How MagnifyMoney Gets Paid

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Banking Apps

5 Apps That Loan You Money Before Payday

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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Financial emergencies have a habit of cropping up at the worst possible time — when you’re stuck in between paychecks. You might be tempted to turn to a credit card or a payday loan, but those could rack up costly fees.

You may be able to get a portion of your next paycheck early using apps like Earnin or Dave. These paycheck advance apps let you borrow small amounts of money, often without charging interest. With some, you may just pay a membership fee or a voluntary tip.

1. Earnin

  • Withdraw up to $100 per pay period, or up to $500 after continued use of the app.
  • Paycheck advance is available without a credit check
  • No fees or interest — Earnin makes money from voluntary tips

The Earnin app lets you borrow money from your next paycheck without charging fees or interest. However, Earnin does ask for support in the form of tips.

At the start, you may only be able to withdraw up to $100 each pay period. But based on your account balances and use, the pay-period maximum could potentially increase up to $500. The payment will arrive in your checking account within one business day, or even a few seconds, depending on where you bank.

The next time your paycheck hits your bank account, Earnin will automatically withdraw what you owe.

How it works: Earnin keeps track of the money you earn while you work, and you can withdraw a portion of your unpaid wages before your next payday.

Connect your bank account (if Earnin supports your bank) and verify your paycheck schedule. You must have direct deposit set up and linked to a checking account.

2. Dave

  • Interest-free cash advances worth up to $75, or $100 with a Dave debit card
  • Banking app with expense tracking and option to open debit account
  • $1 monthly membership fee and a small fee for expedited delivery, plus voluntary tip

Dave is a membership service that costs $1 per month. Qualified members can get paycheck advances worth up to $75, or up to $100 with a Dave debit card.

The money can take up to three business days to reach your account. There is also an express funding option that will get the money deposited quickly for a fee. You can also choose to give a tip when you take out an advance, but tipping is optional.

How it works: Connect a checking account where your paychecks are directly deposited and have an account history with several consistent paychecks. Your approval may also depend on whether Dave determines whether you’ll have enough money to repay the loan — so if you generally get paid and spend all your money the next day, you might not get approved.

You can repay the loan automatically from your connected checking account, or repay part or all of the advance early if you want.

3. MoneyLion

  • Up to $250 cash advance at 0% APR with Instacash
  • No credit check for using Instacash
  • Personal finance app offering various financial products

MoneyLion is a personal finance app with a variety of features, including interest-free cash advances worth up to $250 with its Instacash feature. MoneyLion also offers mobile banking, credit builder loans, automated investing, financial tracking and cashback rewards.

How it works: Download the MoneyLion app and create an account with your email address. Link your checking account to see if you qualify for 0% APR cash advances of up to $250 without a credit check.

To qualify for Instacash, you should use a checking account that’s been open for at least two months that shows a positive balance and regular income deposits.

4. Brigit

  • Borrow up to $250 with a cash advance without a credit check using Brigit Plus
  • $9.99 monthly membership fee, which includes free instant transfers
  • Banking app that helps with expense tracking

Brigit is a personal finance app that allows you to take out cash advances worth up to $250 with its Brigit Plus plan, which costs $9.99 per month. The amount you can borrow is based on your bank account activity rather than your work schedule.

Brigit Plus offers other features, such as account monitoring, and members are eligible for free extensions if they’re having trouble repaying the loan. Brigit doesn’t charge late fees or instant transfer fees, and it doesn’t ask for tips.

How it works: Connect a checking account that’s been active for at least 60 days, has a positive balance and has at least three recurring direct deposits from the same employer. You’ll also need to have a history of maintaining a positive balance the day of (and day after) your payday.

Once you’re set up, you can request an advance on your next paycheck. The amount will depend on your checking account’s history and can be worth up to $250. You can receive one advance at a time, which will automatically be repaid from your bank account on your next payday. However, you are also able to repay the advance early.

5. Branch

  • Withdraw up to 50% of your earned wages per pay period
  • No fee for standard (three-day) withdrawals or instant withdrawals to your Branch wallet, but $2.99 to $4.99 for instant withdrawals to accounts at any other bank
  • Banking platform partners with employers to offer more financial features

Branch is a financial wellness app that offers interest-free paycheck advances with its Instant Pay feature. You can request an advance of up to 50% of your next paycheck using the app — the money will be deposited into your account, and then paid back with an automatic withdrawal on your next payday.

