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Banking Apps

The Best and Worst Mobile Bank Apps of 2016: 100+ Banks & Credit Unions Ranked

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

The Best and Worst Mobile Bank Apps of 2016

 

As big banks shed brick-and-mortar branches left and right, it’s never been more important for financial services to reach consumers where they are: their smartphones. In the past five years alone, adoption of mobile banking more than doubled, while the number of people banking on tablets increased more than eightfold, according to recent findings from Javelin.

That being said, mobile banking technology is still relatively new. And when it comes to creating a digital banking experience that is as simple as a quick trip to the local bank branch, some banks are certainly doing better than others.

In its third annual Mobile Banking App Study, MagnifyMoney compiled the ratings of iOS and Android banking apps from over 100 of the biggest banks and credit unions, including the 50 largest banks and 50 largest credit unions along with a selection of top online direct banks.

The data, collected from iTunes and Google Play the week of November 30, 2016, was used to create a composite 1 to 5 rating, factoring a weighted average of the ratings from both the iOS and Android platforms. We ranked each app based on its rating score. This year’s results include comparisons to our 2015 results to see which banks and credit union apps have most improved and deteriorated.

Summary of key findings:

  • Best Overall App: Eastman Credit Union with a score of 4.8, up from 4.7 in 2015.
  • Best App Among the 10 Largest Banks: Chase with a score of 4.5, up from 4.2 in 2015.
  • Worst App Among the 10 Largest Banks: BB&T with a score of 2.8, down from 3.8 in 2015.
  • Best App Among the 10 Largest Credit Unions: PenFed with a score of 4.3, down from 4.4 in 2015.
  • Worst App Among the 10 Largest Credit Unions: First Tech Federal Credit Union with a score of 1.9, down from 3.3 in 2015.
  • Best Online Direct Bank App: First Internet Bank with a score of 4.5, unchanged from 2015.
  • Worst Online Direct Bank App: EverBank, with a score of 2.7, down from 3.0 in 2015.
  • Overall Most Improved App: BECU, whose score rose 58% year over year, from 2.5 to 3.9.
  • Most Improved Traditional Bank: Citibank, with a 19% ratings increase year over year, from 3.2 to 3.8.
  • Overall Most Deteriorated App: VyStar Credit Union, whose score dropped 57%, from 4.7 to 2.0 year over year.

You can read more about the findings in the charts below:

10 Overall Best and Worst Bank Apps

(Across all banks and credit unions reviewed)

2016mobileappratingsgraphic-best

10 Best and Worst Bank Apps

(Among the 10 largest banks and credit unions)

mobileappratingsgraphic-1-v3

Credit unions dominate the ratings for the third year running

Credit unions nearly swept the top 10 rankings for all apps this year, taking 9 of the top 10 spots. That’s an even better showing than last year, when credit unions nabbed 8 out of the top 10 spots. A 2% ratings improvement was just enough to give Eastman Credit Union the edge this year, securing the no. 1 spot for 2016. It’s a familiar position. Eastman was caught in a five-way tie for first place in 2015. The bank’s most recent update in September added Apple Watch compatibility to its list of features. This year, four banks tied for second place with a score of 4.7 — ESL Credit Union, Redstone Federal Credit Union, SEFCU, and Wright-Patt Credit Union.

Still, credit unions aren’t all bulletproof. Four out of the top 10 most deteriorated apps in 2016 were from credit unions. VyStar Credit Union was the least improved of all, stinging from a 57% ratings decline year over year, from 4.7 to 2.0.

Sample customer feedback from credit union iOS app reviews:

Eastman Credit Union: “Love the convenience of the app! Mobile check deposits are great and being able to check account balances & transfer money between them on the go is amazing.”

ESL Credit Union: “I check my account quickly with the fingerprint scanner. I love the ability to look at checks that have been written and current balances. The ability to mobile deposit [sic] checks is great for me because I never get to the bank to cash them.”

