has a consistently positive balance, and is active.
  • Instant funding costs extra
  • Some of the features require a premium membership.
  • You must have funds direct deposited to your account.

Credit check: No

BBB Rating: D. MoneyLion is not considered accredited by BBB


Best for Speed: FloatMe

FloatMe offers limited cash advances of up to $50. The first month is free, but after the trial ends you’ll pay $1.99 per month, which may seem like a lot to borrow such a small amount, but it is significantly less than what you’d pay a payday lender in fees. Your bank will need to be compatible with Plaid in order to sign up. You’ll also have to set a minimum balance for your bank account. If the balance falls below the total you’ve specified, FloatMe will let you know. Some floats will be funded to your account almost immediately, while thers take a couple of days to show up (it depends on your bank).

  • Estimated APR: N/A
  • Minimum Credit Score: No
  • Loan Amount: Up to $50 in between checks

Pros

  • FloatMe does not charge interest
  • Borrowers can get cash in minutes
  • The service can be used to help build emergency funds

Cons

  • Users must pay a membership fee of $1.99 per month (even if they sign up and choose not to borrow money. You will need to cancel to stop the monthly fee
  • Paycheck direct deposit is required

Credit check: No

BBB Rating: B


Best for Transfers with Other Customers: Varo

Varo is another mobile banking platform (like Chime,) so it will work more efficiently if you already have a Varo account. Varo provides a debit card with access to an ATM network and a variety of other products, including savings accounts. Varo offers cash advance up to $100, as long as your account is active and at least 30 days old. You also can’t qualify for an advance until you’ve made at least $1,000 in direct deposits over the past month. You will have from 15 to 30 days to repay the advance. Most Varo cash advances will be transferred to your Varo banking account, then you withdraw the money using your Varo debit card, so transfers are pretty speedy.

  • Estimated APR: Varo has a tiered rate: 3.00% APY for balances up to $5,000 when certain conditions are met, and 0.50% APY when conditions aren’t met
  • Minimum Credit Score: No
  • Loan Amount: Once you qualify, Varo Advance gives you access to up to $100 cash directly in the Varo Bank app

Pros

  • There are no monthly fees
  • Varo offers a good annual percentage yield, or APY, on savings
  • There’s early paycheck access with direct deposit
  • You can get a $100 instant cash loan with Varo Advance feature

Cons

  • There are limits and fees for cash deposits
  • Borrowers must meet specific requirements to qualify for the highest savings rate
  • External transfers are limited to $10,000 per month

Credit check: No

BBB Rating: B


Best for Increasing the Total You Can Borrow: Klover

Klover’s tagline is “$100 in between paychecks.” However, Klover you can actually borrow more from Klover through a points system that increases your borrowing limit. Points start to accrue as soon as you sign up, and you can earn more points by completing specific tasks, including:

  • Scanning receipts from purchases made using the debit card linked to your account
  • Using the app to monitor spending habits
  • Watching video ads.
  • Save $100 in one month
  • Completing surveys
  • Referring friends
  • Estimated APR: N/A
  • Minimum Credit Score: No
  • Loan Amount: Up to $100 (though that can be increased by completing certain tasks

Pros

  • Klover does not charge hidden fees or interest
  • Once requested, your money is deposited into the account within minutes (if expedited) or 1 to 2 business days
  • You can increase your borrowing limits by completing simple tasks
  • No credit check required, so no hard inquiry will appear on your credit check
  • Accounts are easy to activate, reactivate or close

Cons

  • Klover does not allow repayment extensions
  • Klover doesn’t report to any credit bureaus, so borrowing will not help you build credit
  • The borrowing limit is low
  • Users must have a checking account in order to be eligible
  • Klover does not support all financial institutions

Credit check: No

BBB Rating: A+

Apps that Require Your Employer to Participate

Only people whose employers participate can use these financial services. These apps typically aim at employees with an employer-sponsored program letting them withdraw some of their earned wages before payday. These apps for cash loans can reduce employee financial stress, and employers don’t have to worry about administration hassles like with usual payroll advances. Often there is no setup or operating costs for employers but check with the employer before moving ahead.

Best Option for Employers: Even Instapay

First off, Even Instapay is only an option for you if your employer participates. Even Instapay allows users to access the money they already earned at work, but before payday. Even tracks employees’ time and wages. The Instapay app will tell users how much money they earned so far during the current pay period. If an employee needs the money before payday, they just need to request it. The employee doesn’t have to pay taxes or fees on their advance. The employer covers all fees involved. Unfortunately, Even Instapay is not available for those who are self-employed. It is only available through a participating employer. The other drawback: you’ll have to pay the $8 Even Plus membership fee to qualify for an Instapay cash advance.