A standard withdrawal into your bank account is free and could take up to three days. There is a $2.99 to $4.99 fee if you want to request an instant payment to a third-party bank, but instant transfers are free into your Branch Wallet.

How it works: To be eligible for Branch Instant Pay, you must have a checking account with two months’ worth of consecutive direct deposits from the same employer. The company also offers more features if multiple employees at the same company use the app, or if your employer signs up.

Need more money? Consider a personal loan

While a paycheck advance can help when you are in a small pinch, they often cannot cover a larger emergency expense. If you need more money, you might want to take out a personal loan.

Personal loans are often unsecured loans, meaning you’ll qualify based on your creditworthiness. You’ll receive the money and repay the loan over a predetermined period of time. Many personal loans have a fixed interest rate, and you can know exactly how much your monthly payments will be and how much you’ll pay overall before accepting a loan offer.

The downside is that you may wind up paying fees to take out the loan and a lot of interest, especially if you take out a large loan and then spend several years repaying it.

If you have poor or no credit, watch out for online lenders that offer high-rate installment loans. These can seem like good options when the monthly payments are affordable, but the fees and interest can result in repaying several times as much as you borrow. You can explore bad credit loan options here.

How MagnifyMoney Gets Paid

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Company
APR
Terms
Credit Req.
Upgrade

6.94% - 35.97%

36 or 60

months

620

Minimum Credit Score

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Lender Disclosure

Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 6.94%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 2.9% to 8% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank or designated account within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes the transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days. Funds sent directly to pay off your creditors may take up to 2 weeks to clear, depending on the creditor. Personal loans issued by Upgrade's lending partners. Information on Upgrade's lending partners can be found at https://www.upgrade.com/lending-partners/.

10.68% - 35.89%

36 or 60

months

Not specified

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

3.99% - 19.99%*

with AutoPay

24 to 144*

months

Not specified

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Lender Disclosure

*Your loan terms, including APR, may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term length, and your credit profile. Excellent credit is required to qualify for lowest rates. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount. AutoPay discount is only available prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% points higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 3.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $295.20.

18.00% - 35.99%

24 to 60

months

Not specified

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Lender Disclosure

Not all applicants will qualify for larger loan amounts or most favorable loan terms. Loan approval and actual loan terms depend on your ability to meet our credit standards (including a responsible credit history, sufficient income after monthly expenses, and availability of collateral). Larger loan amounts require a first lien on a motor vehicle no more than ten years old, that meets our value requirements, titled in your name with valid insurance. Maximum annual percentage rate (APR) is 35.99%, subject to state restrictions. APRs are generally higher on loans not secured by a vehicle. Depending on the state where you open your loan, the origination fee may be either a flat amount or a percentage of your loan amount. Flat fee amounts vary by state, ranging from $25 to $400. Percentage-based fees vary by state ranging from 1% to 10% of your loan amount subject to certain state limits on the fee amount. Active duty military, their spouse or dependents covered under the Military Lending Act may not pledge any vehicle as collateral for a loan. OneMain loan proceeds cannot be used for postsecondary educational expenses as defined by the CFPB’s Regulation Z, such as college, university or vocational expenses; for any business or commercial purpose; to purchase securities; or for gambling or illegal purposes.

Borrowers in these states are subject to these minimum loan sizes: Alabama: $2,100. California: $3,000. Georgia: Unless you are a present customer, $3,100 minimum loan amount. Ohio: $2,000. Virginia: $2,600.

Borrowers (other than present customers) in these states are subject to these maximum unsecured loan sizes: Florida: $8,000. Iowa: $8,500. Maine: $7,000. Mississippi: $7,500. North Carolina: $7,500. New York: $20,000. Texas: $8,000. West Virginia: $14,000. An unsecured loan is a loan which does not require you to provide collateral (such as a motor vehicle) to the lender.
SoFi

5.99% - 20.69%*

24 to 84

months

680

Minimum Credit Score

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Lender Disclosure

Fixed rates from 5.99% APR to 20.69% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of January 19, 2021 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

The information in this article is accurate as of the date of publishing.

How MagnifyMoney Gets Paid

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Banking Apps

Stash Debit Card Launches with Stock Rewards

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Written By

You’ve heard of earning cash back on your credit card purchases. What about getting shares of stock instead? Investing startup Stash is introducing a unique take on rewards by offering its customers shares of stock for using its new debit card.

