Updated April 18, 2024

Best Payday Loan Apps

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Payday loan apps can let you borrow up to $750 without a credit check. And most of them are free. So what's the catch?

What are the best payday loan apps?
The best loan apps to help you make it to payday are:
  1. Dave for small amount advances
  2. Albert for no late or overdraft fees
  3. Brigit for flexibility to choose repayment date
  4. Chime for overdraft protection
  5. EarnIn for hourly wages loan
  6. MoneyLion for multiple features
  7. Empower for instant cash advance
  8. PayActiv for financial coaching
  9. Vola for same-day cash advance
  10. FlexWage for reloadable debit card

The middle of the week can be frustrating. You're so close to your payday that you can almost taste it. But your rent is due today and your bills can't wait!

A quick solution: Payday loan apps. These are apps that can get you your earnings before your payday. Plus, there's no interest and no credit check needed.

Let's first talk about how a payday loan works. Then, keep reading to learn about the best apps and their features, loan amounts, and pros and cons.

How a Payday Loan Works

Payday loan apps get you up to $750 of your earned wage before your payday. They have no credit check, so you don't have to worry about your credit score. And you can repay it on your next payday with no interest!

You read that right. Payday loan apps charge ZERO INTEREST fees. It beats credit cards and lenders that charge from 15% to 35%[1] on interest.

On top of zero interest, payday loan apps have hassle-free requirements. Most apps only ask for an active bank account and a consistent income.

Are loan apps safe?
Yes, loan apps are safe. Payday loan apps take measures to protect your personal information and banking details. For example, Empower uses federal law security measures to protect your personal information using computer safeguards and secured files and buildings.[2]

10 Best Payday Loan Apps

Payday loan apps have different selling points. Some charge their services with a subscription fee from $1.00 to $9.99. But most apps are free.

Let's look into their different loan amounts, processing times, and features to see which payday loan app is best for you.

Cash Advance AppBest forLoan AmountStandard Processing Time
DaveSmall amount advancesUp to $5001-3 days
AlbertNo late or overdraft feesUp to $250Immediately
BrigitFlexibility to choose repayment dateUp to $2501-3 business days
ChimeOverdraft protectionUp to $200Immediately
EarnInHourly wages loan$750/pay period1-2 banking days
MoneyLionMultiple featuresUp to $500half a day - 2 days
EmpowerInstant cash advanceUp to $25024 hours
PayActivFinancial coachingUp to $5001-3 business days[3]
VolaSame-day cash advanceUp to $300Within 5 hours
FlexWageReloadable debit cardEmployer determinedImmediately

What apps give you money instantly?
Among the cash advance apps on the list, Vola is the fastest. They can get your advance within 5 hours.

Dave: Best for small amount advances

Let's say you only need an extra $25 to fix a flat tire. Nothing crazy, just $25. Do payday advance apps let you borrow that little?

Dave lets you take an advance from $25.00 to $500.00. It works great for when you pop a tire or run an errand. But this small advance comes with a small catch.

Dave charges a small monthly subscription fee of $1.00.[4] It is the lowest subscription fee from payday advance apps on this list. (Stay tuned to see which app charges the most!)

Here's what you can get with Dave:

  • Advance Amount: Up to $500.00
  • Processing Time: 1-3 days for ACH transfers; you can pay for express delivery and get your advance within seconds to your Dave Spending account and within an hour to external accounts.
  • Repayment Date: On your next payday or the nearest Friday when you had the transaction with no late fee; there are also no late fees if you need more time to repay

  • Good for a small advance
  • $500 advance limit
  • No late fees
  • Needs access to your income history and spending patterns
  • Users complain about changes in maximum advance amount

How often can you get an advance from Dave?
You can get an advance up to 5 times per month[5] as long as you have paid all of your past Dave transactions.

Features

  • ExtraCash
    ExtraCash offers a payday advance of $25.00 to $500.00. There's no credit check, no interest, and no late fees.[6]

    To qualify for a higher advance, you need 3 or more recurring deposits, a total deposit of $1,000 or more per month, and an external account with at least 60-day history and a positive balance.[7]

What is a common user complaint about Dave?
Users complain about the change in advance amount. One user reported being able to get an advance of $400 but now can only access $75.[8]

Albert: Best for no late or overdraft fees

Similar to Chime, Albert can spot you up to $250 with no overdraft fees. You also don't need to worry about late fees or interests.