Redstone Credit Union: “It just keeps getting better and better! I have other bank apps and they don’t even come close to how good this app is!”

SEFCU: “Transferring funds, depositing checks, checking balances is straightforward and the app is sleek.”

Wright-Patt Credit Union: “The WPCU app has improved immensely since I first downloaded it.”

Big Banks Coast into 2016; Citibank is the Most Improved Big Bank for 2016

The average rating for all large banks remained unchanged year over year at 3.7. Android users, however, remain happier with their big bank apps than iOS users. Average Android ratings were 3.8 vs. 2.9 for iOS.

Citibank’s average rating improved by 19% in 2016, increasing from 3.2 to 3.8 year over year. The app’s most recent iOS update boasted improvements for brokerage account holders, offering up-to-date market data and allowing them to buy and sell stocks and mutual funds directly from the app.

Bells and whistles like these matter greatly, but overall app functionality and ease of use should come are crucial to banks’ ability to win over customers. “People want speed, ease and convenience so they can get in, get the task done and get on with their lives,” says Steve Shaw, director of digital bank marketing for financial services technology firm Fiserv.

citi-2 screen696x696ciit

Samples of Citi user feedback from iOS users:

“They have really made a lot of awesome improvements.” — Dec. 8, 2016

“It has come up a long way. Each update better than the last. Because of this app I rarely have to physically go to the bank.” —Dec. 7, 2016

10 Most Improved Apps (among credit unions and banks)

  1. BECU: +58%
  2. America’s First Federal Credit Union: +27%
  3. Citibank: +19%
  4. PNC Bank: +17%
  5. Nationwide: +15%
  6. Capital One: +12%
  7. Fifth Third Bank: +10%
  8. Chase: +8%
  9. American Airlines Credit Union: +7%
  10. Delta Community Credit Union: +6%

Chase #1 Among Big Banks for 2nd Year Running

Chase made a strong showing again in 2016, performing best out of the top 10 largest banks for the second year running and marking an 8% ratings improvement. With an impressive 12% ratings improvement, Capital One effectively tied for first place along with Chase, boosting its rating from 4.0 to 4.5, but with a lower Android rating at 4.5 vs. 4.6 for Chase.

It was a good year to be an Android user and Chase bank customer. In 2016, Chase added long-awaited support for Android Pay and made improvements to fingerprint sign-on for Android users.

Sample Chase feedback from iOS app users:

“Love this app & the convenience of being able to quickly check my balance, pay my bill & find answers to the majority of my questions within seconds.” — Oct. 31, 2016

“The interface is well designed [sic], intuitive and responsive. I cannot think of a single issue.” — Nov. 21, 2016.

At the bottom of the big bank rankings were BB&T and HSBC. BB&T’s rating fell 25% year over year, from 3.8 to 2.8, while HSBC saw a 6% decline, from 3.7 to 3.5.

The Top 10 Largest Bank Apps Ranked by Ratings:

  1. Chase: 4.5
  2. Capital One: 4.5
  3. SunTrust: 4.1
  4. Wells Fargo: 4.0
  5. (tie) Bank of America: 3.9
  6. (tie) TD Bank: 3.9
  7. (tie) PNC: 3.9
  8. Citibank: 3.8
  9. HSBC: 3.5
  10. BB&T: 2.8

First Internet Bank Steals the Crown from BankMobile for Top Online Direct Bank

2016 marked something of a fall from grace for last year’s #1 direct online bank, BankMobile. A stinging 19% ratings decline sent the app tumbling from first place to no. 7 this year. That opened the path for First Internet Bank to nab the top spot, despite not seeing any significant ratings improvement year over year. Its average rating remained steady at 4.5.

First Internet Bank has been around since 1999, one of the early internet-only banks to hit the scene. Launched in early 2015, BankMobile is a division of Customers Bank in Pennsylvania, but available nationally and designed to be the first fully mobile native bank.

