Payactiv app review: A cash advance app that works with employers

Young woman using a mobile phone and laptop while workingImage: Young woman using a mobile phone and laptop while working

In a Nutshell

If you’re in a financial pinch, Payactiv can help you get access up to half your paycheck before payday. But fees may apply depending on how you have your money deposited.
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  • Provides a cash advance before payday
  • Offers a secure way to pay bills
  • Ability to send and receive money


  • Can only access up to 50% of your paycheck
  • Fees may apply depending on where you have funds deposited
  • Full benefits are available only if your employer participates

What you need to know about a Payactiv personal loan

Payactiv in 2012 created earned wage access, a service that allows workers to get an advance on their paychecks between pay periods. Payactiv is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s first approved EWA provider.

If you’re considering using Payactiv, here are a few things to know.

An easy way to get a payday advance

If your employer is enrolled in the Payactiv EWA program, you’ll be able to access funds from your paycheck up to two days in advance (four days in advance if you’re a government employee). Plus, you’ll be able to review your current earnings on the app and see how many hours you’ve worked

But even if your employer isn’t enrolled in Payactiv, you still might be able to receive some of your paycheck up to two days ahead of payday.

Can only tap into 50% of your paycheck

If you’re enrolled in Payactiv through work, you may be able to access up to half of your earnings before payday, but the exact amount will be set by your employer.

Watch out for fees 

While Payactiv touts no minimum card balance requirement, no activation fees and no monthly maintenance fees, there may be other fees depending on how you get and use your cash. It’s free to load money onto a Payactiv card, but if you want to transfer funds to your bank, pick it up at Walmart, spend it with Uber or Amazon or use the bill pay feature, you can expect to pay additional fees.

A closer look at a Payactiv

  • Multiple ways to receive funds — If you have Payactiv through work, you can have your cash transferred to your bank account or a Payactiv card. You could also opt to pick up your money at Walmart. Or you can use the cash to cover an Uber ride or pay for an Amazon order. If you enroll in Payactiv on your own, you’ll get your money on a Payactiv Visa debit card.
  • Send and receive money — Payactiv offers the ability to send and receive money with fellow Payactiv users. To use this feature, add your friend or family member’s phone number, and you can send and receive cash straight away.
  • Secure bill payment — You can use the money in your Payactiv account to pay bills directly from the app. It’s worth noting that this service could cost you $1 a day, but it’s capped at $5 a pay period.
  • Financial insights With the mobile app you can get financial advice, budgeting tools, tips on saving and a way to track your spending.
  • Get company information — If you’re enrolled through your company, you can use the app to check for open shifts and ask to pick up hours, receive company announcements and chat with your team members.
  • No credit check Payactiv isn’t technically a lender, so applying to use the service won’t trigger a credit check.

Who is Payactiv good for?

Using Payactiv to get an advance on your paycheck can help you cover an emergency expense without having to resort to payday loans, which are known to be risky.

But if you find yourself needing to borrow cash against your paycheck regularly, it may be a good idea to take a closer look at your finances and work on making a monthly budget to keep your spending on track.

How to apply with Payactiv

You can apply for a Payactiv account online. To sign up and must be 18 years old and need to provide some personal information, including the following:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Email

If you sign up through your employer, Payactiv generally will interact with company’s payroll and time attendance system. Your employer may also need to share your name and employee ID, along with your information about when you clock in and clock out.

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

  • Earnin: Earnin lets you tap into up to $500 of your earnings two days ahead of payday. 
  • Dave: Dave is a cash advance app that offers up to $200 as a paycheck advance and can help you build up your credit history.

About the author: Jackie Lam is an L.A.-based money writer who is passionate about helping creatives with their finances and cultivating community among entrepreneurs. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies and FinTech startups, and… Read more.