Once you opt in, Stash Stock-Back™ Rewards is the most eye-catching part of Stash’s mobile banking product. Stash’s debit account and debit card — powered by Green Dot — comprise a pretty conventional banking option. There are no overdraft or monthly maintenance fees (though the account is far from fee-free), plus free access to over 19,000 Allpoint ATMs nationwide.

How Stash Stock-Back works

With Stash’s new Stock-Back program, you earn 0.125% of each qualifying purchase you make with your Stash debit card at over 11 million retail outlets as a stock reward. Some merchants may even offer bonuses where you can earn up to 5% of each purchase as Stock-Back rewards.

The stock rewards can be in shares of the vendor where you made the purchase, and if the vendor’s stock is listed on the Stash Platform, your reward is in the shares of that company. For example, every time you get Taco Bell and pay with your Stash debit card, you earn a small percentage of YUM! Brands stock. If a vendor’s stock isn’t available on Stash, you’ll earn your Stock-Back reward as shares in Vanguard Total World Stock ETF.

Stash invests in fractional shares

Stash’s investment platform facilitates investing small amounts of money in stock by offering users fractional shares. It’s important to understand that with Stock-Back rewards, customers aren’t really getting full shares — or at least not until they’ve done a lot of spending. Instead, they are accumulating fractional shares.

In this category of stock investing, brokerages split shares of stock into smaller parts in order to help small investors diversify their holdings or get access to shares with relatively high per-share prices.

The Stock-Back rewards you earn on qualifying debit purchases using your Stash debit card will be added to your Stash Invest account.

Stash Debit account fees

Stash boasts zero hidden fees on its Debit account, although there are fees on a few transaction types. You won’t face a fee for monthly maintenance, overdraft/insufficient funds, ACH bank transfers, direct deposits and replacement debit cards.

Most significantly, however, you will get dinged for using out-of-network ATMs. Since Stash operates entirely online, it also charges a fee for using a bank teller to withdraw cash. Stash also charges for making cash deposits, which means the account may not work well on its own. Instead, consider pairing it with another checking account that does accept free cash deposits.

Note that Stash Invest accounts do charge a monthly fee of either $1, $3 or $5 per month, depending on the plan you choose.

Stash Debit account fees
Out-of-network ATM fee$2.50
Out-of-network ATM balance inquiry fee$0.50
Teller cash withdrawal fee$2.50
Cash deposit feeUp to $4.95, varies by retailer
Foreign transaction fee3% of total transaction amount

What is Stash?

Stash began as a way to simplify, automate and personalize investing. To start with Stash Invest, you’ll need at least $5. Then you can tailor your portfolio based on your risk tolerance and potential passion projects — that allows you to invest in causes you care about from environmentally friendly companies to the newest tech innovators. You can also take advantage of Auto-Stash recurring deposits to keep your investments growing.

Stash Investments is an SEC registered investment advisor. Stash Debit Account Services are powered by Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC insured on your debit account funds.

*Fees and rates mentioned in this article are accurate as of the date of publishing.

How MagnifyMoney Gets Paid

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Banking Apps

The 2018 MagnifyMoney Mobile Banking App Ratings

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Written By

Since 2014, MagnifyMoney has rated the apps of the largest American banks and credit unions. Years later, banking apps are as ubiquitous as smartphones themselves. According to one 2018 survey, smartphone users only check the weather and social media more than their banking apps. And it’s not limited to users checking their balances: Two-thirds of all banking customers using a mobile banking app made at least one mobile payment last year, according to a Federal Reserve survey.

So when consumers’ money is on the line, which banking apps do they rate the highest?