This year, First Internet Bank was among several regional banks and credit unions to add new “eye print” sign-in technology, in which users sign in by pointing their smartphone camera at their eye. The app then compares their eye to an existing image of their eye on file.

Shaw says customers should expect more high-tech advancements to their favorite bank apps in the near future. “Some banks are leveraging the photo capability of the phone to not only enable check deposits, but to enable people to capture photos of receipts for filing or to take a picture of their driver’s license so they can verify their ID while opening an account,” he says.

First Tech Federal Credit Union Earns Worst Overall App Ratings for 2016

The lowest rated app overall belongs to First Tech Federal Credit Union, with an overall rating of 1.9 marking a 42% decline year over year. The app performed equally poorly among both Apple and Android users. Some reviews of the bank’s app in the Apple store pointed to disgruntlement with an update that was released in the fall.

“This app used to be OK but with the new update it has become so very slow,” one user commented in October. Another user complained about losing Touch ID password access. To be fair, the bank released an update most recently on Dec. 13, which promised “General performance improvements” but there have been no reviews of the latest update yet.

Last year’s worst app, Umpqua Bank, saw some improvement in 2016 but still landed among the worst apps. After facing a 40% decline in ratings in 2015, the app managed a 3% ratings improvement in 2016, enough to move up four spots.

The 10 Worst Bank App Ratings Overall

  1. First Tech Federal Credit Union: 1.9
  2. VyStar Credit Union: 2.0
  3. InvestorsBank: 2.1
  4. Patelco Credit Union: 2.2
  5. Umpqua Bank 2.3
  6. Logix: 2.3
  7. Tinker Federal Credit Union: 2.6
  8. American Airlines Credit Union: 2.7
  9. First National Bank: 2.7
  10. EverBank: 2.7

*MagnifyMoney is an affiliate partner of Chase credit cards, and does receive advertising compensation from Chase. However, compensation from advertising partners did not impact the methodology or results of the mobile banking application survey.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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Have a question to ask or a story to share? Contact the MagnifyMoney team at [email protected]

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Banking Apps

These 8 Apps Can Help You Make It to Your Next Payday

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

Financial emergencies have a habit of cropping up at the worst possible time — when you’re stuck in-between paychecks. Perhaps you need $250 for an emergency car repair, but you just paid your rent and won’t have the funds until your next payday in two weeks. You might want to turn to a credit card or a payday loan, but those could rack up onerous fees.

What if you could get a portion of your next paycheck early without paying hefty fees or interest? Several financial services companies make this a reality by helping workers make ends meet without taking on debt. Others offer short-term, interest-free loans based on a flat membership fee, which may be easier to manage and budget for than using a credit card or paying financing fees to take out and repay a loan.

1. Earnin

  • Available if you are paid via direct deposits into a checking account from an Earnin-supported bank
  • Withdraw up to $100 early per pay period, or up to $500 after continued use of the app
  • No fees or interest — Earnin makes money from voluntary tips

Earnin is an app-based service available on Android and iPhone smartphones. Once you download the app and create an account, you can 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.

How it works: In order to use Earnin, you need to upload your timesheet, either manually, by connecting a time-tracking account to the app or by using the Earnin app’s GPS feature if you have a single workspace. Using this information, Earnin estimates your average take-home hourly rate after taxes and deductions.

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. 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.

Earnin doesn’t connect to your employer’s payroll. It connects to whatever bank account you use to collect your pay. The next time your paycheck hits your bank account, Earnin will automatically withdraw what you owe. There aren’t any fees or interest charges for using the service; however, Earnin does ask for support in the form of tips.

2. Branch

  • Available if you are paid via direct deposits into a checking account
  • Withdraw up to $500 in earned wages per pay period
  • No fee for standard (three-day) withdrawals, but $3.99 per instant withdrawals

Branch gives you access to money that you’ve earned already, but wouldn’t otherwise receive until your next payday. The company also offers more features if multiple employees at the same company use the app, or if your employer signs up. For example, employees can check their shifts using the app and make a request to swap shifts, ask for coverage or quickly pick up someone else’s shift.

