Credit and Debt

10 Best Paycheck Advance Apps to Help You Make It to Payday

pay advance app

What would you do when you run out of cash, have few emergency to attend to but have no emergency funds to fall back to and you needed that quick cash to settle the unexpected? Do you opt for pay day loan or pay day advance app? Depending on how much you need to cash up on your bills or expenses, if it’s between $100 – $250, the latter will be the best option because of it zero interest rate service charge.

With rising cost of borrowing, people are avoiding borrowing money on credit cards or applying for pay day loan. For example, credit card default rate has risen hitting a record high of of 3.28% as of January 2021 and the average minimum APR on new credit cards has picked more than 2.5% potentially enough to cost you hundreds of dollars in interest. As a result of the aforementioned, many cardholders are opting out of credit cards offers. Pay advance app is not a saint but compared to pay day loan and credit cards loan with their high interest rate, it leaves us as the best option to tackle emergency.

What Is Pay Day Advance App And How Does It Work?

Pay day advance app functions base on your paycheck. It’s not a loan – it’s actually a paycheck advance. It’s like a digitalised IOU. Pay day advance app is a website or application that allows you to borrow money before your day and automatically withdraws the borrowed amount from your checking account when the paycheck arrives with absolutely no interest. You borrowed $100 from Earnin for example, your checking account balance will automatically decrease by $100 when your paycheck arrives in your account.

How Does The App Make Money Since There’s No Interest Rate?

Some like Earnin uses tips while some charges monthly fees ranging from $1 – $15. It’s cost effective but one of it disadvantage is getting stuck in a cycle of always depending on the app to complete your monthly budget because when you borrow, your paycheck is reduced and you will need to fill the gap. The only way to possibly fill the gap is to borrow again and again, the cycle continuous. If you’re caught up in such situation, it’s time to revisit your budget to break the cycle.

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Top 10 Best Paycheck Advance App

To assign ranking to paycheck advance app is not always a good idea for me because each of them have a unique feature. Some of the app does not only advance you but also offer other services like online banking service, online investing, cash back shopping etc.

Below are the best paycheck advance app listed in no particular order with the exception of the first which is unquestionably my top pick.

 1. Earnin

According to Earnin twitter description, it says “Join the community and stop waiting weeks for payday. Cash out and get your hard earned money once you’ve worked up to $100/day” 

Earnin, formally known as ActiveHours, is one of the best paycheck app that will advance some of your paycheck for free. It was founded in 2012 by Ram Palaniapan and the reason behind it establishment is to help hourly and salaried workers get paid for the hours already worked without waiting for payday. 

  • Requirement: According to Earnin, “You’ll need a steady pay day, a checking account and a smartphone to use the app” Then you’ll be required to connect your bank account, add your employment details and your earnings in the app. The app is specifically designed for hourly and salaried workers an your paycheck must be transferred into your checking account electronically, that is , through a direct deposit.
  • Cash Advance Limit: Typically, Earnin allows you to borrow $100 per pay cycle( at a time) but you can borrow between $100 to $500 depending on your paycheck( income) and how long you’ve used the app( banking history with them). The amount you borrowed will be automatically debited from your paycheck the next time you’re paid.
  • Cost: The service is free but there’s a voluntary tipping option.You can add a tip of any amount to help cover the cost of running the app.
  • Additional Benefit: Apart from advancing you, Earnin offers other benefits like
  1. Balance Shield: This monitors your bank account and protects you from bank overdraft fees. It automatically advance you with $100 if your bank balance falls below $100
  2. HealthAids: With this feature, Earnin advocate negotiate a better medical bill on your behalf and you can tip them for their service which is optional.
  3. Cash Back Rewards: This doesn’t need much explanation, you earn 1 to 10% cash back by shopping at partnered store and restaurant using Earnin app.You will be required to run your card as credit to access the extra benefit. 

What about Earnin app customer service? Earnin doesn’t offer phone support at the moment. This is because they may need screenshots to fix certain issues and that might take take more time over the phone. Visit their Twitter support page @earninsupport to resolve any complaint or issue. Online support keeps all your records in one place and nothing gets lost if an old issue escalates and needs to be revisited.

