Dave app review: Cash advances for members

Woman lounging on her couch, using her smartphoneImage: Woman lounging on her couch, using her smartphone

In a Nutshell

Dave is an app that provides cash advances to its members to help them avoid bank overdraft fees. Dave doesn’t charge interest — it asks for tips instead. But members do have to pay a small monthly membership fee to use the app and the maximum cash advance amount is low.
Editorial Note: Credit Karma receives compensation from third-party advertisers, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our third-party advertisers don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted.
Advertiser Disclosure

We think it's important for you to understand how we make money. It's pretty simple, actually. The offers for financial products you see on our platform come from companies who pay us. The money we make helps us give you access to free credit scores and reports and helps us create our other great tools and educational materials.

Compensation may factor into how and where products appear on our platform (and in what order). But since we generally make money when you find an offer you like and get, we try to show you offers we think are a good match for you. That's why we provide features like your Approval Odds and savings estimates.

Of course, the offers on our platform don't represent all financial products out there, but our goal is to show you as many great options as we can.

Pros Cons
No interest, but optional tips Membership fee
Alerts if your bank account looks like it’s in danger of being overdrafted Automatic withdrawals from your bank account for repayments
Provides access to budgeting tools and connects you with side hustle opportunities Low maximum cash advance limit

What you need to know about the Dave app

Created to help people avoid bank overdraft fees, the Dave app alerts you when your checking account balance is getting low and lets you request cash advances to help cover upcoming expenses until your next paycheck. Dave will automatically withdraw the amount you borrow from a linked bank account if you don’t pay it back manually before it’s due.

If you’re thinking about using the app to get extra cash until you get paid again, here are a few things to know.

No interest

You won’t pay interest when you use the Dave app to get a paycheck advance. The company asks for optional “tips” provided by people who use the service. But you don’t have to tip to use the app.

Membership fee

Dave charges a monthly fee of $1 to use the app, which is deducted from your linked bank account each month. But you can earn free months by making purchases at certain businesses.

Low balance alerts

When your account balance is getting low or you don’t have enough money in your account to pay a bill that Dave knows is due soon, you should receive a notification. Then you can choose whether requesting a cash advance could help you avoid overdrawing your account.

Low withdrawal limit

The maximum payday advance you can receive is $100. Once you receive a cash advance, you can’t get more money until your account is paid in full. Payments are due either the following Friday or on your next payday, depending on how much you borrow.

A closer look at cash advances from Dave

  • Eligibility requirements — To use the Dave app, you must have a steady paycheck that you direct deposit into a bank account, such as your checking account. Plus, you must be able to show that your bills don’t eat up your entire paycheck and you have some extra money left over each month.
  • No credit checks — Since Dave doesn’t review your credit history or report payments to credit bureaus, your credit scores aren’t affected by using the app. On the flip side, it won’t help you build credit either.
  • Potential to save money — The median Dave user saves $500 a year in fees, according to the company’s website.
  • Funding options — If you get a cash advance, you can choose from standard or express funding options. The standard option is free, but it may take up to three business days to receive your money. The express option allows you to get your money the same day, but you must pay a “small” fee (Dave doesn’t specify on its website how much that fee is).
  • Charitable giving — In connection with tipping, Dave donates to its charity partners, Trees for the Future and Feeding America. Trees for the Future provides sustainable food, livestock feed and other support to families in sub-Saharan Africa, and Feeding America gives meals to families in need.
  • Budgeting tool — To help with budgeting, Dave has a tool that will analyze your bank account transactions to automatically create a budget for you and help you plan for upcoming expenses. You can manually add or delete items to ensure your budget accurately reflects your current expenses.
  • Side gigs — Dave says it can “hook you up” with side hustles in your area.

Who is the Dave app good for?

The Dave app may be a good option for someone with a steady paycheck who needs a few extra dollars from time to time, like to help cover a small shortfall for a routine or unexpected expense before the next payday.

But if you’re dealing with bigger shortages, this app probably won’t be a solution. If you regularly find yourself running out of money between paychecks, it probably makes sense to evaluate your spending habits and look for ways to boost your income, reduce your expenses or seek financial assistance.

How to set up a Dave account

To sign up for Dave, download the app to your mobile device. Then open it, click “Sign up for Dave,” and follow the prompts to set up your account. You’ll need to provide information like the following:

  • Low balance alert amount
  • Mobile phone number
  • Banking credentials
  • Email address
  • Password

Not sure the Dave app is right for you? Consider these alternatives.

  • MoneyLion: The MoneyLion app may work for someone who wants additional options for managing money, including cash advances, credit-builder loans and managed investing.
  • Possible Finance: This small-loan lender is attractive because it reports your payments to two major credit bureaus, which may help you build credit with on-time payments.

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.