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Cash & Payday Advance Apps

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If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, cash advance apps are a tempting solution to short-term money problems like rent, car trouble or any other financial emergency that demands a cash solution.

Cash advance apps – also called payday advance apps – allow you to borrow money in advance of your paycheck. A new player in the field — earned income, or wage, access apps — allows you to take money you’ve already earned during a pay period.

Most lenders pull the repayment out of your bank account on pay day.

Cash advance app providers are financial technology (fintech) companies. They don’t charge the high interest traditional payday lenders do but make their money on subscription and instant payment fees. Those fees often represent what would be considered high interest on a traditional loan. On the plus side, most of the apps don’t report to credit bureaus, so missed payments don’t affect your credit score.

The best way to make it from paycheck to paycheck without resorting to bail outs from cash advance apps is to stick to a budget, which includes an emergency fund for unexpected expenses.

If you are considering using a cash advance app, do your research. Find one that’s a good fit for your financial situation.

The Best Cash Advance Apps

There are a lot of cash advance apps out there to choose from. The “best” cash advance app is the one that fits your financial needs and situation. Here’s a tip as you research apps: Most standard transfers will go into a bank account in one business day, so if you don’t need the money that day, avoid paying an instant payment fee and go with standard process. (Apps listed don’t have transaction or late fees unless noted. None charge interest.)


Albert’s payday advances require you to enroll in Albert Genius, the app’s accounts, and budgeting tool. It’s free for the first month, then $14.99 after that. It auto renews unless you cancel.

  • Type of cash advance: Payday
  • Maximum amount: $250
  • Fees: None for account holders with direct deposit; $3.99 for account holders without direct deposit; $6.99 for borrowers without an account or Genius. subscription; $6 instant transfer fee
  • Standard processing time: 2-3 days
  • Repayment terms: Next payday
  • Covers overdraft fees for insufficient repayment amount: Yes.
  • Eligibility requirements: Connected bank account open for at least two months; balance greater than $0; consistent income for at least two months from same employer; most recent paycheck received on time with money still available 24 hours after payday.


Brigit gives those who apply a Brigit Score of 0-100 based on bank account health, spending behavior and earnings profile. A 40 is the minimum needed to qualify for a cash advance. Once you qualify, you must enroll in Brigit Plus for $9.99 a month to have access to Instant Cash.

  • Type of cash advance: Payday
  • Maximum amount: $250 (most applicants qualify for $50-$100)
  • Fees: $9.99 monthly for Plus Plan, which is required for advances; $0.99-$3.99 instant payment fee.
  • Standard processing time: 2-3 business days
  • Repayment terms: Choose a payment date, but typically next payday; three on-time payments earn an extension credit that can be used for a one-time payment extension.
  • Covers overdraft fees for insufficient payment amount: Partial repayment in some cases.
  • Eligibility requirements: Checking account open for at least 60 days; balance is greater than $0; at least three recurring deposits from same employer or deposit source.


Chime differs from most other cash advance apps in that it’s not really a cash advance. You list Chime Get Paid Early with your employer as your direct deposit account, and when Chime gets the money, it makes it immediately available, instead of holding it for processing for a day or two like some banks (though more banks are moving toward the same model). As with traditional banks, Chime takes weekends and holidays off.

  • Type: Early pay, overdraft coverage
  • Maximum amount: NA for Get Paid Early; $20-$200 in overdraft protection (depending on how long you’ve had account, credit history).
  • Fees: None
  • Standard processing time: Paycheck may appear in Chime deposit account earlier than in an account at other banks; Chime makes the money available to you as soon as your employer sends it to Chime.
  • Repayment period: NA for Get Paid Early; next payday for overdraft coverage.
  • Covers overdraft fees for insufficient payment amount: Yes, with qualifications.
  • Eligibility requirements: Chime checking account and payroll direct deposit.


Current, like Chime, allows accountholders who have their pay directly deposited, to get it up to two days early. Current Overdrive provides $25-$200 optional fee-free overdraft protection for accountholders who have at least $500 of their pay directly deposited into the account. The amount is deducted on the next payday. ATM withdrawals, bill pay and ACH withdrawals (automatic monthly credit card and other payments) aren’t eligible for overdraft coverage.