How it works: To use the early pay feature, you’ll need to connect a checking account and debit card, and receive direct deposits into the connected account. You can request an advance of up to $500 using the app — the money will be deposited into your account, and then paid back with an automatic withdrawal on your next payday.

You’ll also need to upload images of your work schedule. However, if your employer has also signed up for Branch and you manage your shifts using the app, your schedule may automatically be in the system.

The early payments can take several days, although you may be eligible for same-day payments based on your direct deposit history and whether you generally have money leftover after your paydays or receiving an advance.

A standard withdrawal into your bank account is free and could take up to three days. There is a $3.99 fee if you want to request an instant payment.

3. Dave

  • Available if you’re employed, paid via direct deposit and have a checking account
  • Borrow up to $75 with an interest-free, short-term loan
  • $1 monthly membership fee and a small fee for expedited delivery. Dave also accepts tips

Dave is a membership service that connects to your bank account and will text you if you’re in danger of overdrafting. The service costs $1 per month. Qualified members can borrow up to $75 with an interest-free loan that helps them cover expenses until their next payday.

How it works: Once you’re a member, you’ll need to get approved before you can request an advance. To do this, you’ll need to 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.

Once you’re able to request a loan, you may be able to borrow up to $75 without paying any interest or fees. The loan can take up to three business days to reach your account. There is also an express funding option which will get the money deposited within eight hours for a “small fee” (though Dave doesn’t specify how much that is in the FAQ). You can also choose to give a tip when you take out an advance, but tipping is optional.

The due date may be your next payday, but some smaller advances will have a due date on the next Friday even if that’s before your next payday. You can repay the loan automatically from your connected checking account, or repay part or all of the advance early if you want.

4. MoneyLion

  • A personal finance platform
  • Borrow up to $250 with an interest-free, short-term loan
  • Free membership option. $29 monthly fee for extra features, but the fee can be offset

MoneyLion is an personal finance platform. Members receive a checking account, investment account and access to free cash advances. You can use the cash advance to help cover expenses until your next payday.

How it works: The basic MoneyLion membership is free, but there’s also a Plus membership available for a $29 monthly fee. However, you can earn $1 cash back by logging into the app each day and swiping through the daily cards, which have advice, tips and alerts. As a result, you can get the Plus membership essentially for free if you’re a daily user.

The free membership allows you to request up to $250 with a 0% APR cash advance. The money will appear in your MoneyLion account in seconds and will be repaid on your next payday.

To qualify for the cash advance, you’ll need to have your paychecks of at least $250 directly deposited into your MoneyLion account. Your cash advance limit will be 10 percent of your direct deposit amount. For example, you’ll need to have at least $2,500 directly deposited each pay period to qualify for the full $250 cash advance.

Plus members have another funding option, a personal loan for up to $500 that’s repaid over 12 months. However, the loan has a 5.99% APR.

5. Brigit

  • Available if you have direct deposit with average amounts over $400
  • Borrow $80 to $250 with an interest-free, short-term loan
  • $9.99 monthly fee

Brigit is another service that connects to your bank account and allows you to take out interest-free loans between paychecks. The amount you can borrow is based on your bank account activity rather than your work schedule.

How it works: You’ll need to 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. Brigit says it looks for direct deposits of more than $400 per paycheck and $1,500 per month on average. 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 vary from $80 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.

There’s a $9.99 monthly fee, which you’ll have to pay whether or not you take an advance during the month. Considering the fee and $250 cap, this may be a much more expensive option than the apps that give you early access to your wages. For example, if you pay the $9.99 monthly fee, are approved for the maximum $250 advance and have to repay the loan in 14 days, the loan has a 104% APR. If you’re only approved for a $100 advance, the APR increases to 261%.

