Finances would be simple if everything went according to plan. You work and make money, then you pay for what you need. But what if you’re living paycheck to paycheck and you have an unexpected expense?
According to a survey by the American Payroll Association, nearly 69% of Americans would experience financial difficulties if their paychecks were delayed for a week. You could turn to a payday loan or cash advance on a credit card to help get the money you need. But these options can be expensive and may end up being more trouble than they’re worth.
With some help from technology, you have a more favorable option. Paycheck advance apps can help you get the cash you need to make ends meet without the scary feeling of getting into high-interest debt. Here are seven apps that can help you get a paycheck advance when you need it most.
Chime offers typical banking services through a mobile app that’s available on iOS or Android devices. 2 Services include a spending account, savings account, and a secured credit card. If you want to get money early with Chime, you need to open a Chime Spending Account and set up direct deposit. This will connect the account with your employer and automatically qualify you to get early access to your paychecks.ˆ
(Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by, and debit card issued by, The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC.)
Paychecks could arrive up to two days early with this feature.ˆ This may come in handy if you run into unforeseen circumstances or want to get a head start on paying for certain expenses.
Chime has no monthly fees and often has better benefits than many traditional banks. No monthly fees means no overdraft fees, minimum balance fees, monthly maintenance fees, or foreign transaction fees.* You also get access to tens of thousands of fee-free ATMs in the MoneyPass and Visa Plus Alliance networks and up to $250,000 in Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. coverage on eligible Chime accounts.˜
In addition, the Chime Savings Account offers a generous annual percentage yield (APY) of 1.00% (as of Aug. 8, 2022). 4 This is much higher than the national average for savings accounts of 0.10% APY (as of Jul. 25, 2022). 1
Read our Chime review for more details.
Current offers a checking account you can use through a mobile app that’s available for both Apple and Android devices. This makes it easy to manage your money and access your account balance while you’re on the go. Current is considered one of the best checking accounts because of its 24/7 customer service availability and ability to send your paychecks early.
To get access to your paychecks up to two days early, you need to open a Current checking account and set up direct deposit. This will connect your Current account to your employer’s payroll services and qualify you for early direct deposit. When Current receives your paycheck information from your employer, you’ll gain immediate access to your funds.
Current checking accounts also come with many other helpful benefits. You get up to $100 in free overdrafts on your account and access to 55,000 fee-free ATMs worldwide, but you’ll pay no minimum balance fees or overdraft fees. You can also earn rewards points with your Current debit card at participating merchants. These points can be redeemed for cash in your Current account.
The Current checking account comes with up to $250,000 of FDIC insurance.
Read our Current review for all the details about this account.
Empower offers an interest-bearing checking account with an automatic savings feature, budgeting categories, and tailored recommendations that can help you save money. If you need money for an emergency, Empower can provide you with up to $250 in cash to help you get by. 3 Empower will check your account history, account activity, and direct deposit information and activity to see whether you qualify for its cash advance offer.
If you qualify and need a cash advance, simply request one in the mobile app (available for both iOS and Android devices). Empower will deposit cash into your account for your immediate use. The cash advance amount is decided by Empower, so you don’t get to select the number. Repayment occurs automatically when you receive your next paycheck via direct deposit. You don’t have to pay any interest or late fees or submit to a credit check.
Empower is designed for people who want easy access to their money and want to continue improving their financial situation. You earn up to 5.00% APY (as of June 21, 2022) on the funds in your checking account if enrolled in AutoSave. It’s also helpful to get automatic insight into your finances from Empower. Getting alerts about banking fees or subscription price increases can save you a lot of money over time.
Empower accounts come with up to $250,000 of FDIC insurance.
Earnin is a free mobile app (available on both iOS and Android devices) that lets users get cash early before their paycheck arrives. You could get up to $100 per day from Earnin on the money you’ve already earned from working. Earnin requires you to link a checking account with direct deposit and add certain employment information before you can receive a paycheck advance.
With this information, Earnin can know how much money you’ve already earned based on the hours you’ve logged on your timesheet. You can then request a cash out (up to $100 per day) if you need money between pay periods. Earnin will automatically debit your linked bank account for the amount you cashed out when you receive your next paycheck.
Earnin also offers other features like Tip Jar, Balance Shield, Cash Back Rewards, and Earnin Express:
- Tip Jar lets you put money into your Earnin account for specific savings goals you can track.
- Balance Shield helps you monitor your bank account for overdrafts.
- Cash Back Rewards lets you enroll your own eligible debit and credit cards to take advantage of shopping and dining offers that earn cash back.
- Earnin Express is a virtual bank account (FDIC-insured for up to $250,000) that you can use to receive direct deposits from your employer. This potentially allows you to receive more money from your paycheck between pay periods and possibly receive your paycheck early.
Dave is a mobile app (available on both iOS and Android devices) that offers certain banking services and a way to get your paycheck earlier than traditional banks. To get your paycheck early, make sure you sign up for a Dave spending account and set it up with direct deposit through your employer. Following these steps could get you access to your paycheck up to two days early.