  • Type: Early pay, overdraft coverage
  • Maximum amount: NA for early pay; $25-$200 for overdraft protection (depending on length of account history and credit worthiness).
  • Fees: None
  • Standard processing time: Immediate
  • Repayment period: Current will take any money deposited into an account to pay for its overdraft protection, until it’s covered. If it’s not paid in 60 days, Current may restrict or close account.
  • Covers overdraft fees for insufficient payment amount: Yes, with qualifications.
  • Eligibility requirements: Current checking account and payroll direct deposit.


DailyPay is an earned income, or wage, access app, which means that you can retrieve money you’ve earned during a pay period before payday. Employers must agree to use DailyPay, which means they must have the cash flow to provide the early money. Up to $1,000 a day per pay period can be transferred to an account or debit card. The balance is directly deposited into your account on payday.

DailyPay initially charged a fee to employees for all transactions, but in 2022 announced that transactions are free. The exception is immediate access to the money, which comes with an undisclosed fee, last reported to be $2.99.

  • Maximum amount: Earned net income, up to $1,000 a day (depending on employer).
  • Fees: Instant transfer fee $2.99
  • Standard processing time: 1-3 business days
  • Repayment period: NA
  • Eligibility requirements: Employer must participate.


Dave is a cash advance app that works best for people who aren’t living paycheck to paycheck. The required Dave Extra Cash Account is a spending account in which you keep money, move money into (with a limit of $500), and take money out of up to five times a month. Dave has a higher cash advance maximum than most other apps, $500. The app uses a “proprietary underwriting model” to determine an applicant’s financial health, which sets how much money can be borrowed. Most borrowers get at least $160.

  • Maximum amount: $500
  • Fees: $1 monthly membership fee; $1.99-$13.99 instant transfer fee.
  • Processing time: Immediate for internal advances; 1-3 business days for external advances.
  • Repayment period: Next payday or Friday after advance if no regular payday.
  • Covers overdraft fees for insufficient payment amount: NA; Dave won’t process transaction if there are insufficient funds.
  • Eligibility requirements: All-digital platform requires an email address, bank account; no paper of any kind is used, including checks.


EarnIn advances $50-$750 of earned income during a pay period, with payment due on payday. It’s kind of a hybrid earned income access/payday advance app. The app doesn’t partner with an employer, but uses either your employment wage information or GPs, if you work in a fixed location, to determine how much you’ve worked that pay period. The cash advance is based on hours worked. The average payout for new customers is $85. App members who prove financial responsibility can get higher payouts after a few pay periods. Customers don’t pay a fee (except for instant transfer), but voluntarily “tip” EarnIn. Industry experts say that while some customers don’t tip, most leave tips that are equivalent to triple-digit interest on a traditional payday loan.

  • Type of cash advance: Earned income access/payday.
  • Maximum amount: $100 a day/$750 a pay period (depending on length of membership, financial habits).
  • Fees: Optional tip; Lightning Speed instant cash transfer fee $0.99-$3.99.
  • Standard processing time: 1-3 business days
  • Repayment period: Next payday; if balance is insufficient for payment, the daily max allowed goes to $0 and pay period max to $50-$100, where it stays until there are two successful paybacks.
  • Covers overdraft fees for insufficient payment amount: No
  • Eligibility requirements: Consistent direct deposit pay schedule (weekly, biweekly, semi-monthly, monthly); must earn minimum $320 per pay period; one or more of: fixed work location, employer-provided email address, electronic or printed timesheet system.


Empower charges a monthly fee, and also allows customers to tip. Empower checks your linked checking account when you apply and determines eligibility by consistency of income and transactions. Being overdrawn a lot is a red flag. New customers get a 14-day free trial. It’s up to the customer to cancel by contacting customer service, or they’re charged monthly. Former Empower customers don’t get the free trial but are immediately charged the fee.