Key findings

  • Overall, apps have significantly improved. Smartphone users on the Apple App Store and Google Play rate banking apps an average of 3.9 stars (out of 5.0), up from the average of 3.7 stars in MagnifyMoney’s 2017 ratings.
  • Best Overall App: For the second consecutive year, Discover had a score of 4.8.
  • Best App Among the 10 Largest Banks:BB&T, which had a combined MagnifyMoney rating of 3.0 last year, now has a rating of 4.8.
  • Worst App Among the 10 Largest Banks:SunTrust earned a 4.2 score this year. Although it’s above average overall, it’s a low score among the top 10 largest banks.
  • Best App Among the Largest Credit Unions:  Eastman Credit Union topped the rankings with a score of 4.8, well above the average of 3.9 for all credit union apps reviewed.
  • Worst App Among the Largest Credit Unions:Golden 1 Credit Union, although its rating of 3.3 remained unchanged from 2017, dropped to the bottom of the rankings this year.
  • Best Online Direct Bank App: Discover scored 4.8, which is unchanged from 2017.
  • Worst Online Direct Bank App:TIAA Bank, formerly EverBank, with a score of 2.3, had the lowest overall rating among all institutions.
  • Most Improved Traditional Bank: BB&T rose from 3.0 to 4.8, an improvement of 56% year over year.
  • Most Improved Credit Union:Suncoast Credit Union’s rating of 4.5 was a 26% increase over last year’s score of 3.5.
  • Most Improved Online Direct Bank:Ally Bank saw a 17% increase from 2017, rising from 3.4 to 3.9. The bank also made MagnifyMoney’s list for the top online savings accounts.
  • Overall Most Improved App: BB&T leaped from 3.0 to 4.8.
  • Overall Most Deteriorated App: TIAA Bank dropped 12%, from 2.6 to 2.3 year over year.
  • Most improved category: As a group, traditional banks saw the largest improvement (8% on average), and only two institutions received a rating below 4.5.

Overall best and worst banking apps

best overall bank apps

worst overall bank apps

Discover is the No. 1 app on MagnifyMoney’s rankings

Discover held its place at the top of the rankings for the second consecutive year. Users of this app not only have access to the customary features that bank app users have come to count on but also several unexpected features.

Within seconds, Discover customers can:

  • Freeze their account
  • Report a card lost or stolen
  • Live chat with a Discover representative
  • See a snapshot of their account without logging in to the app

IPad users also have access to Discover’s Spend Analyzer, a tool that sorts purchases into categories for easy tracking and analyzing, perhaps one of the reasons why this app ranked slightly higher with iOS users — 4.8 versus 4.6 with Android users.

To learn more about Discover Bank, read MagnifyMoney’s comprehensive review of its banking products.

How the largest banks rank

largest banks with the best apps

Big banks are prioritizing the mobile experience

The ratings of all the big banks improved, a sign that mobile apps are no longer a back-burner item for large banks. That seemed to be the case in previous years.

In 2017, the lowest rating among the top 10 largest banks was 3.0. This year, the lowest is 4.2 — a significant improvement. Furthermore, over half of the top 10 largest banks had scores that improved more than 10% year over year. BB&T, the most improved bank overall, increased 56%.

Traditional banks as a whole saw the most improvement when compared to credit unions and online direct banks — 8% on average, versus 5% and -1% respectively.

10 most improved and deteriorated apps

most improved bank apps

most deteriorated bank apps

How credit unions rank

Credit unions are no longer king of banking apps

Interestingly, bank apps now have as good of a user experience as credit unions. Previously, our findings have shown that the user experience of credit union apps was better than those of banks (in general, consumers like credit unions more than banks).

Perhaps this is indicative of banks finally not taking customers (as much) for granted and recognizing the need to stay competitive with their user experience. However, that doesn’t mean credit unions aren’t able to offer convenient banking options.

How online direct banks rank

online largest online direct bank apps

Online banks may soon have catching up to do

While there was some improvement in the ratings of the largest online direct banks, many of the top 12 ranked either saw minimal changes or a decrease in ranking. And the category as a whole remained flat year over year, whereas both traditional banks and credit unions saw an improvement in their overall ratings.

If rankings continue to move in the current direction — online banks remaining steady and credit unions and traditional banks improving — online institutions may need to focus on bringing new and innovative features to their user experience. Fair to say, however, that online banks continue to offer some of the top savings accounts and other banking options.

Methodology

App ratings from Google Play (Android platform) and the App Store (Apple iOS platform) were recorded in October 2018, and the overall MagnifyMoney score combines the user ratings of each. Overall ratings are a weighted average of iOS and Android ratings based on the number of reviews for each platform. Institutions with no mobile apps were excluded from ranking summaries.

The 50 largest banks, defined as those with the largest deposits per June 2018 Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data, were examined. Those without meaningful consumer checking product offerings were excluded. The 50 largest credit unions by assets, according to the Credit Union National Association in September 2018, were examined. A separate category ranks the 12 largest online direct banks, as defined by the number of app ratings.