If you need money even earlier, the Dave app can help with a paycheck advance. When you request a pay advance through the app, you’ll choose the amount of money you need and a payback date. You can’t request another advance until you’ve paid back the previous advance. Fortunately, these advances are interest-free and your credit won’t be checked either.
Dave spending accounts have no minimum balance fees or overdraft fees. You also get access to 32,000 fee-free MoneyPass ATMs, and your account is covered for up to $250,000 in FDIC insurance. In addition, Dave partners with the LevelCredit service to help you build your credit by reporting rent payments to the major credit bureaus. LevelCredit typically costs $100 per year, but it’s free for Dave banking members.
Brigit is a mobile app (available on both iOS and Android devices) designed to help improve your financial situation through cash advances, by avoiding overdraft fees, and by providing other helpful services. To qualify for Brigit Instant Cash, you need to sign up for a Brigit Plus account (there is a $9.99 monthly fee) and meet all bank and deposit requirements.
If you qualify, you’ll be approved for a loan amount between $50 to $250. Your repayment date is set when you first request an advance and should coincide with the date of your next payday. There are no fees for this service, and no interest will be charged.
Brigit also offers spending habit insights, overdraft predictions, credit score tracking, up to $1 million in identity theft protection, and job listings for opportunities to earn more income.
MoneyLion offers a variety of financial products and features, including mobile banking and cash advances. Its cash advance feature is called Instacash, which you can set up in three simple steps. First, download the app (available on both iOS and Android devices) and set up an account. Then link a checking account that meets the eligibility requirements. And finally, request Instacash from the app.
You don’t have to pay any interest on Instacash and paying back the borrowed amount is straightforward. MoneyLion will automatically deduct the Instacash amount from your linked bank account according to your paycheck cycle. Keep in mind that increasing your direct deposit amount into your linked checking account will typically increase the limit on how much Instacash you can borrow.
MoneyLion also offers personal finance tracking to help monitor your money, as well as opportunities for investing and earning cashback rewards. MoneyLion mobile banking accounts (called RoarMoney accounts) include up to $250,000 of FDIC insurance.
Paycheck apps for employers
Employers can also use apps to help their employees get the money they need between paychecks. If you’re an employer, you may want to look into these apps for your employees. If you’re an employee, ask your human resources department if any of these apps are available.
Here are some apps to help employers provide additional financial benefits to their employees:
- FlexWage: Employees get instant access to earned wages and can use wages to pay anywhere Visa or Mastercard are accepted.
- DailyPay: Employees get instant access to earned wages, including tips and gratuities, and can use savings features to put away money.
- PayActiv: Employees get instant access to up to 50% of earned wages and can pay for Uber or Amazon expenses, or online bills, directly through the PayActiv app.
- Branch: Employees get instant access to earned wages, whether you’re a W-2 or 1099 employee.
What is the best payday advance app?
The best payday advance app is the one that best suits your needs. Apps like Chime and Current offer online banking services and could help you receive your paycheck up to two days early. Apps such as Empower and Dave could offer cash advances, but these need to be paid off when your next paycheck arrives. Each app also has unique features, so see which features most align with your financial goals and needs.
What happens if you don’t pay a paycheck advance app back?
Most paycheck advance apps don’t charge interest or late fees if you don’t pay back the money you borrowed. But you typically won’t be able to borrow more money until you make your repayment. In some cases, you may be banned from an app if you continue to not pay back money you borrowed.
How can I get a quick loan with no credit?
Many lenders offer quick personal loans that don’t require good credit, but you’re likely to pay higher interest rates or fees for them. These types of loans may include installment loans or money from payday lenders. Potentially safer options include paycheck advance apps and credit builder loans.
Paycheck advance apps could help you receive paychecks early or get a cash advance against a future paycheck. Credit builder loans typically put the money you borrow into a savings account until you’ve paid off the loan. Once you pay off the loan, you can access the money and sometimes also the interest it earned (if applicable). Making payments on the loan can help you build credit, which can be useful in opening up more financial opportunities in the future, as well as helping you create a savings habit.
Paycheck advance apps can help provide you with needed financial assistance when the unexpected happens in the middle of a pay cycle when you don’t have cash. There are some things even the best banks can't do for you. So it makes sense to use these apps when you need them, as everyone needs extra cash sometimes. But don’t become too reliant on borrowing your own money.
Remember that focusing on the short term won’t necessarily help you achieve your financial goals in the long run. If you borrow money from future paychecks, those paychecks immediately arrive with less money. This can become a vicious cycle where you have less and less money to work with over time.
Instead of falling into this cycle, use these apps when you need them. Then focus on how to make extra cash on the side or learn how to manage your money more efficiently. This can help you escape from living paycheck to paycheck and constantly stressing over your finances.
Disclaimer: All rates and fees are accurate as of June 21, 2022.