  • Type of cash advance: Payday
  • Maximum amount: $250
  • Fees: $8 monthly subscription after 14-day free trial; $1-$8 instant payment (depending on amount); optional tips.
  • Processing time: 1-5 days
  • Repayment period: Next payday
  • Covers overdraft fees for insufficient repayment amount: Yes (with proof of fee sent to customer support).
  • Eligibility requirements: Bank account, smart phone that can receive texts; consistent source of income; acceptable bank transactions.


Klover requires that you subscribe, and provides budgeting tips, chances to win money and financial tools, along with cash advances with the membership. Members are pre-qualified for a cash advance up to $100 per pay period, and can get up to another $100 with points earned by doing things like watching an ad video, scanning receipts, referring a friend or taking a survey. Points can also be used to pay an instant money delivery fee. As of this writing, the Klover app was no longer compatible with Android phones.

  • Type of cash advance: Payday
  • Maximum amount: $200 ($100 prequalified; $100 by earning points).
  • Fees: $3.99 monthly subscription; $2.99-$8.49 instant payment (depending on amount).
  • Standard processing time: 2-3 days; up to 24 hours for instant payment.
  • Repayment period: Next payday
  • Covers overdraft fees for insufficient payment amount: No.
  • Eligibility requirements: Bank account, three consistent pay direct-deposits from the same employer; weekly or bi-weekly pay schedule; checking account in good standing for at least 90 days.


MoneyLion has high maximums but reaching them is income dependent. You won’t know what you qualify for until you apply on the app. If you open a RoarCash account, for $1, the maximum doubles and Turbo (instant payment) fees decrease. If you don’t have RoarCash, you’ll pay $8.99 for instant cash of $90 or more.

  • Type of cash advance: Payday
  • Maximum amount: $500 ($1,000 with RoarCash account), depending on income.
  • Fees: $1.99-$8.99 Turbo fee for instant payment ($0.49-$5.99 with RoarMoney account); optional tips; $1 monthly RoarMoney subscription fee.
  • Standard processing time: 1-5 days
  • Repayment period: Next payday; if balance is insufficient, a partial payment may be deducted; additional payment methods may also be accessed if they’re listed in a MoneyLion account.
  • Covers overdraft fees for insufficient payment amount: No
  • Eligibility requirements: Checking account at least two months old with history of recurring paycheck/income deposits and a consistent positive balance that is used regularly.


Payactiv is an earned income access app that allows users to get up to 50% during a pay period after they’ve earned it. Money can go to a linked bank account, a provided debit card, or users can pick it up as cash at Walmart. The transaction will show up as a deduction on your pay stub.

  • Type: Earned income access
  • Maximum amount: $500 without direct deposit; $1,000 with direct deposit (employers may set lower limits).
  • Fees: $2.99 instant payment fee
  • Standard processing time: 1-3 days
  • Repayment period: NA
  • Covers overdraft fees for insufficient payment amount: NA
  • Eligibility requirements: Employer participation required.

SoLo Funds

SoLo Funds is a lending marketplace, which means that lenders and other consumers fund the loans. This can mean a delay of a day or two before you learn if you’ll get money. If the request isn’t funded within three days, it’s canceled. SoLo Funds differs from most other cash advance apps in that the repayment isn’t automatically deducted from your account. You choose a repayment date, then send it when it’s due. A $10 or 10% of principal (whichever is higher) late payment fee keeps borrowers in check. Creditworthiness is determined by a SoLo Score that’s compiled from your financial habits after you allow access to your bank account. The score can go up if you make payments on time but will go down if you don’t. Borrowers can also become lenders but can’t be both at the same time.

  • Type: Peer-to-peer marketplace lender
  • Maximum amount: $575
  • Fees: 1.75% instant payment fee; optional tip up to 15% of loan; $10 or 10% of principal (whichever is higher) fee for payments 35 days or more late.
  • Standard processing time: 1-3 days (bank account verification can take 48 hours during business week)
  • Repayment period: Borrower chooses date within 35 days of loan, manually repays.
  • Covers overdraft fees for insufficient payment amount: No.
  • Eligibility requirements: Active bank account with positive balance; debit card linked to active bank account with positive balance.


