Updated on Tuesday, December 22, 2020
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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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
The information in this article is accurate as of the date of publishing.