Updated April 25, 2023

Best Payday Advance App

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Find the best apps to get an advance on your paycheck ASAP. Learn how these payday loan alternatives really work.

Look. Life is unpredictable. It's not your fault.

When you're strapped for cash, it's tempting to get a payday loan. But this is a BAD idea. Payday loans can bleed you with high-interest rates. They might even leave you in worse financial shape than before.

So what's the alternative? You still need money fast.

Payday advance apps are a much safer option. Find out what these apps are and how they work.

What app lets me borrow money until payday?
Here are the best apps to get money before payday:

What are payday advance apps?

Payday advance apps (also known as cash advance apps) allow you to borrow money before payday. It's an alternative to payday loans. Some apps don't charge interest while others deduct a small amount from your paycheck before you receive it.

You can find a breakdown of the pros and cons of popular payday advance apps (like Dave and Earnin) below.

Keep in mind: If you have a lot of debt to pay off, it's recommended to use a personal loan to help you save money on interest and potentially get out of debt faster. Check rates on Fiona (does not affect credit score) to see if you qualify.

Apps You Can Download on Your Own

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Some payday advance apps allow you to independently link your own bank account. Most will monitor your account's spending and earning history. And then automatically withdraw any advanced funds when you get your paycheck.

🏆 Earnin - Best Free App

Credit: Earnin

Earnin gives workers access to their pay as they work the hours to earn it, rather than waiting for payday.

It's free to use but does ask for optional "tips" with every withdrawal. New users can withdraw a max of $100 per pay period. But you can increase their limit to up to $500 over time.[1] The app also offers automatic overdraft protection deposits and alerts.

Depending on when you make a cashout request, the money could arrive in less than a day or the following business day. If your account is through one of Earnin's partner banks, cashout requests will process much faster.


  • No required fees
  • Cash deposited instantly in partner bank accounts
  • Offers automatic overdraft protection


  • Encourages tipping with every transaction
  • Not accessible for freelancers and remote workers
  • May require GPS location sharing

How it works
In order to use Earnin, you must meet the following requirements:[2]

  1. At least 50% of your paycheck must be directly deposited into a checking account.
  2. You must get paid consistently, whether weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.
  3. There must be a consistent measurement of time worked, possibly by tracking your location to your workplace via GPS.

That makes Earnin essentially unusable by freelancers and anyone who doesn't receive regular payments.

A payday advance is not the same as an emergency fund. If you're worried about how you're going to make ends meet in the case of an emergency, focus on saving enough to cover 1 to 3 months' worth of expenses. Instead of relying on short-term quick cash.

Brigit - Best app for iPhone

credit: brigit

Brigit's payday advance services cost $9.99 per month for Plus plan.[3] The app offers advances between $80 and $250, depending on an individual's needs and ability to repay.

Brigit also monitors linked bank accounts. If the app's algorithm detects that an account is nearing an overdraft, it will automatically lend up to $250 to avoid it.

Cash arrives before the end of the day if it is requested by 11 a.m. EST on a business day. Any requests made later than that are processed the following business day.


  • No interest or late fees
  • Funds arrive quickly
  • Offers automatic overdraft protection


  • Costs $9.99 per month to upgrade plan if you'd like to access more features.
  • Only allows one advance at a time
  • Requires minimum Brigit score to get advances

Express Pay some members may have the option of Express Pay. It provides funds in just 20 minutes at no charge. This service isn't available to every member yet, but Brigit is slowly rolling it out to more members.

How it works[4]

  • You must have a regular W-2 income and a bank account.
  • The bank account must be at least 60 days old. And have a minimum of three consistent deposits from the same employer.
  • You must also have a positive bank account balance on the day of your direct deposit and the day after.

This is how Brigit knows you will have enough to pay the advance back without overdrafting.

Brigit also calculates a "Brigit score," which ranges between 40 and 100.[5] You need a minimum score of 70 in order to receive cash advances. Brigit calculates this score by looking at:

  • Your bank account's historical balance and activity
  • Your spending habits
  • Your earning history

Dave - Best app for small amount advances

Credit: Dave

Dave operates as a membership service. For a $1 monthly fee, Dave offers payday advances of up to $500 and alerts users of possible upcoming overdrafts.[6]

If Dave's algorithm predicts that you have an upcoming overdraft, it will automatically deposit cash into your account.

All of Dave's advances have a 0% interest rate. They can take up to three business days to transfer into your account but will transfer immediately for a fee.