 2. Dave

Dave is an interest – free paycheck advance app designed specifically for you, to help avoid bank overdraft as well as reporting on – time rent payment to the credit bureau to build good credit history. The two most important keywords for Dave are “Overdraft fee” and “Checking Account” everything is built around these two concept.It’s primary purpose is to help customers avoid overdraft and Non sufficient fund fee from banks by notifying them when their checking account balance is approaching to zero, offering the option of interest free short term cash advance of up to $100 from your next paycheck. Interestingly, it also have an automatic budgeting feature that forecast your finances before the next pay day to help you be at alert to an upcoming bill. Apart from the aforementioned feature, Dave also have a side hustle feature which hooks you up to a side hustle in your neighborhood or area.

  • Cash Advance Limit: It has low maximum cash advance limit. It can only advance you $100 in maximum.
  • Requirement: Dave requires you to have a consistent paycheck/income which is deposited directly to your checking account through a direct deposit system and your bills must not exceed your paycheck. You must have an extra money in your bank account each month after settling bills.
  • Cost: The service cost a monthly membership cost of $1 and small fee of about $4.99 when choosing express delivery option over standard delivery. With express delivery option, you will receive your money within eight hours while standard delivery takes up to three business days.

 3. Brigit













Dave is not the only paycheck advance app that helps you avoid high bank overdraft – brigit does that too. According to the  research conducted by Intereactive Advertising Bureau, Brigit is one of the 100 Direct Brand Services to watch in 2020, ranking number 5 in the financial service category.Brigit is one of the best paycheck app that advance you up to $250(Dave won’t give you that,lol) and save you from NSF and bank overdraft fee by notifying you when your bank account is running low and offering the option of requesting an advance of up to $250 with no credit check and automatically running a deposit of up to $250 into your checking account on your behalf in case you’re busy.The above loan is automatically deducted from your bank account with no interest when your paycheck arrives. Unlike other paycheck app, Brigit allows you to extend your repayment due date in case you run into trouble without facing late payment penalties.

  • Requirement: Brigit can only approve you for a cash advance if youmeet all the requirement shown in the Brigit app. The following are the highlight( Please note that the information are obtained from Brigit help center)
  1. BANK ACCOUNT REQUIREMENT :  Your checking account should have a sufficient activity. Use your account everyday for a couple of weeks as this helps them to predict your spending and earning patterns accurately.
  • If your account is opened newly, you will have problem using the paycheck app. Your checking account should have at least 60 days of activity.
  • Your bank account balance must be above $0
  • You must have extra money left in your account at the end of the day you got paid or received your paycheck.

    2. DEPOSIT OR INCOME REQUIREMENT: Paycheck with irregular pay schedules do not qualify. You must have at least three reoccurring deposit from same employer or deposit source. Also, ATM deposit, paper checks and cash transfers are not allowed.

  • Brigit score: This is similar to credit score but is not a credit score – brigit doesn’t require a credit score checking. Brigit calculates the score based on your bank account health, spending behaviour, earning profile. The score ranges from 40 to 100 and you would need a score of at least 70 to be approved for a cash advance.
  • Cash advance limit: $250 is the maximum amount
  • Cost: $9.99 monthly membership fee. No hidden cost, interest or late fee.

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4. Payactiv

Payactiv gives you access to a portion of your unpaid wage usually 50% or up to $500. It’s a leader in Earned Wage Access(EWA) with over 1 million users. Many companies like Walmart, Uber, and Amazon are partnering with Payactiv to offer employees their wages earned in advance as this eases the stress of waiting untill payday and it also improves employee financial wellness. This alternative payment helps employee avert the damage of later payment on credit card and to avoid opting for high cost financing option like payday loan and overdraft. In contrast to traditional paycheck advance apps like Earnin, Dave or brigit that you can download and apply on your own – Payactiv don’t operate that way. It’s sponsored by your employer as a benefit. For example, Walmart offers Payactiv benefit to over 1 million employees.