Here are the terms:

  • Loan Amount: Up to $250.00 overdraft spot
  • Processing Time: Immediately
  • Repayment Date: Automatic upon Albert Cash account fund deposit

  • No overdraft fees
  • No credit check
  • Doesn't charge interest
  • Requires a Genius subscription to access Instant overdrafts

Features

  • Albert Instant
    It offers up to $250 in instant overdraft coverage with no credit check needed.

    To qualify for Albert Instant, you need:[9]

    • An active bank account linked to an Albert Cash account
    • Has activated Smart Money feature on the app
    • Has turned on overdraft coverage in app settings
    • An Albert Cash account and Genius account in good standing

    Is Albert a legit app?
    Yes. Albert's banking services are from Sutton Bank, which is a member of the FDIC. Savings accounts on Albert are in FDIC-insured banks.

  • Albert Cash
    It is Albert's debit card feature. You can get your paycheck up to 2 days early by setting up your direct deposit with Albert Cash.

  • Albert Budgeting
    Track your spending and savings as well as get updates on hidden fees, bill increases, and overdrafts.

Brigit: Best for flexibility to choose repayment date

With no credit check needed, you can borrow up to $250 with Brigit. But their subscription fee costs $9.99.[10]

It is the highest fee compared to other apps. Does it mean it's better? Well, that depends.

Brigit has a flexible repayment date with free repayment extensions. To improve your credit score, Brigit also has a credit builder. If that's what you need, then the fee could be worth it.

Here are the terms with Brigit:

  • Loan Amount: Up to $250.00
  • Processing Time: Brigit takes 1-3 business days but with instant delivery, you can get your loan within 20 minutes.[11]
  • Repayment Date: You can pay earlier or get an extension if you need more time. Brigit can also set an automatic repayment on your payday.

  • Flexible repayment date
  • Free repayment extension
  • Credit Builder feature
  • 1-3 days standard delivery
  • Users complain about changes in maximum loan amount
  • High subscription fee

Features

  • Instant cash
    You can get a payday loan of up to $250. It comes with no credit check, no interest, no late fees, and free repayment extensions.

    But to unlock instant cash advance, here are Brigit's requirements:[12]

    • Checking account that has been active for at least 60 days
    • Balance greater than $0
    • 3 recurring deposits from the same source

  • Credit Builder
    You can improve your credit history by applying for a loan and keeping it in a deposit account. As you pay off the loan, you build your credit score.

Other apps that have a similar credit builder feature are MoneyLion and Chime.

Chime: Best for overdraft protection

Overdraft occurs when there are insufficient funds in your account to cover a transaction. Your bank pays for the expense but charges you an overdraft fee.

With a Chime Debit Card, however, you can get immediate spotting up to $200 without overdraft fees. They also won't be performing a credit check.

Here are the terms:

  • Loan Amount: $20.00 to $200.00
  • Processing Time: Immediately
  • Repayment Date: Next deposit or payday

  • No monthly fee
  • No credit check needed
  • Immediate overdraft spotting
  • Requires a Chime debit card
  • Needs a $200 qualifying deposit

How much is an overdraft fee?
Overdraft fees are around $30.[13] And some banks can even charge multiple overdrafts per day. So if you take overdrafts from banks, you would have to pay your expense + $30!

Features

  • Chime SpotMe
    Get spotting up to $200 in overdraft from cash withdrawals or debit card purchases. There are no monthly fees or credit checks.[14]

    Chime's only requirements are:

    • At least 18+ years in age
    • A deposit account connected to Chime
    • Activated Chime Visa Debit Card
    • A qualifying deposit of $200 and above, 34 days before you request an overdraft spotting.

  • Chime Checking Account
    This lets you to access your earnings up to 2 days earlier than your payday.

Is Chime a legit bank?
Chime is a financial technology company with banking services from The Bancorp Bank, N.A. and Stride Bank, N.A which are members of FDIC.

It only gets better from here, as more apps on the list have a higher loan amount.

EarnIn: Best for hourly wages loan

You can take a cash out from EarnIn of up to $750 per payment period. It is one of the highest amounts from payday loan apps. But this depends on your work hours.

Unlike Chime, EarnIn works with your current bank account. So there's no hassle with opening a separate debit card.

They have no fees, interest, or hidden costs. Tips are also optional. When you are in a tight situation, you can trust EarnIn cash out.