On the pre-set payback date, Dave will automatically try to pull the advanced amount from your account. If you can't pay back an advance, you get banned from the app.


  • No interest fees
  • Option to set up automatic paybacks
  • Sends overdraft warning alerts


  • Charges monthly membership fee
  • Encourages additional tipping
  • Charges fee for immediate transfers

How it works
After you connect your checking account (they don't link to savings accounts), Dave monitors your balances and upcoming expenses. There aren't any fees, but Dave doesn't recommend "tipping" them for the advance.

In order to qualify, you must:

  1. Have a U.S.-based checking account linked to Dave
  2. Have proof of consistent direct deposits from your employer
  3. Have proof that you have enough funds after you get paid to pay Dave back

MoneyLion - Best app with no credit check

MoneyLion is a mobile and financial membership platform. By linking your active checking account to the free MoneyLion app, you can request cash advances up to $500 without any added interest fees.


  • No monthly fee[7]
  • No interest
  • No credit check
  • Extra financial tools


  • Instant funding costs extra
  • Requires a MoneyLion checking account

How it works
Instacash is an optional service offered by MoneyLion that allows for interest-free cash advances. There's no interest and no monthly fee. But you can pay turbo fees to receive funding faster.

You can unlock up to $700 advances by becoming a Credit Builder Plus member and up to $1,000 by setting up direct deposits into a RoarMoney account.[8]

If you do take a cash advance, the money will be immediately transferred into your MoneyLion account. The owed amount will be automatically deducted from the same account approximately two weeks later.

Apps Your Employer Has To Use

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Most employer-sponsored payday advance apps work similarly to self-sign-up apps. Relying on your job's chosen app has benefits and disadvantages. Often, the withdrawal limits are higher than individual apps, but employers have more control over what employees can and can't do.

DailyPay - Best app with fast delivery

Credit: Dailypay

If an employer decides to sign up for DailyPay, employees will be able to access funds based on how many hours they work. Employees can transfer as much money as they want from their accumulated balance.

Each transfer costs either $1.99 for next-day delivery or $2.99 for same-day delivery into a linked bank account or prepaid debit card. Your paycheck amount is then reduced by any early transfers you've taken.[9]


  • Money transfers quickly
  • Automatically links to your paycheck


  • Charges a fee to transfer money
  • Only available through an employer

How it works
DailyPay has very few eligibility requirements aside from the need for an employer to sign up for the program. The requirements include:

  1. You must have a bank account or prepaid debit card linked for DailyPay to send your payments.
  2. You may need to provide some personal identifying information if your employer doesn't provide it.

Even - Best app with cash pickup

Credit: Even

If an employer signs up for Even, all employees can access its benefits, including early access to up to 50% of their earnings as they work hours. Even also offers planning for spending, saving, and empowering employees financially.

All of Even's payday advances are interest-free, but the service itself charges an $8 monthly fee. Employers have the option to subsidize those fees.

Withdrawn money is automatically taken out of your next paycheck.


  • No interest fees
  • Offers budgeting/saving tools
  • Friendly customer support


  • Charges $8 per month
  • Only available through employers

How it works
You can have the money from Even transferred to your linked bank account in one business day. You can also pick up your funds at a Walmart MoneyCenter on the same day.

Even also helps you save automatically.

It sets aside a percentage of your paycheck each pay period and helps you budget appropriately. It spreads out your pay over the month. Rather than living with the paycheck-to-paycheck mentality.

PayActiv - Best app that gives the most

Credit: Payactiv

PayActiv is another employer-sponsored cash advance program that gives you access up to $500 of your earned money at once. The program is free for employers to set up and offer as a benefit to its employees.

In addition to cash advances, you can also conduct other banking transactions. These include:

  • Paying bills
  • Setting up a budget
  • Creating a savings plan


  • Advances up to $500
  • Automatic deductions from paychecks
  • No interest fees
  • Free bill pay feature


  • Only available through employers
  • Charges per debit/payroll card/cash pickup transfer

How it works
If your employer signs up for PayActiv, you can then download the app and sign up for an account. If you need to access your earned wages before payday, you withdraw the funds via PayActiv.

They allow you to withdraw 50% of your earned wages with a $500 maximum at one time. The money you borrow is automatically deducted from your next paycheck and paid back.

The funds aren't a loan, but there is a processing fee of $1.99 to $2.99 per transaction if you use a service such as instant deposit or Walmart cash pickup.[10] Your employer may or may not cover it for you.