Vola requires a membership and uses an algorithm that tracks your spending habits to determine how much of a cash advance you’re eligible for. The algorithm creates a Vola Score that increases if you make payments on time and avoid bank overdrafts, as well as read financial literacy material or use a Vola card. Vola claims not to charge a fee for instant payment, but it’s difficult to determine fees without joining and providing banking information. Basic membership is free, but you must email Vola to request a cash advance. There’s a monthly fee for Premium membership, reportedly from $2.99-$28.99, depending on which cash advance tier you choose. The tier’s fees are undisclosed unless you get the app, sign in, give your bank account information, and ask to apply for a cash advance.

  • Type: Payday
  • Maximum amount: $400 (based on income).
  • Fees: Monthly subscription $2.99-$28.99.
  • Standard processing time: Immediate (usually less than five hours on a business day; may be affected by bank holidays or weekends).
  • Repayment period: Next payday
  • Covers overdraft fees for insufficient payment amount: No.
  • Eligibility requirements: Bank account more than three months old, with activity on most days of the week, regular income deposits and an average balance of more than $150.

Pros and Cons of Cash Advance Apps

If you want to borrow money until payday, the best way to do it is fee-free, with the certainty that you can pay it back. Even then, fast money can be expensive money. While cash advance apps offer budgeting and other financial tools, the model also encourages impulsive borrowing, including instant payment, for which there’s almost always a fee. The pros and cons of borrowing money until payday through a cash advance app have different impacts, depending on your financial situation. Consider them carefully to determine if a cash or payday advance app will work for you.

Advantages of a Payday Advance Apps

  • Most allow application within minutes on your smart phone.
  • Fast money. All have instant payment available, and even standard payment is within days.
  • No credit None require a credit pull.
  • Initially cheaper than payday loans and credit card cash advances because they don’t have high, or any, interest.
  • Can help you avoid overdraft fees by getting money into your bank account before payday.
  • Financial literacy, budgeting, and money accounts are available with many.

Disadvantages of Payday Advance Apps

  • Fees (some undisclosed) can add up, including those for instant payment.
  • Personal data, including all bank information, is shared with app (and some earned wage apps even use GPS data to track your whereabouts).
  • Encourages bad spending and repeat borrowing habits, posing the risk of falling into a debt trap.
  • A smart phone is required, which can be expensive for people with limited income.
  • An active bank account is required, often with direct deposit.
  • Automatic repayment may cause overdraft fees.
  • Self-employed, temporary, part-time and farm workers are often not eligible because of inconsistent pay schedules and employers.
  • Doesn’t help credit score, like other lending does (with on-time payments).
  • Scams abound in the cash advance app industry, so do your research and borrow from a legitimate lender.

» Learn More: How to get out of debt

Alternatives to Cash Advance Apps

If you need to borrow money to bridge the gap to your next payday, or even for a longer period of time, there are less costly and financially dangerous options than cash advance apps.

Some require a credit check or decent credit score, unlike cash advance apps. But some don’t. You will likely trade the option for fast, easy money, but gain a more financially sound solution to debt problems.

Some options are:

  • Small personal loan. A small personal loan from a bank or online lender may have interest, but it also has a term payment schedule and fewer pitfalls than a cash advance. Pay it back on time and watch your credit score increase.
  • Credit union loans. Credit unions are nonprofit member-owned financial institutions, many local and community-based, that have lower fees and more flexible terms for loans that most banks. Credit union loans require membership, but that usually means opening a savings or checking account with a $5-$25 minimum.
  • Buy now, pay later. If your cash advance is to buy a needed furniture item or appliance, look into buy now, pay later options, which are often cheaper and with installment repayment.
  • Friends and family loans. If your friends and family are willing to lend you needed cash, go for it. Just be sure to pay it back when agreed to, so you don’t damage valuable relationships that are worth more than money.
  • Additional revenue streams/side hustles. If you have a skill, talent, or extra time, consider turning that into extra money. Just be sure to do your research so the costs and time factors are money smart.