Some of the employers that offer Even Instapay include Walmart, PayPal, Noodles, Humana, and Mattress Firm

  • Estimated APR: No interest, no APR
  • Minimum Credit Score: No
  • Loan Amount: Take out up to 50% of your earnings at that point in the pay period. The number of times you may use Instapay is determined by your employer. Instapay use is limited to make sure your paycheck is large enough to support large expenses like rent or utility bills

Pros

  • Cash advances are interest-free
  • You can get cash instantly
  • It’s more than just a pay advance app; it offers other financial services as well
  • The online reviews are excellent

Cons

  • This is a big one: If you want to borrow money through Instapay, your employer will have to participate
  • A basic subscription is free, but you’ll have to pay $8 a month to access Even Instapay
  • No list of employers is provided
  • You can only borrow 50% of the net pay you’ve already earned

Credit check: No

BBB Rating: A+

More Apps that Require Employer Participation

Payactiv

Those who choose Payactiv can access earned wages before payday, and users can ask for financial counseling. The app has a platform that serves as a payday loan alternative and lets users pay bills and obtain prescription discounts.

PayActiv has a debit card attached to the account to get money fast and with fraud protection. There’s no charge if users set up direct deposit to the card, or they can pay a $1/ per day fee when using PayActiv.

Branch

Branch is another employer-side service that benefits the employer as they don’t have to use Branch for an employee to access cash advances.

The branch’s system checks the hours worked to support a request. If you qualify for an advance, Branch will advance you up to 50% of your upcoming paycheck. After that, Branch debits the advance amount from your next paycheck deposit. An employee can pay an additional fee of $2.99–$4.99 (based on the advance amount) to get the money instantly to an external account.

FlexWage

Another payday alternative is FlexWage. FlexWage offers reloadable payroll debit cards for employees who are given paper checks. This can be perfect for unbanked employees who can’t get direct deposits. There are fees, including $5 for on-demand wage transfer, and using the debit card can result in fees, but FlexWage is cheaper than typical payday loans.

DailyPay

The DailyPay app works like Earnin, and employees build a balance with each hour of work they put in. They can then dip into that balance before payday if they need access to cash.

DailyPay deposits the funds into the bank, and then, on payday, the amount already cashed out is removed from the paycheck. DailyPay charges a $1.25 per transfer fee to transfer money from your hours-worked balance into your bank.

Best if You Need a Larger Personal Loan: SoFi

Worth noting: SoFi is not a traditional cash advance app. This online lender is more of a full-service banking operation. But if you have an account, you can withdraw cash using your SoFi debit card at retailers or through SoFi’s ATM network, and the interest rate is lower than rates for a credit card cash advance.

  • Estimated APR: 4.99% to 18.13% with autopay
  • Minimum Credit Score: minimum credit score of 680 and an annual income of at least $45,000
  • Loan Amount: Between $5,000 and $100,000

Pros

  • Prequalification requires one simple credit check
  • A personal loan can be funded in one to two days

Cons

  • SoFi has high loan amounts and lengthy terms
  • There’s no direct payment to third-party creditors for debt consolidation
  • Some applicants report difficult qualification standards
  • Co-signers are not allowed

Credit check: SoFi will perform a soft credit pull when you apply for a credit card.
BBB Rating: A+ says not accredited by BBB

What’s the Difference Between Cash Advance Apps and Chime?

Chime isn’t your typical cash advance app. However, some of the above sites are compatible and will work seamlessly with your Chime account.

Chime is not a bank. Its banking products are offered through the Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank. Both of these banks are FDIC members, so Chime accounts are insured.

Chime offers a spending account with a Chime Visa Debit Card. The spending account is designed to receive direct deposit paychecks and provide access to Chime’s ATM network. Chime also offers a savings account and a secured credit card designed for building credit. You need to have a Chime spending account to use these products.

Chime SpotMe

Chime doesn’t technically offer cash advances, but Chime SpotMe offers overdraft protection of up to $200, so if you need to float something for a couple of days until payday, Chime SpotMe will cover it without an overdraft fee.

What is a Cash Advance App?

Cash advance apps allow a person to deposit money earned into a checking account before payday. Usually, cash advance apps are free or request a small fee, but you’ll pay little or no interest on those loans.

Though there might be some small costs and upfront fees, a cash advance app can be a viable alternative to payday loans or charging up your credit cards. Like traditional storefront payday loans, cash advance app issuers offer short-term loans and repayment is usually required on your next payday.

How do Cash Advance Apps Work?