You can get:

  • Loan Amount: Up to $100 per day and up to $750.00 per pay period
  • Processing Time: 1 to 2 banking days; for a small Lightning Speed transfer fee, you can cash out within 1-30 minutes.
  • Repayment Date: On or after your payday

  • Can out up to $750 per pay period
  • No credit check needed
  • Doesn't charge interest
  • Doesn't require a separate debit card
  • Needs your work timesheet
  • Requires a regular pay schedule making it unusable to freelancers

Features

  • Cash Out
    With EarnIn's Cash Out, you get access to your pay before payday. To release your earned wage, EarnIn verifies your employment through a few requirements:
    • A linked checking account
    • A regular pay schedule
    • A permanent work location, an electronic timekeeping system, or a PDF timesheet to track your hourly earnings

    Setting up your account will only take a few minutes and verification takes about 2-3 business days.[15]

  • Balance Shield
    This can give you access to $100.00 of your earnings when your account balance falls below your selected threshold amount (0-$500).[16]

Does EarnIn hurt your credit?
If you fail to pay your EarnIn Cash Out, you will receive an e-mail to solve the problem. Your credit score will not be affected.[17]

Want more features? Check out our next apps.

MoneyLion: Best for multiple features

No subscription fee, no problem. MoneyLion offers a cash advance loan of up to $500 with no credit check required.

And if you're looking to make the most out of your money, they've got you covered. MoneyLion has plenty of features that can help you learn about building your credit and making investments such as crypto.

Generally, MoneyLion offers:

  • Loan Amount: Up to $500
  • Processing Time: Standard delivery takes about 12 to 48 hours. But with Turbo delivery, you can get your money within minutes.
  • Repayment Date: Next payday

  • Free cash advance feature
  • Plenty of features
  • No credit check needed
  • Needs bank account access
  • High membership cost to unlock Credit Builder Plus

Pro tip: Is the $500 loan amount too low? Check out EarnIn.

Features

  • Instacash
    This lets you take a cash advance of up to $500 with no membership requirement. It doesn't require a credit check or a subscription.

    To get cash advance from MoneyLion, here is their criteria:[18]

    • An active account for two or more months
    • A history of recurring income deposits in the account
    • A positive balance on the account

    What's the easiest app to get a cash advance?
    MoneyLion is an easy app to get a cash advance from. It doesn't need a subscription fee, no credit check, no insurance, and it doesn't require a high minimum account balance.

  • Financial Heartbeat
    This monitors your credit health, savings, and spending for free.

To help improve your finances, you can also try MoneyLion's Managed Investing, Crypto Auto Invest, and Credit Builder Plus (costs $19.99).[19]

Empower: Best for instant cash advance

Money comes and goes so fast. And sometimes, the standard processing time for your payday loan can't keep up. But Empower can.

Empower can send your loan within a minute up to 1 business day. It has a quick loan processing time which comes in handy for emergencies.

You can even get your money in an hour. Just pay for the instant delivery fee.

Here's an overview of what Empower offers:

  • Loan Amount: Up to $250.00
  • Processing Time: 1-minute instant delivery with an Empower card; for other paycheck accounts, there's a 1-day processing time[20]
  • Repayment Date: Next payday

  • 1 day processing time
  • Does not require a subscription to get cash advance
  • Debit card with cashback deals
  • Costly $8 subscription fee for their banking services
  • Needs you to send an email to access cash advance for free

Features

  • Empower Cash Advance
    You can borrow up to $250 without the hassle of waiting for days. Receive your loan the same day without the interest, late fees, and credit checks.

    You can even access Empower Cash Advance without the subscription fee. Just email help@empower.me and say that you want to use cash advance without subscribing.

  • Empower Card
    This is a debit card feature that has no overdraft fees. It gets your payday loan delivered within 1 minute for free. And to top it off, you can get up to 10% cashback deals.

    Keep in mind that there's a monthly subscription worth $8.00 for its banking and budgeting services.[21]

If you prefer getting your cash at Walmart, however, this next app is more suited for you.

PayActiv: Best for financial coaching

PayActiv gives you access to up to 50% of your earnings per pay period. For a $2.49 to $3.49 fee, you can receive it instantly through your debit card or Walmart Cash Pickup.

The app also has practical features. It can help you manage your spending, plan your finances, and improve your savings.

Here's what you can get with PayActiv:

  • Loan Amount: Because it is an employer-sponsored program, your employer determines the maximum loan. They can set it to up to $500.[22]
  • Processing Time: ACH bank transfers take 1-3 business days with no extra charge. But you can receive it instantly through your debit or payroll card, or Walmart Cash Pickup for a fee. There's no fee for same-day transfer to a Payactiv card with direct deposit of $200 or more per pay period.[23]
  • Repayment Date: On your next paycheck

  • Lots of financial learning tools
  • Walmart Cash Pickup option
  • Stress-free requirements because employer sets it up
  • Only available through employers
  • Employer determines maximum loan amount
  • Charges per debit/payroll card/cash pickup transfer

Features

  • Earned Wage Access
    This lets you take up to 50% of your earnings. You can also use it to pay your bills using the app.

