4 best get-paid-early apps

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In a Nutshell

Get-paid-early apps can give you quick access to small amounts of cash before your next paycheck. We’ve rounded up our top picks after considering features such as loan amounts, fees, the credit-building assistance and banking tools.
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If you need to borrow a small amount of cash to cover a bill or unexpected expense before your next paycheck, it may be worth researching “get-paid-early” apps, which can help you access your paycheck before your payday, as an option.

We’ve rounded up our top picks from the available apps to help you decide which get-paid-early app might be a good fit for your financial situation.

Best for building credit: MoneyLion

Why MoneyLion stands out: MoneyLion provides access to zero-interest cash advances of up to $250 per pay period. And if you qualify, you may also be able to get a credit-builder loan of up to $1,000 that includes access to a portion of your cash right away and interest-free cash advances of up to $250 a pay period.

  • No credit check: There’s no credit check to get a cash advance. And if you apply for the credit-builder loan, MoneyLion won’t perform a hard credit inquiry.
  • Monthly membership fee: To access the credit-builder loan, you’ll need to pay a $19.99 membership fee plus your loan payment every month.
  • Free credit monitoring: If you have the MoneyLion credit-builder loan, you’ll be able to keep tabs on your credit every week.

Read our MoneyLion app review to learn more.

Best for budgeting: Current

Why Current stands out: Current has a number of features to help you budget and manage your money. You can open an account to take advantage of spending insights and budgeting tools. There’s also a savings feature that you can use to automatically save for a house, car or any other financial goal you may have.

  • Get paid two days earlier: With Current, you may get your paycheck two days sooner when you sign up for the app’s premium checking account and use direct deposit.
  • Instant cash deposits: As long as you have a Current account, you can deposit cash instantly at 60,000 stores with no need to go to a bank or use an ATM.
  • Free money transfers: You can send and receive money with other Current users through the app. And Current doesn’t charge overdraft, in-network ATM, bank transfer or minimum balance fees. But Current does charge out-of-network cash withdrawal fees. Third-party fees as well as fees for adding cash may apply under certain circumstances.

Best for partnering with employers: Even

Why Even stands out: Even is a paycheck advance app that partners with employers to give their employees access to cash when they need it along with tools that can help them plan their finances. If your employer uses Even, you can get some of your paycheck before your payday through the app.

  • Multiple ways to get your cash: Cash advances are interest free, and you can get your money through the app in about a business day. If you need immediate access to your cash, you can pick it up at a local Walmart.
  • Not all employers use it: To use Even, your employer must be enrolled with the app. And you’ll need to be an active employee. But if your employer is part of Even, you’ll be able to use the app to check your shift schedule, find out how much your next paycheck will be and see how much you’ve earned so far.
  • Automatic savings: You can use the app to save a part of your paycheck every pay period in an Even savings account. You can change the amount you want to put aside anytime and make withdrawals whenever you need access to the money you saved.

Best for online banking tools: Empower

Why Empower stands out:  Empower is an app that lets you get a cash advance of up to $250 as early as two days before payday. When you sign up for Empower, which charges a monthly subscription fee, you can open an FDIC-insured Empower checking account that has no account minimums or overdraft fees. You’ll also be able to transfer funds between your Empower account and linked external bank accounts.

  • Membership fee: To use Empower and get an interest-free cash advance of up to $250 and the other perks the app offers, you’ll need to pay a monthly $8 subscription fee.
  • Customized budgeting: Empower lets you create a customized budget that can help you keep tabs on your spending. You’ll get recommendations based on your income and can even set spending by expense category.
  • Savings recommendations: Empower analyzes your spending and provides recommendations for earning and saving more money — and it even notifies you about things like bill increases and your credit utilization.

What to watch out for with get-paid-early apps

Get-paid-early apps may make sense if you need a little extra cash to tide you over until your next payday and don’t want to take out an expensive and potentially risky payday loan. But while many of these cash advance apps may not charge you interest, they may come with other fees such as monthly memberships.

Before you decide to borrow money from an app, it’s a good idea to compare interest rates, fees and terms so that you can calculate what you’ll be able to afford to pay back. And while using a get-paid-early app can help you make ends meet in a pinch, if you find that you’re borrowing cash regularly between paychecks or struggling to pay bills, it might be a good idea to revisit your monthly budget.

How we picked these apps

We looked at 10 get-paid-early apps and compared features such as fees, interest rates and loan amounts. We also considered budgeting tools, overdraft warnings and other extra perks.

About the author: Anna Baluch is a freelance personal finance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. You can find her work on sites like The Balance, Freedom Debt Relief, LendingTree and RateGenius. Anna has an MBA in marketing from Roosevelt Un… Read more.