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

The Dave app offers small cash advances when you’re at risk of overdrawing your bank account, with no interest or fees charged. But you’ll need to pay for a $1 per month membership. You can use the Dave app with your existing bank account or opt for Dave’s deposit accounts and debit card.
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Pros

  • Cash advances with no interest or fees charged
  • No credit check required
  • Additional app features include automatic budgeting and connection to side jobs

Cons

  • Must pay for monthly membership
  • Dave may automatically recoup advances after repayment due date
  • Small maximum advance of $250

What you need to know about the Dave app

Dave is a banking and financial services app available on Apple and Android devices. The company was founded in 2017 to offer customers a way to avoid bank overdraft fees. Since then, the company has teamed up with a banking partner to create a service that’s on its way to signing on more than 10 million members.

Here’s how it works: You sign up for a $1 per month membership, and you can choose to link your existing bank account or open a Dave banking account with its own debit card.

The Dave app monitors your spending and will alert you if you’re at risk of overdrawing your account. When that happens, you can accept a cash advance to help you get through to your next paycheck. There’s no interest or fees, though the company accepts tips.

Cash advances are free

Once you’re a Dave member, you won’t face any charges to accept a cash advance. While you won’t pay interest or fees, you’ll need to pay the advance back when you get your next paycheck. Dave will ask if you want to give a tip, but these are voluntary.

Advances take one to three days to land in your account. If you need the money more quickly, you can pay a small fee to get the money within eight hours.

No credit check required

Most personal loans require you to pass a credit check to be eligible, but the Dave app doesn’t run a credit check to see if you qualify for a cash advance.

Additional app features help you budget and earn money

Dave offers more than just cash advances. The app includes an automatic budgeting system and a service that connects you to flexible side jobs for earning money. Some Dave members also receive a one-year subscription to LevelCredit, a firm that reports your rent and utility payments to the credit bureaus to help build credit.

Must pay for membership

While cash advances are free, you have to pay a monthly membership fee to use Dave. At just $1 per month, the membership cost is reasonable — but it’s an ongoing cost you have to consider.

Dave may automatically recoup advances if you don’t pay on your own

Dave’s advances are due in one payment when you get your next paycheck. If you don’t repay it on time, Dave may automatically charge your bank account — and you’ll be on the hook for any overdraft fees that come from your bank if the charge puts you in the red.

You also won’t be able to get another advance until you fully repay the first one.

A closer look at the Dave app

  • Qualification — To qualify for a cash advance, you’ll need to have a bank account with direct deposit set up, and at least two past direct deposits completed in that account. Dave will analyze your spending and earning habits to determine how large an advance you can afford. This amount can change from day to day.
  • Repayment — Your cash advance repayment date will typically be your next payday. You can choose to make a partial payment before that date.
  • Amounts — There’s no minimum cash advance amount, though the maximum is $250.
  • Tips — A portion of any tip you voluntarily send to Dave will go to the nonprofit Feeding America.

Who is the Dave app good for?

If getting access to some of your paycheck a little early might help save you from overdrawing your checking account now and then, the Dave app might be a good, low-cost way to help you out.

Dave estimates that users who come to the app pay an average of $300 to $400 per year in overdraft fees. Overall, Dave says it has saved its customers a total of more than $1 billion in overdraft fees.

To make it work, you’ll need to have steady employment and a regular paycheck. Without a regular direct deposit, though, you probably won’t be able to borrow much in a cash advance.

How to sign up for the Dave app

You can register for the Dave app online by creating an account with a username, password and mobile number. But to use Dave’s services, you’ll need to download the mobile app to your smartphone through the Apple App Store or Google Play.

To be eligible, you’ll need to have a bank account that regularly receives a direct deposit, like a work paycheck. You’ll need to have had at least two direct deposits into the account to receive an advance, and the amount you’re eligible for will be determined based on your track record of earning and spending.

You’ll also need to demonstrate that you’ll be able to repay the advance.

Dave doesn’t run a credit check, so there are no credit criteria to meet.

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

  • Earnin: If you need to borrow a larger amount, you may consider Earnin. This app offers cash advances up to $500, but you’ll need to give Earnin access to your timesheets from work.
  • Brigit: Brigit offers $250 cash advances available instantly, but its membership fee is $9.99 per month.

About the author: Andrew Dunn is a veteran journalist with more than a decade of experience as a reporter and editor at North Carolina news organizations, including the Charlotte Observer and the StarNews in Wilmington. In those roles,… Read more.