    Keep in mind that this is an employer-sponsored payday advance program. That means you can only use this feature if your employer uses PayActiv.

  • Financial Counseling
    You can talk to a certified credit counselor with PayActiv. Learn how to build your credit, manage your debt, etc.

Pro tip: PayActiv also has a blog and podcast where you can gain financial guidance for free.

Sit tight, we're down to our last 2 apps.

Vola: Best for same-day cash advance

Vola is at the top when it comes to processing time (while Empower comes at a close second). It can process a cash advance of up to $300 within 5 business hours. And it comes at no extra cost.

Cash advances don't require a credit check. They also don't charge interest.

To help with your finances, they even have budgeting tools and income and expense tracking that you can use for free.

Here are the terms:

  • Loan Amount: Cash advance of up to $300 twice within 30 days (as long as you've repaid your previous advance)
  • Processing Time: Around 5 business hours (bank account); Immediately (Vola Card)
  • Repayment Date: Repay on your payday or choose a repayment date using the app[24]

  • Fast processing time
  • Can choose your own repayment date
  • Free finance tools
  • Requires a $150+ balance

Features

  • Advance Now
    Take a cash advance of up to $300 with no interest and no credit checks. As long as you connect your Vola to your bank account that:[25]
    • Has been used for 3 months
    • Is active on most days of the week
    • Has a balance of $150+
    • Has incomes or deposits

  • Vola Card
    This is a buy now and pay later option with no extra fees.

Vola has a high 4.7/5 rating on Trustpilot. That shows how trustworthy the platform is.

If you feel safer with employee-sponsored apps, here's another option for you.

FlexWage: Best for reloadable debit card

Like PayActiv, FlexWage is an employer-sponsored cash advance. It comes with a FlexWage debit card so there's no need for a checking account.

You can get instant access to your pay whenever you need it. And you can use it in stores that accept Visa or Mastercard.

Fees for using FlexWage depend on the employer, but it is guaranteed to be lower than overdraft and short-term loans.

For a quick overview, here's what to expect:

  • Loan Amount: Determined by your employer
  • Processing Time: Instant
  • Repayment Date: Next payday

  • No checking account needed
  • Money transfers instantly to FlexWage card
  • No interest charged
  • Can choose your own repayment date
  • Free finance tools
  • Only available through employer
  • Employer determines maximum loan amount
  • Requires FlexWage debit card

Features

  • FlexWage Visa Pay Card
    This is a reloadable debit card that's loaded by your employer every payday.[26]

  • OnDemand Pay
    You can get your pay earlier in your FlexWage card.[27]

Pros and Cons of Payday Loans

If you're still on the fence about whether to apply for payday loans, these pros and cons might help you out.

Pros:

  • No credit check
    Payday loan apps are a good source of cash for those who have a bad credit score.

  • Fast processing time
    It can take 1-3 days to receive your money. There are also express delivery options which are great for emergencies.

  • Learn about money
    Some apps offer finance tools and resources. They can help you learn more about managing your money.

  • Low fees
    Depending on your lender or bank, payday loan apps can offer lower fees.

Cons:

  • Debt cycle
    Making a habit of taking payday loans from apps is dangerous. It makes you depend on money you don't have yet. As much as possible, use it only when needed.

  • Fees add up
    Low subscription fees and low express delivery fees add up to a high expense. But this expense is avoidable.

    If you can stretch your money a little more, it will be worth it. That way, you can save the money for the fees for emergencies.

  • Loan amounts vary
    Ultimately, the amount you can borrow depends on your qualifications. For employer-sponsored apps, it will depend on your employer.

How can you be sure that the payday loan app is not a scam? Keep scrolling to find out.

How to tell if it's a scam

The payday loan apps in this article are legit and not scams. But you could be interested in other payday loan apps.

If so, here's what you can do to ensure the lenders are trustworthy:

  1. Check their websites
    The apps in this list have clear websites where you can read all of their privacy policies and terms and conditions.

  2. Check if they are FDIC-insured
    Legit finance companies are backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). So check if their services are FDIC-insured.

  3. Read the reviews
    There are plenty of reviews on payday loan apps you can read to see how safe these apps are.

Other ways to get a quick loan

Here are some other options for when you're cash strapped.