6. DailyPay

  • Employer must sign up and offer DailyPay as a benefit
  • Get paid early for the work you’ve done
  • Pay $1.25 or $2.99 per transfer, but employers can choose to cover the expense

DailyPay connects with employers’ payroll systems to give employees early access to money they’ve already earned. Your employer will need to sign up with DailyPay before you can use the service. It’s free for employers and works as an add-on to ADP payroll systems.

How it works: Once your employer signs up, you can create your DailyPay account. As you work, you’ll accrue an “available balance” each workday based on the hours you’ve worked. You can then transfer money that you’ve earned to your bank account, prepaid debit card or a payroll card.

DailyPay charges a fee of $1.25 for every transfer that you make, with the funds being delivered the next business day. If you need your money before tomorrow, you can do an instant transfer that has a fee of $2.99. Employers can choose to pay for part or all of the fee.

7. PayActiv

  • Employer must sign up and offer PayActiv as a benefit
  • You can withdraw the greater of $500 or up to 50% of your earned wages
  • Fees range from $0 to $5 per withdrawal based on your employer

PayActiv is an employer-sponsored program that allows employees to withdraw a portion of their earned wages before payday. While you can’t sign up on your own, you can ask PayActiv to contact your employer about offering the service. There’s no setup or operating costs for employers.

How it works: Once your employer offers PayActiv, you sign up for an account online, with the app, via text or by calling the company. After creating your account, you can start withdrawing money as soon as you earn it rather than waiting for your payday.

You can withdraw up to 50% of your earned income (up to $500 max) during each pay period via an electronic transfer or withdrawal from select ATMs. The amount you withdraw will be deducted from your next paycheck.

The early payment comes from PayActiv, but it isn’t a loan and you won’t need to pay interest. Instead, your employer will automatically send PayActiv an equivalent amount of money from your next paycheck. PayActiv charges a $5 fee for each withdrawal, but some employers choose to cover part or all of the expenses.

PayActiv also offers a prepaid card where you can have earned wages deposited each day. It’s free to get the card and there’s no fee if you don’t use it. However, there’s a flat weekly $3 fee (if you’re paid weekly) or bi-weekly $5 fee (if you’re paid bi-weekly) during any period when you do use your card.

8. FlexWage

  • Employer must sign up and offer FlexWage as a benefit
  • You’ll receive a reloadable card tied where you can add earned pay to your account before payday
  • Fees vary depending on your employer

FlexWage is another employer-sponsored program that can give employees early access to money they’ve earned. As you work, your earned income accrues and you can then transfer money to a prepaid card.

How it works: With FlexWage, the employer determines how often you can make early withdrawals and the maximum amount you can withdraw. The money will be transferred to a prepaid card and then deducted from your next paycheck. You may have to pay a fee, but it will depend on your employer; FlexWage does not list a potential fee range on its website.

FlexWage also has a special program for restaurants that allows a restaurant to give employees access to their tips, bonuses or commissions at the end of each day. The money can either be added to a prepaid card or transferred to a bank account.

Need more money? You may consider a personal loan

While a cash advance or getting early access to your wages 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, which can sometimes be deposited directly into your bank account the same day that you apply, and then 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.

However, 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.

Company
APR
Terms
Credit Req.
Upgrade

4.73%-35.99%

36 or 60

months

620

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

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.

6.95%-35.89%

36 or 60

months

600

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Our Commitment We'll receive a referral fee if you click here. This does not impact our rankings or recommendations.

3.99%-16.99%

24 to 144

months

Not specified

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on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure.

*Your APR may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term, and your credit profile. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount, which is only available when you select AutoPay prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay may be 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

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on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser 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. The lowest APR shown represents the 10% of loans with the most favorable APR. 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: $7,500. 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%-17.67%

24 to 84

months

680

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on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure.

Fixed rates from 5.990% APR to 17.67% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.60% APR to 14.700% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of August 7, 2019 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. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 5.60% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.27% plus 3.08% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. 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.