  • Requirement: Since payactiv is an employee sponsored financial wellness, your employment credentials will serve as the requirement.
  • Cash Advance Limit: Payactiv gives you access to 50% or up to $500 of your earned wage instantly. 
  • Cost: No interest is charged, no cost to enroll and no recurring fees. The employee only pays $5 flat fee per pay period only when they access services including their earned but unpaid income. Using the app to transfer funds, pay bills and use the budgeting and saving tool attracts no cost. 
  • Additional Cost: Apart from accessing your earned but unpaid income, you can also use Payactiv app to make bank transfer, pay bills and start budgeting band saving.

5. DailyPay 

Everyday is a payday with Dailypay. Dailypay operates in similar fashion to payactiv. It’s another on-demand Earned Wage startups that companies offer as a benefits to it workers which allows them to go home with their pay as soon as they have earned it rather waiting for a scheduled pay period. 

DailyPay achieved the gold standard in data security by attaining the ISO 27001 certificate in 2020. It’s the highest security certification standard in the industry which is recognized internationally. DailyPay is also 2020 PAYROLL TRAILBLAZER AWARD winner. As a result of this achievement, American Payroll Association has recognised Dailypay as one of the Global Payment Leader. Dailypay is partnered with Fortune 500 companies like Berkshire Hathaway and other top class employer.

Credit is built up on your Dailypay account as you work through the week. This fund can be transferd to your bank account at anytime with $2.99 service charge for instant receive or $1.25 to receive the fund the next business day and it deducts the advance with no interest when you receive your paycheck.

  • Requirement: Dailypay is sponsored by your employer hence your employment credentials will serve as your requirement.
  • Cash Advance limit: The advance is based on what you’ve earned. You can access 100% of your earned wages
  • Cost: Dailypay charges a service fee ranging from $1.25 to $2.99 for Wage Advance. No interest, no cost to enroll and no recurring fee.

 6. Moneylion

Can you improve credit score with moneylion? Absolutely yes. The New York fintech company can cash advance you and improve your credit score at the same time by reporting your loan payment to the three credit bureau: Experian,Equifax, and TransUnion. In addition to providing instacash advance of up to $250 for it core members and improving their credit scores, it also provide tools to track your spending,savings and manage your credit. Moneylion is one of the fastest paycheck advance app that could pay you within 60 seconds.

Moneylion is more of a bank than just an advance app. It offers variety of programs that includes online banking services, Credit builder loan, cash back Rewards etc. One more good news from moneylion “There’s no fees, credit check or hidden stipulations associated with instacash” You only pay a fee of $19.99/month when you upgrade to credit Builder plus membership.

  • Requirement: The following are the requirement to access 0% APR instacash advance from moneylion:
  1. Checking account: It must be active and at least 60 days old. It must have a positive balance and a history of depositing income preferably from one source.
  2. Identity verification: You will be required to verify your identity and checking account ownership.
  3. Deposit/Income: You must have a regular recurring income/paycheck deposit from an employer or deposit source.
  • Cash Advance Limit: The maximum amount you will have access to ranges from $25 – $250. 
  • Cost: As i mentioned earlier “There are no fees or hidden stipulations associated with the instacash” you will only be required to pay $19.99/month when you upgrade to credit builder plus membership. 
  • Additional benefits: The other benefits package includes: 
  1. Zero – fee checking 
  2. cash back rewards
  3. Free fraud protection
  4. Zero – fee managed investing 
  5. Free credit monitoring

7. Wealthfront Cash account

What if you can earn interest on your paycheck before it’s withdrawn? Yes you can, Wealthfront made it possible. With Wealthfront direct deposit cash account, you can receive your paycheck 2 days earlier before the official payday.

Wealthfront vision is to optimize your money across spending,savings and investment. Wealthfront cash account offers many benefit which includes, high interest checking, 0.35% APY on investment, early access to your paycheck, up to $1 million FDIC insurance and unlimited free transfers. It recently added a checking features which gives you the access to a debit card and enables you to direct deposit your check, paybills and more.

  • Requirement: You will be required to open a cash account with wealthfront with a minimum of $1 
  • Cash Advance Limit: Full paychecks
  • Cost: It takes a minimum of $1 to open wealthfront cash account. Apart from the account opening fee, Wealthfront charges no fee in maintaining you account or making transactions like withdrawal or transfer of funds. 