» Learn More: Payday loan alternatives

Get Help

If you are trying to learn how to borrow money until payday, you likely are in a financial situation that’s going to take more than a cash advance to sort out. Avoid the pitfalls of quick money, and instead focus on long-term solutions to a stronger financial foundation, including debt relief.

Talking to a credit counselor at a nonprofit credit counseling agency is the first step toward healthy finances.

A consultation with a counselor is free, and they are required by law to offer advice that’s in your best interest, rather than pitch a product. They’ll review your financial situation; help you create a budget and explore options with you on how to reduce or eliminate debt.

The counselor may suggest a debt management plan, which isn’t a loan, but is a way to pay off your credit cards and other unsecured debt in a strategic way that works with your budget. You can eliminate debt in 3-5 years with a DMP, which is offered by a nonprofit credit counseling agency.

You pay a fixed monthly amount to the credit counseling agency, and the agency pays your creditors. They work with them to lower your interest rates and waive fees, and you can watch online as your balances melt away.

Cash Advance App FAQs

Generalizations like “easiest” and “most money” often come with qualifiers that depend on your financial situation. Be sure to research any cash or payday advance app thoroughly before you get too immersed. Be sure to read the tiny type at the bottom of the website and the FAQs on an app’s website before diving in. Sometimes the information that will cost you the most money is the hardest to find.

What Is the Easiest App to Get a Cash Advance?

Empower, with its free 14-day trial, and Albert, with a one-month free trial, won’t cost you anything if you pay back the loan immediately and then unsubscribe before monthly payments kick in. Empower also has less restrictive banking requirements than many other cash advance apps.

What App Gives the Largest Cash Advance?

MoneyLion has a $1,000 maximum if you have a RoarMoney account. SoLo Funds has a $575 maximum, and Dave has a $500 cap. Maximums are based on financial worthiness and bank account information, and most cash advance apps, including these three, pay most borrowers far lower amounts.

Are Cash Advance Apps Payday Lenders?

Technically, they are not. They are not banks (despite the fact you’ll see some descriptions that say they are “online banks”). They don’t charge interest or have installment loans, and many avoid charging fees by encouraging optional “tips.” They are not regulated the way payday loans are, though some states, including California, are looking at regulations. That said, in reality a cash app advance is a loan of money, usually until payday, which will cost you money. Fees can be equal or more than what you’d pay in interest to a payday loan lender for the same amount of money.

Does Getting a Cash Advance Affect Your Credit Score?

If you borrow the money and pay it back on time, (usually in two weeks), a payday or cash advance from an app has no impact on your credit score. It doesn’t help it, and it doesn’t hurt it. If you don’t pay the money back, some lenders, like Klover, will send the debt to a debt collection agency, which will have a negative impact on your credit score.

Why Do I Need a Smartphone to Get Money from a Cash Advance App?

An app is, technically, a smart phone application. Even though most payday advance lenders have websites, cash advances are only available through the app because that makes it quick and efficient. Borrowers like that. So do lenders. It leads to impulsive decisions, and simplifies the process for users, meaning more people will borrow money.

Can I Get a Payday Advance if I’m Self-Employed or on Social Security?

Most cash and payday advance apps require a consistent direct-deposit income from an employer. If you are a contract worker who is paid on a regular schedule, you likely will be eligible. If your income is inconsistent or is not direct deposited on a schedule, it’s harder. Look for cash advance apps with more flexible schedules, like SoLo Fund, which allow you to schedule a repayment.

About The Author

Maureen Milliken

Maureen Milliken has been writing about finance, banking, investment, entrepreneurship, real estate and other related topics for more than 30 years. She started as the “Business Beat” columnist for the now-defunct Haverhill (Mass.) Gazette and currently is one of the hosts of the Mainebiz business-focused podcast, “The Day that Changed Everything” in addition to her daily writing. She also is is the author of three mystery novels and two nonfiction books.


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