All rates, terms, and figures are subject to change by the lender without notice. For the most up-to-date information, visit the lender's website directly. To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull.

See Consumer Licenses.

SoFi Personal Loans are not available to residents of MS. Minimum loan requirements might be higher than $5,000 in specific states due to legal requirements. Fixed and variable-rate caps may be lower in some states due to legal requirements and may impact your eligibility to qualify for a SoFi loan.

If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you may apply for Unemployment Protection. SoFi will suspend your monthly SoFi loan payments and provide job placement assistance during your forbearance period. Interest will continue to accrue and will be added to your principal balance at the end of each forbearance period, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Benefits are offered in three month increments, and capped at 12 months, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. To be eligible for this assistance you must provide proof that you have applied for and are eligible for unemployment compensation, and you must actively work with our Career Advisory Group to look for new employment. If the loan is co-signed the unemployment protection applies where both the borrower and cosigner lose their job and meet conditions.

Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi's underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

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

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Louis DeNicola
Louis DeNicola |

Louis DeNicola is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Louis at [email protected]

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Banking Apps

These 8 Apps Can Help You Make It to Your Next Payday

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

paycheck advance apps
iStock

Financial emergencies have a habit of cropping up at the worst possible time — when you’re stuck in-between paychecks. Perhaps you need $250 for an emergency car repair, but you just paid your rent and won’t have the funds until your next payday in two weeks. You might want to turn to a credit card or a payday loan, but those could rack up onerous fees.

What if you could get a portion of your next paycheck early without paying hefty fees or interest? Several financial services companies make this a reality by helping workers make ends meet without taking on debt. Others offer short-term, interest-free loans based on a flat membership fee, which may be easier to manage and budget for than using a credit card or paying financing fees to take out and repay a loan.

1. Earnin

  • Available if you are paid via direct deposits into a checking account from an Earnin-supported bank
  • Withdraw up to $100 early per pay period, or up to $500 after continued use of the app
  • No fees or interest — Earnin makes money from voluntary tips

Earnin is an app-based service available on Android and iPhone smartphones. Once you download the app and create an account, you can 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.

How it works: In order to use Earnin, you need to upload your timesheet, either manually, by connecting a time-tracking account to the app or by using the Earnin app’s GPS feature if you have a single workspace. Using this information, Earnin estimates your average take-home hourly rate after taxes and deductions.

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. 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.

Earnin doesn’t connect to your employer’s payroll. It connects to whatever bank account you use to collect your pay. The next time your paycheck hits your bank account, Earnin will automatically withdraw what you owe. There aren’t any fees or interest charges for using the service; however, Earnin does ask for support in the form of tips.

2. Branch

  • Available if you are paid via direct deposits into a checking account
  • Withdraw up to $500 in earned wages per pay period
  • No fee for standard (three-day) withdrawals, but $3.99 per instant withdrawals

Branch gives you access to money that you’ve earned already, but wouldn’t otherwise receive until your next payday. The company also offers more features if multiple employees at the same company use the app, or if your employer signs up. For example, employees can check their shifts using the app and make a request to swap shifts, ask for coverage or quickly pick up someone else’s shift.

How it works: To use the early pay feature, you’ll need to connect a checking account and debit card, and receive direct deposits into the connected account. You can request an advance of up to $500 using the app — the money will be deposited into your account, and then paid back with an automatic withdrawal on your next payday.

You’ll also need to upload images of your work schedule. However, if your employer has also signed up for Branch and you manage your shifts using the app, your schedule may automatically be in the system.

The early payments can take several days, although you may be eligible for same-day payments based on your direct deposit history and whether you generally have money leftover after your paydays or receiving an advance.

A standard withdrawal into your bank account is free and could take up to three days. There is a $3.99 fee if you want to request an instant payment.

3. Dave

  • Available if you’re employed, paid via direct deposit and have a checking account
  • Borrow up to $75 with an interest-free, short-term loan
  • $1 monthly membership fee and a small fee for expedited delivery. Dave also accepts tips

Dave is a membership service that connects to your bank account and will text you if you’re in danger of overdrafting. The service costs $1 per month. Qualified members can borrow up to $75 with an interest-free loan that helps them cover expenses until their next payday.