PayActiv also offers a pre-paid debit card on which PayActiv can deposit your daily earned wages. There's no processing fee for instant transfers to Payactiv Visa card with direct deposit of $200 or more per pay period.[10]

FlexWage - Best app with separate card

FlexWage is another employer-sponsored cash advance program. Employees who choose to use the service receive a FlexWage debit card for cash advances. They can use them even if they don't have their own individual checking account.

Employers who use FlexWage determine the:

  • Fees to get a cash advance
  • Minimum and maximum amount allowed for a cash advance
  • Maximum number of available withdrawals per pay period, month, or year

Cash advances have a 0% interest rate and will automatically be taken out of an employee's next paycheck. Requested funds transfer instantly to the FlexWage card.


  • Money transfers instantly to FlexWage card
  • No required checking account
  • No interest fees


  • Only available through employers
  • Requires FlexWage debit card
  • Employers set limits on the amount of advances

How it works
After your employer offers the FlexWage benefit, they will share an enrollment link with you. After enrolling, you'll receive a FlexWage Visa card to which you can transfer your earned wages when necessary.

Flex Pay also offers a special program for restaurants and other companies that work on tips, commissions, or bonuses. The program gives you early access to your earnings as designated by your employer.

Branch - Best app with budgeting

Credit: Branch

Branch is another employer-sponsored cash advance app. Users can only access it if they belong to an organization that uses Instant Pay.

A 3-business-day transfer to an external account or debit card is free, while an instant transfer costs $2.99 - $4.99 depending on the amount you transfer.[11]

You can also sign up for the "Branch Wallet," a regular checking account that comes with the Branch debit card. Users can get free instant transfers and free ATM access at over 40,000 locations.

You can also add their direct deposit on there to unlock more benefits like:

  • A two-day early paycheck
  • Instant gas hold refunds

With either option, all advances are interest-free.


  • Free transfer option available
  • Fee-free checking account and debit card available
  • No overdraft fees
  • No interest or subscription fees


  • Only available through an employer
  • Instant transfers without Branch debit card cost $2.99 - $4.99

How it works
To use Branch, your workplace must have an official relationship with Branch. To be eligible for an advance, you must be verified on your employer's roster. You will be able to request an advance if you meet all other qualifications.[12]

Your advance payback is automatically deducted from the connected bank. It will not be removed from your paycheck. You can also still use the application's budgeting tools and alerts.

When your employer offers Branch as a benefit, you receive access to the Branch Wallet. Or you can connect your banking information. You can then advance up to 50% of your earnings.

Branch automatically deducts the amount borrowed from your next paycheck.

Branch also offers other financial and work-related benefits, including:

  • Schedule management
  • Overdraft warnings
  • An earnings tracker
  • Opportunities to pick up shifts
  • A budgeting tool

What Experts Say

As a part of the series on credit and personal loans, CreditDonkey asked a panel of industry experts to answer some of readers' most pressing questions:

  • What's your biggest piece of advice for people who use payday loans or apps?
  • What should people look for in a payday advance app?
  • What are alternatives to payday advance apps?

Here's what they said:

Bottom Line

Payday advance apps may help you in a pinch. Like when you need a little money to get through to your next payday. But they won't fund large expenses, like those that come up during emergencies.

It's important to find a way to save an emergency fund. And have access to other liquid funds should you find yourself in a financial bind.


  1. ^ Earnin. How much money can I cash out with Earnin?, Retrieved 3/25/2022
  2. ^ Earnin. Who can use Earnin?, Retrieved 8/12/2022
  3. ^ Brigit. How much does Brigit cost?, Retrieved 3/24/2022
  4. ^ Brigit. Bank Account Requirements, Retrieved 8/12/2022
  5. ^ Brigit. Brigit Score, Retrieved 3/24/2022
  6. ^ Dave. Dave Membership, Retrieved 8/12/2022
  7. ^ MoneyLion. Moneylion Fee Schedule, Retrieved 3/25/2022
  8. ^ MoneyLion. How do I increase my Instacash limit?, Retrieved 3/5/23
  9. ^ DailyPay. What are the different ways employees can get paid through DailyPay?, Retrieved 3/25/2022
  10. ^ Payactiv. Pricing, Retrieved 3/5/23
  11. ^ Branch. Branch Pay - FAQ, Retrieved 3/25/2022
  12. ^ Branch. Am I Eligible for an Advance?, Retrieved 8/12/2022

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