  • Buy Now, Pay Later Apps
    Apps like Klarna and Affirm let you buy now and pay later. They let you pay in installments to spread out your big purchase.

  • Personal Loans
    These are unsecured, short-term loans you can pay within 2-5 years. Compared to payday loan apps, lenders have a higher loan amount of $5,000 - $100,000.

  • Ask a friend or family
    If you are lucky to have reliable friends and family, ask if you can borrow money from them. It could be tricky, but at least there's no interest fee.

How can I borrow $200 from a cash app?
Check into the eligibility requirements of payday loan apps and see which one is the best fit for you. This can help you get a higher loan. Then sign up and make sure to pay on your next payday.

But some of these are BAD alternatives you should avoid.

  • Payday Loans
    These are loans with a high-interest rate of around 391%. This loan is paid in a lump sum and lenders secure the loan by gaining access to your bank account. In short: it's a trap.

  • Credit Card Advances
    These are loans from your credit card you can take from an ATM. Credit card cash advance charges a fee and very high interest rates - often from the moment you take it out until it's paid off.

    You should only use a credit card advance as a last resort if you really need cash fast. And it's only suggested if you can pay it off right away.

Pro tip: If you notice that your earnings are not enough to cover your spending, try looking into other sources of income. Some side hustles you can look into are dog walking, online selling, or house-sitting. You can also read our article for other ways to make money.

How we came up with the list

In choosing what apps to add to the list, we looked for payday loan apps that were inexpensive. It was important that they were free or had low fees to make sure they were practical for our readers.

The article also includes what you would need to get a loan. We made sure that these payday loan apps would not need a bunch of paperwork that takes a lot of time.

We also considered finance tools. That way, these apps don't only give you access to a loan. They can also help you make better money moves.

Bottom Line

There are many payday loan apps that come in handy for a rainy day. You don't have to wait for your payday to buy your groceries. And you don't have to worry about a bad credit score or interest.

Each app will have its pros and cons. While some apps come with subscription fees, others are free to use. Be sure to compute the total cost of the loan before applying.

References

  1. ^ Incharge. How Do Payday Loans Work?, Retrieved 01/09/2023
  2. ^ Empower. Privacy Policy, Retrieved 01/11/2023
  3. ^ Payactiv. how long does it take to get money , Retrieved 01/05/2023
  4. ^ Dave. Dave Membership, Retrieved 3/4/23
  5. ^ Dave. ExtraCash, Retrieved 01/07/2023
  6. ^ Dave. ExtraCash advance, Retrieved 3/4/23
  7. ^ Dave. Taking an ExtraCash advance + contributing factors, Retrieved 3/4/23
  8. ^ Google Play. Dave - Banking & Cash Advance, Retrieved 01/07/2023
  9. ^ Albert. How do I qualify for Albert Instant?, Retrieved 4/4/24
  10. ^ Brigit. How much does Brigit cost?, Retrieved 3/4/23
  11. ^ Brigit. When will I get the Brigit Advance?, Retrieved 01/07/2023
  12. ^ Brigit. How to access Instant Cash, Retrieved 3/4/23
  13. ^ FDIC. Overdraft, Retrieved 01/09/2023
  14. ^ Chime. Fee-Free Overdraft with SpotMe, Retrieved 3/4/23
  15. ^ Earin. How soon can I cash out after creating an account?, Retrieved 01/06/2023
  16. ^ EarnIn. Why did I automatically receive a transfer?, Retrieved 04/17/2024
  17. ^ Earin. Why Debt Collection Has No Place at EarnIn, Retrieved 01/09/2023
  18. ^ MoneyLion. How do I qualify for Instacash advances?, Retrieved 3/4/23
  19. ^ MoneyLion. Moneylion Fee Schedule, Retrieved 3/4/23
  20. ^ Empower. Terms, Retrieved 01/08/2023
  21. ^ Empower. Fees, Retrieved 01/07/2023
  22. ^ Payactiv. Earned Wage Access, Retrieved 01/09/2023
  23. ^ Payactiv. Pricing, Retrieved 04/18/2024
  24. ^ Vola. Faqs, Retrieved 01/09/2023
  25. ^ Vola. FAQs: What kind of bank accounts are supported on Vola?, Retrieved 3/4/23
  26. ^ Flexwage. Payroll cards, Retrieved 01/09/2023
  27. ^ FlexWage. Ondemand pay, Retrieved 01/09/2023

Write to Helen Papellero at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

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