How it works: Once you’re a member, you’ll need to get approved before you can request an advance. To do this, you’ll need to 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.

Once you’re able to request a loan, you may be able to borrow up to $75 without paying any interest or fees. The loan can take up to three business days to reach your account. There is also an express funding option which will get the money deposited within eight hours for a “small fee” (though Dave doesn’t specify how much that is in the FAQ). You can also choose to give a tip when you take out an advance, but tipping is optional.

The due date may be your next payday, but some smaller advances will have a due date on the next Friday even if that’s before your next payday. You can repay the loan automatically from your connected checking account, or repay part or all of the advance early if you want.

4. MoneyLion

  • A personal finance platform
  • Borrow up to $250 with an interest-free, short-term loan
  • Free membership option. $29 monthly fee for extra features, but the fee can be offset

MoneyLion is an personal finance platform. Members receive a checking account, investment account and access to free cash advances. You can use the cash advance to help cover expenses until your next payday.

How it works: The basic MoneyLion membership is free, but there’s also a Plus membership available for a $29 monthly fee. However, you can earn $1 cash back by logging into the app each day and swiping through the daily cards, which have advice, tips and alerts. As a result, you can get the Plus membership essentially for free if you’re a daily user.

The free membership allows you to request up to $250 with a 0% APR cash advance. The money will appear in your MoneyLion account in seconds and will be repaid on your next payday.

To qualify for the cash advance, you’ll need to have your paychecks of at least $250 directly deposited into your MoneyLion account. Your cash advance limit will be 10 percent of your direct deposit amount. For example, you’ll need to have at least $2,500 directly deposited each pay period to qualify for the full $250 cash advance.

Plus members have another funding option, a personal loan for up to $500 that’s repaid over 12 months. However, the loan has a 5.99% APR.

5. Brigit

  • Available if you have direct deposit with average amounts over $400
  • Borrow $80 to $250 with an interest-free, short-term loan
  • $9.99 monthly membership fee, which includes free instant transfers

Brigit is another service that connects to your bank account and allows you to take out interest-free loans between paychecks. The amount you can borrow is based on your bank account activity rather than your work schedule.

How it works: You’ll need to 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. Brigit says it looks for direct deposits of more than $400 per paycheck and $1,500 per month on average. 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 vary from $80 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.

There’s a $9.99 monthly membership fee for Brigit, which includes access to the loan along with other features. For example, you can allow Brigit to monitor your account and automatically transfer a loan to help you avoid overdrafting or paying a late fee. Brigit also offers free extensions if you have trouble repaying the loan, and doesn’t charge late fees, instant transfer fees or ask for tips.

6. DailyPay

  • Employer must sign up and offer DailyPay as a benefit
  • Get paid early for the work you’ve done
  • Pay $1.25 or $2.99 per transfer, but employers can choose to cover the expense

DailyPay connects with employers’ payroll systems to give employees early access to money they’ve already earned. Your employer will need to sign up with DailyPay before you can use the service. It’s free for employers and works as an add-on to ADP payroll systems.

How it works: Once your employer signs up, you can create your DailyPay account. As you work, you’ll accrue an “available balance” each workday based on the hours you’ve worked. You can then transfer money that you’ve earned to your bank account, prepaid debit card or a payroll card.

DailyPay charges a fee of $1.25 for every transfer that you make, with the funds being delivered the next business day. If you need your money before tomorrow, you can do an instant transfer that has a fee of $2.99. Employers can choose to pay for part or all of the fee.

7. PayActiv

  • Employer must sign up and offer PayActiv as a benefit
  • You can withdraw the greater of $500 or up to 50% of your earned wages
  • Fees range from $0 to $5 per withdrawal based on your employer

PayActiv is an employer-sponsored program that allows employees to withdraw a portion of their earned wages before payday. While you can’t sign up on your own, you can ask PayActiv to contact your employer about offering the service. There’s no setup or operating costs for employers.