Cash advance apps give borrowers paycheck advances or timely access to money they’ve earned but haven’t gotten yet. Helpful for borrowers who might otherwise miss a payment on a bill or find themselves with late or overdraft fees. Most cash advance apps have a borrowing limit between $100 and $500.

Since cash advance apps rarely charge interest or other fees, many people consider them a better alternative to other short-term funding options like payday loans.

How to Get a Cash or Paycheck Advance

Most paycheck advance apps have only a handful of eligibility requirements. To get a paycheck advance, users usually only need to have the following:

  • Stable income with regular (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly) paychecks
  • Checking account with direct deposit set up
  • Means of verifying they’ve worked (location services or timesheet)

Paycheck advance apps don’t typically check anyone’s credit or make them jump through hoops to access their services. Just download the app and follow the instructions. Most should be available on Google Play and the iOS App Store.

How Fast Can I Get a Cash or Paycheck Advance?

After you find a cash advance app you prefer, set up an account. This usually can be completed via an online application with basic information such as:

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

Most applications take a few moments to complete and one to two business days to approve. Once approved, you may request a cash advance. Since these apps are designed with speed in mind, it can take a few minutes to a couple of business days to receive the money. Some apps charge a small fee for instant access.

Should You Use Cash Advance Apps?

If your alternative is a payday loan, then yes. There are several benefits to paycheck advance apps. They are more accessible and affordable than a typical payday lender and their products. Paycheck advances can save people from late fees, sky-high payday loan interest rates and overdraft fees if your account balance is low.

They are not, however, a long-term alternative. If you need multiple cash advances or struggle to pay off other cash advances, it might be time to explore different ways to tackle your debt.

What to Look For in Cash Advance Apps

  • Cost
  • Borrowing Limits
  • Accessibility and User Interface
  • Customer Service

Other Alternatives to Help Get Your Debt Under Control

If you regularly turn to cash advances and payday loans to make ends meet, here are a few other financial products and options to ease your money crunch.

  • Personal loans: Personal loans typically have lower interest rates than credit cards and offer longer loan terms and larger amounts than a cash advance app or traditional payday loan. Your credit union is a good starting point when searching for a loan. There are even personal loan options for people who have bad credit.
  • Peer-to-peer lending: Peer-to-peer financial services connect borrowers directly to lenders (usually investors), who then loan money to qualified applicants. If you’re active on Reddit, there is also a subreddit called r:/borrow where Redditors loan money to fellow Redditors.
  • Borrowing from friends and family: We all want to keep our personal finance situation personal, but sometimes a relative or friend has the means to help you through a difficult time. Just get everything in writing and make sure to pay them back as scheduled.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Consider contacting a credit counselor if you’re struggling with debt and need help getting your finances under control. They’re experts in personal money management and can help you get back on your feet. Best of all, their services are free. Contact a local service provider today.

The Bottom Line

When your checking account is low and so is the amount of cash in your wallet, applying for a cash advance loan could help you get what you need before the next paycheck arrives.

The above list of available apps could be the difference between whether you eat dinner, pay your water bill or make a car payment this month if you haven’t earned a paycheck yet.

Keep in mind applying for a payday loan via an app isn’t a long-term solution to your financial problems. Moving ahead, do think twice about getting funds this way and only when you are in a super crisis and/or only occasionally.

The best way to avoid even going near a payday loan and the app is to try and keep better track of your expenses and finances.

Try to maintain a budget and cut back on things you don’t need, like $6 coffee drinks and other luxuries you can do without. Take lunch to work and eat dinners at home, and you’ll see your bank account grow. You can also take a fun side hustle or gig to make ends meet.

Ultimately, doing all these tips could be a lot better than putting faith in a high-priced lender.

FAQs

Are There Any Cash Advance Apps That Don’t Require Plaid?

Plaid is a service that connects financial apps to banks. Many apps use Plaid, and if your bank doesn’t work with Plaid you may have a hard time using the most popular apps. But you still have a few borrowing options.

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

Failure to pay a payday advance app back may result in being banned from the app and its services. However, the payday advance app will continue trying to withdraw money from your bank account, which could cause overdraft fees to stack up. Be sure you can repay your payday loan and disconnect your bank account from the app when you no longer use its services.

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

Unfortunately, these cash advance apps only offer small-dollar loans. If you need more than the maximum amount offered, you’ll need to apply for personal loans or try a credit card cash advance.

Will using a cash advance app help or hurt my credit score?

Like any use of your credit cards, a cash advance can affect your credit score, especially if you aren’t careful about how much money you obtain and when you pay it back.

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.

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top