November 22, 2019

Earnin Review

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Tired of living paycheck-to-paycheck? Earnin gives access to your cash before you get paid. It's like a payday loan without the fees. But is there a catch? Read on.

What Is Earnin?

Earnin is a community-based app that thrives on the pay-it-forward phenomenon. It aims to serve as an alternative to high-interest payday loans.

The app, which is available on iOS and Android devices, lets you access money you've earned before it hits your account without interest or fees. New members can get up to $100 per pay period.

Once you are an established Earnin member, you can earn higher daily and per pay period withdrawal amounts by:

  • Keeping good financial health
  • Avoiding excessive overdrafts
  • Working consistent hours
  • Having enough money to cover your standard bills

Is Earnin a Payday Loan?
Earnin claims they aren't a payday loan. But others disagree. The optional tipping seems to play a role in the credit a person receives. And the tips create a high APR, much higher than even payday loans (more on this below).

Earnin App Features

Cash Out
Get access to the money you've earned in increments of $100 per pay period. Earnin removes the funds from your next direct deposit.

Balance Shield
Avoid bank overdrafts when you link your Earnin app to your bank account. You can set a threshold for low balance alerts. Or set up automatic cash withdrawals from Earnin of up to $100 per pay period to start.

Lightning Speed Gives You Cash Fast
Sign up for Lightning Speed, if your bank is on the list. You'll get cash deposits instantly rather than waiting the one or more business days for traditional transfers.

HealthAid
Take snapshots of your medical bills and let the Earnin agents negotiate for you. You then choose a payment option that works best for you to pay off the medical bills.

Cash-Back Rewards
Link your credit card to your Earnin app and use it at participating restaurants and retailers. You may earn 1%–10% of your purchase back in cash. The rewards sit in your Earnin account, but you can immediately transfer the funds to your bank account.

How many times can you cash out on Earnin?
You have two limits on Earnin. The daily limit determines the maximum daily withdrawal. Your pay period limit determines the maximum withdrawal in one pay period.

What Does Earnin Cost?

Earnin doesn't charge any fees. But they offer a tipping option when you pay your withdrawals back.

You can also pay it forward or pay someone else's tip. Keep in mind, however, that even a $2 tip on a $100 withdrawal adds up if you use the service often.

How to Qualify

In order to qualify for Earnin, you must have:

  • At least half of your paycheck sent via direct deposit

  • A regular pay schedule (it can be weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly)

  • Proof of your fixed employment location or proof of electronic payroll systems

You'll also need to prove your status by:

  • Uploading your timesheet

  • Providing access to an online version of your time sheet

  • Uploading receipts for on-demand work

  • Sharing your location to show you went to your salaried job every day

Earnin uses this information to verify your income and to allow a withdrawal.

How long does it take Earnin to verify your information?
Typically, setting up your Earnin account can take a few days. The app sends a small test deposit to your bank for verification purposes. It also checks your earnings and pay schedule. If you haven't heard anything in three business days, contact customer support

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Borrow Funds for Free
    If you choose not to tip Earnin, you can borrow funds without fees. But that's not good practice within the app's community.

  • Borrow Up to $500 per Pay Period
    Initially, borrowers have a $100 max. But by proving yourself through on-time repayments, you may get approval to borrow more.

  • Earn Referral Rewards
    The Earnin community pays $4–$14 for every referral you provide by sharing your personal invite link. The tip varies based on the referral bonus donor, an anonymous tipper from the community.

Can you use Earnin with Social Security benefits?
Social security earners and individuals with any other government benefits aren't eligible for Earnin.

  • No Credit Check
    Unlike bank loans, you don't have to undergo a credit check. As long as you can prove your employment and the funds in your checking account, you can use Earnin.

  • Earnin Protects Your Privacy
    Sharing your income, employment, and bank information online can be risky. Earnin uses 256-bit encryption. Plus they don't store your bank log-in information.

  • Discourages Overspending
    Earnin doesn't promote spending money before you have it. Instead, they bail you out with $100 max deposit per pay period (up to $500 in some cases). It's enough to help during an emergency, but not enough to make a habit out of spending money before you have it.

Cons

  • Wait Time for a Payout
    Only requests received by 9:30 AM PT receive same-day funding. All others receive funds on the morning or evening of the next business day, depending on the timing of your request. You must time your payout request carefully to receive money when you need it.

  • Earnin Automatically Debits Your Account
    You don't choose the day you pay your debt back. Earnin automatically takes the funds on payday. Make sure you don't have other automatic withdrawals that may cause overdrafts.

  • Tipping System
    Frequent Earnin users may end up paying significant amounts if they choose to tip.

How It Compares

Brigit
Brigit monitors your bank account and provides a cash advance if you near an overdraft. There's a $9.99 monthly subscription fee and they pay as much as $250 per pay period. Many users receive the loan the same day with no interest charges.

Even
Even advances up to 50% of your earnings at the time of your withdrawal request. They charge a monthly subscription fee rather than interest. But your employer must partner with Even for you to use it. The platform sets up automatic debits on your next payday unless your employer deducts the amount from your paycheck automatically.

Dave
Receive up to $75 in cash advances with no interest and no credit check. Members pay $1 per month with no interest. Dave alerts members when they are about to overdraft and funds up to $75 to prevent overdraft charges. You can also request a one-time advance for free. You are responsible for paying Dave back on your next payday.

Bottom Line

Borrowing money before your paycheck arrives is not a good financial habit to get into it. But for emergency cases, Earnin is a good option. Sometimes that extra $100 is just what you need to get by.

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