How it works: Once your employer offers PayActiv, you sign up for an account online, with the app, via text or by calling the company. After creating your account, you can start withdrawing money as soon as you earn it rather than waiting for your payday.

You can withdraw up to 50% of your earned income (up to $500 max) during each pay period via an electronic transfer or withdrawal from select ATMs. The amount you withdraw will be deducted from your next paycheck.

The early payment comes from PayActiv, but it isn’t a loan and you won’t need to pay interest. Instead, your employer will automatically send PayActiv an equivalent amount of money from your next paycheck. PayActiv charges a $5 fee for each withdrawal, but some employers choose to cover part or all of the expenses.

PayActiv also offers a prepaid card where you can have earned wages deposited each day. It’s free to get the card and there’s no fee if you don’t use it. However, there’s a flat weekly $3 fee (if you’re paid weekly) or bi-weekly $5 fee (if you’re paid bi-weekly) during any period when you do use your card.

8. FlexWage

  • Employer must sign up and offer FlexWage as a benefit
  • You’ll receive a reloadable card tied where you can add earned pay to your account before payday
  • Fees vary depending on your employer

FlexWage is another employer-sponsored program that can give employees early access to money they’ve earned. As you work, your earned income accrues and you can then transfer money to a prepaid card.

How it works: With FlexWage, the employer determines how often you can make early withdrawals and the maximum amount you can withdraw. The money will be transferred to a prepaid card and then deducted from your next paycheck. You may have to pay a fee, but it will depend on your employer; FlexWage does not list a potential fee range on its website.

FlexWage also has a special program for restaurants that allows a restaurant to give employees access to their tips, bonuses or commissions at the end of each day. The money can either be added to a prepaid card or transferred to a bank account.

Need more money? You may consider a personal loan

While a cash advance or getting early access to your wages 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, which can sometimes be deposited directly into your bank account the same day that you apply, and then 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.

However, 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.

Company
APR
Terms
Credit Req.
Upgrade

4.73%-35.99%

36 or 60

months

620

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

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.

6.95%-35.89%

36 or 60

months

600

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Our Commitment We'll receive a referral fee if you click here. This does not impact our rankings or recommendations.

3.99%-16.99%

24 to 144

months

Not specified

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure.

*Your APR may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term, and your credit profile. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount, which is only available when you select AutoPay prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay may be 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

Advertiser 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. The lowest APR shown represents the 10% of loans with the most favorable APR. 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: $7,500. 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%-17.67%

24 to 84

months

680

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on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure.

Fixed rates from 5.990% APR to 17.67% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.60% APR to 14.700% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of August 7, 2019 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. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 5.60% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.27% plus 3.08% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. 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.

All rates, terms, and figures are subject to change by the lender without notice. For the most up-to-date information, visit the lender's website directly. To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull.

See Consumer Licenses.

SoFi Personal Loans are not available to residents of MS. Minimum loan requirements might be higher than $5,000 in specific states due to legal requirements. Fixed and variable-rate caps may be lower in some states due to legal requirements and may impact your eligibility to qualify for a SoFi loan.

If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you may apply for Unemployment Protection. SoFi will suspend your monthly SoFi loan payments and provide job placement assistance during your forbearance period. Interest will continue to accrue and will be added to your principal balance at the end of each forbearance period, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Benefits are offered in three month increments, and capped at 12 months, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. To be eligible for this assistance you must provide proof that you have applied for and are eligible for unemployment compensation, and you must actively work with our Career Advisory Group to look for new employment. If the loan is co-signed the unemployment protection applies where both the borrower and cosigner lose their job and meet conditions.

Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi's underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

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

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Louis DeNicola
Louis DeNicola |

Louis DeNicola is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Louis at [email protected]