7 apps like MoneyLion

Two smiling women compare cash advance apps like MoneyLion on their phones.Image: Two smiling women compare cash advance apps like MoneyLion on their phones.

In a Nutshell

Apps like MoneyLion can provide extra cash to cover expenses until your next paycheck. We rounded up our top picks for apps like MoneyLion based on features including fee schedules, funding timelines and more.
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The MoneyLion app may be a good choice if you need extra cash before your next paycheck.

You can get interest- and fee-free cash advances of up to $250 without a credit check. You’ll have to pay a rush fee if you need money sooner. But MoneyLion isn’t the only cash advance app that can help you pay a bill or cover an unexpected expense. We’ve rounded up our top picks for apps like MoneyLion to help you compare features and benefits so you can decide which one, if any, is right for you.

Best for same-day funding: Brigit

Here’s why: Brigit offers advances of up to $250 with no interest. However, you must enroll in the plus plan and pay a monthly fee of $9.99 to get cash advances through the app. You may be able to get your money within 20 minutes when you add the debit card associated with your linked checking account to your Brigit account.  

If you don’t link your debit card, requests made before 10 a.m. EST on business days will be delivered the same day, and those made after 10 a.m. EST will be delivered the next business day. Brigit’s paid membership also provides access to earning and spending trends, $1 million in identity theft protection, access to credit-builder loans and credit monitoring tools.

Read our full review of Brigit to learn more.

Best for overdraft protection: Dave

Here’s why: Get payday advances of up to $500 with the Dave app when you pay the $1 monthly membership fee. Standard transfers take up to three business days and are free. Or you can pay an express fee to receive your money immediately. Dave doesn’t run credit checks or charge interest or late fees, but you can include an optional tip.

You’ll also get access to budgeting tools to help you avoid overdrawing your linked checking account when you sign up, which is what makes Dave stand out. Dave estimates that users who come to the app pay about $300 to $400 per year in fees to their bank. In total, Dave says it’s saved its customers a total of more than $1 billion in overdraft fees.

Read our full review of Dave to learn more.­

Best for low fees: Earnin

Here’s why: With Earnin, you can get interest- and fee-free cash advances of up to $500 per pay period while waiting for your next paycheck. You’ll receive low-balance alerts and can get up to $100 of your earnings transferred automatically when your linked bank account balance is low, helping you avoid overdraft fees.

While there are no fees with Earnin, you can include a tip with your payment — but it’s not required. Earnin doesn’t check your credit, but you need a steady paycheck, direct deposit into a checking account and a fixed work location to use the app.

Read our full review of Earnin to learn more.

Best for peer-to-peer loans: Chime

Here’s why: With the Chime banking app, you can receive loans from family and friends no matter where they bank — without using a money-transfer app like Zelle or Venmo. You need a valid debit card or Chime checking account. Chime doesn’t check your credit when you apply for a checking account, and there are no monthly or minimum balance fees.

Chime’s SpotMe feature provides overdraft protection by covering up to $200 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals without charging a fee. You can also use Chime’s Credit Builder Card to withdraw cash from an ATM interest-free, and get paid early when you fund a Chime checking account with direct deposit.

Read our full review of Chime to learn more.

Best for digital banking tools: Branch

Here’s why: With Branch’s cash advance feature, you can receive up to 50% of your earned wages before your next paycheck if employed by a participating company. Employees receive a Branch debit card, free checking account and digital wallet they can use to pay bills or make purchases.

Branch doesn’t check your credit or charge interest, and there are no fees for cash advances deposited to your Branch digital wallet. Instant transfers to your Branch debit card are available for a fee, or you can transfer funds from your Branch digital wallet to an external bank account for free. 

The app’s budgeting tools help you identify spending trends, let you know when bills are due, provide low-balance alerts and offer insights to help you manage cash flow.

Read our full review of Branch to learn more.

Best for fund delivery options: Payactiv

Here’s why: If your employer participates in Payactiv’s earned wage access program, you can get up to 50% of your earned wages each pay period. You can transfer the money to your bank account, debit card, prepaid card, payroll card or a Payactiv Visa® Card, or pick it up at a Walmart Money Center. You can also pay bills, order an Uber, or shop on Amazon directly from the app.

If you have direct deposit to your Payactiv card, there’s no fee to access your wages early. There’s a $1 fee for each instance of most other types of transfers, but fees are capped at $5 per pay period. Walmart cash pick-ups and instant deposits to non-Payactiv cards have a processing fee of $1.99.

The app also provides savings tools, prescription discounts and financial counseling.

Read our full review of Payactiv to learn more.

Best for managing your finances: Even

Here’s why: With Even, eligible employees can receive up to 50% of their earned wages early with no interest or fees. Funds can be deposited into your bank account or picked up at a Walmart Money Center. There may be a fee for expedited access to funds. Even helps you keep your finances on track by detecting your monthly expenses and providing a daily snapshot of what you can spend while having enough left to pay your bills.

With the Even app, you can set savings goals and automatically transfer a percentage of each paycheck into a savings account. For qualified members, Even can also track your work schedule and make automatic updates after each shift, giving you a live look into your financial situation.

Read our full review of Even to learn more.

What you should know about apps like MoneyLion

Cash-advance apps like MoneyLion allow you to borrow small sums of money to tide you over until your next paycheck. They may be an excellent alternative to high-cost payday loans if you’re in a pinch.

However, repeatedly borrowing against your paycheck isn’t sustainable. If you’re using these apps regularly, it may be a sign that you need to trim your budget or look for ways to earn more.

Although these apps don’t usually charge interest, some charge membership, funds transfer or processing fees. Before getting an advance, it’s important to understand the total amount you’ll have to repay.

If you’re self-employed or don’t have a traditional job with a steady paycheck, you may not be able to qualify for apps like MoneyLion. A payday alternative loan from a federal credit union may be a good alternative. The fees and interest on these loans are generally capped, and you usually have more time to pay them off. But you’ll likely have to become a member of the credit union offering the payday alternative loan if you’re not already.

How we picked these loan apps

We looked at over a dozen apps that loan money, comparing features such as eligibility requirements, fee structures, interest rates, loan amounts and funding timeline. We also researched and compared their benefits, including financial education resources and overdraft protection.

About the author: Jennifer Brozic is a freelance financial services writer with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in communication management from Towson University. She’s committed… Read more.