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8. Branch

Branch is an employee sponsored pay advance app that offers free Earned Wage Access. It is designed to offer financial wellness for hourly workers giving the access to their paycheck earlier before the official payday.The highlight of branch is that it charges no interest on the money you borrowed, no membership cost and no credit checks.

Big brands like unilever, Mc Donald, Walgreen, Target and Lifeline use this tool to improve the financial health of their workers by giving interest free advance of up to $150 per day on earned wages. Apart from offering earned wage access, Branch also provide feature which help employee manage their work schedule and finances. Branch serves as a watchman for employers – monitoring their workforce and taking note of workers who are on vacation, sick or simply taking shifts. You can swap shift and request time off.

  • Requirement: You can’t access Branch singly, It is an employer – sponsored program. If your employer doesn’t have an account with them, you will be put on waitlist after signing up. To sign up, just download the app, connect your bank account and work schedule.
  • Cash Advance Limit: $150 per day and $500 per per period.
  • Cost: Branch charges no interest, no membership cost and fee – free check account. You only incur a fee of $3.99 when you request an express payment i.e same – day funding but there’s no cost when you opt for three days option.

9. Vola

It’s worth mentioning that Vola is one of the US fintech Company with a rapid growing customer base. At the first i was skeptical about the app but the positive review on Appgroove and testimonies from friends who have used the apps cleared my doubt. It offers interest free advance ranging from $40 to $300 which you can receive within 24 business hours.

Just like Dave, Vola helps you to avoid overdraft and NSF fees. It notifies you when your account is running low usually below $35 giving you the option to top up to prevent overdraft and NSF fees. 

Furthermore, Vola offers a finacial literacy tools that breaks down your spending habits to help you budget better, spend wiser and maybe even save a little cash along the way. They also have what they call  ”Vola score”. Your Vola score is rated based on your budgeting skills and how well you maintained a positive and active bank account. A better score unlocks a better score for you.

  • Requirement: You need a checking account from any of the 6000 banks and credit Union supported on Vola. After downloading the app you will be required to connect a bank account that you use regularly. The bank account must be up to 90 days old and with an average balance of over $150.
  • Cash Advance Limit: Vola offers a cash advance ranging from $40 to $300
  • Cost: Vola offers an interest free advance of up to $300 but it requires a membership fee of $4.99 per month for a start.

10. Chime

Chime is not like your traditional payday advance app that offers paycheck advance. It is a full feature online bank account that ensures that you receive your paycheck as soon as your employer deposit it instead of waiting for days for the payment to clear. With chime you can receive your paycheck 2 days earlier. 

Chime is not a payday advance app. It is a full service online bank account that performs online banking task such as transferring funds between accounts, bill payment, send and deposit checks.

  • Requirement: You will be required to sign up to have access to a checking account( Chime spending account), a savings account and debit card. You will also be required to set up a direct deposit with your chime spending account to receive your paycheck 2 days earlier. This can be done by submitting a pre-filled direct deposit form emailed to you to your employer.
  • Cash Advance Limit: No advance limit. You only receive your full check 2 days earlier. 
  • Cost: 
  1. No monthly fee
  2. No minimum balance
  3. No overdraft fee
  4. NO hidden fee
  5. No foreign transaction fee

You will only incur a fee of about $2.50 when you make a withdrawal from an ATM that is not on their network. Chime has over 38,000 free ATM.

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Last word

Opting for a portion of your paycheck is the best option when hit with an unexpected or unplanned expenses but the state of being too dependent on this type of loan will ruin and damage your long term financial health. Requesting for a portion of your paycheck month after month is not a good habit, it’s only taking you down the financial drain.

If you’re caught in a vicious circle of always depending on payday advance to get through the month, it’s high time you break out from that circle. How? the best way to escape living paycheck to paycheck is to live quite below your means.

80% of your paycheck should cover your expenses 10% should be saved for an emergency and 10% should be invested. To get more ahead on your finances, find a side hustle and save 100% of the income.


Categories: Making money


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