When you have an emergency and your savings are not enough to get you through, then a loan app can be of immense help.
These payroll advance apps make it easy to access the funds you need from the comfort of your smartphone. The process is usually fast and credit checks are minimal.
Most combine fintech features with payday loan services. However, they try to keep costs as low as possible, unlike the predatory charges of traditional payday loan sharks. They also include modern features like online wallets and budgeting functions.
This post looks at the top instant loan apps, showcasing their inner workings and notable features.
Some Instant Loan App Tips
While you are searching for the perfect instant loan app to bridge the gap till your next payday, the following are a few tips to keep in mind:
- They are mostly smartphone apps or entirely online-based
- Most cater to the USA
- Average initial loans are between $100 and $250
- They are generally fintech companies, and not banks
- Consistent borrowing is not financially savvy as it can trap you in a debt cycle
The Best Instant Loan Apps
|Earnin||United States||$100 / day||Tip||earnin.com|
|Dave||United States||$200||No fees||dave.com|
|PayActiv||United States||N/A||No fees||payactiv.com|
|Brigit||United States||$250||No fees||hellobrigit.com|
|Chime||United States||$200||No fees||chime.com|
|MoneyTap||India||500,000 INR||>13% p.a||moneytap.com|
|Swift Money||United Kingdom||<£3,500||>290% p.a||swiftmoney.com|
- Pros: Easy access to funds, no fees, account balance protection
- Cons: Does not work for freelancers & remote workers
- Website: earnin.com
Initially called ActiveHours, Earnin is a payroll advance app that offers easy access to the money you have already earned without credit checks.
The Earnin app works by getting access to your bank account and employment information. Then, you additionally need a checking account where you receive regular payments from your employer. And this can be weekly, biweekly, or monthly.
A third requirement is that you have a fixed work location or online timesheet, so the app can make sure you are working.
Earnin lets you borrow p to $100 per day and up to $500 per pay period. The system does not charge any fees for using the service, but you are encouraged to tip what you can.
Other services from the app include an FDIC-insured account to help you save money. And a Balance Shield service that alerts you to low account balances for better management and to prevent overdraft charges.
Earnin is only available to US residents. It is available for Android devices from version 7 upwards, and iOS 12.0 or later.
- Pros: Fast loans, overdraft protection, zero fees, build a credit history
- Cons: $1 per month membership
- Website: dave.com
The Dave app offers a collection of financial tools to help make your life easier. This includes up to $100 advances and up to $200 for members of Dave Banking.
You can also get paid up to 2 days in advance. As well as build your credit history for free by simply paying your rent and utilities on time.
Dave Banking charges no fees, no late fees, no minimum balance, or other hidden fees. And it additionally gives you free access to over 30,000 ATMs.
Another feature of the Dave app is helping you find a side hustle. And this makes sense because not earning enough is the major reason for borrowing.
While Dave does not charge any fees, there is a $1 per month membership fee. Plus the $200 advance is only available after two consecutive $1,000+ deposits. It is rated 4.6 on the Play Store with over 5 million installs and 4.7 on Apple’s App Store.
- Pros: Great concept, with ATM card, mobile payments, tracking & savings
- Cons: Not an actual loan
- Website: payactiv.com
PayActiv is different from the other apps on this list. While they offer you a loan until your next payday, PayActive helps you to collect the money you have already earned.
The system works with the collaboration of employers. So, you can get paid for the hours you have already worked straight to your bank account. You can also get the payments into a Payactiv card, which makes it easy to pay for anything you wish.
PayActiv does not charge any fees. No minimum balance, no overdrafts, and access to 37,000+ MoneyPass ATMs. The system also lets you send and receive payments from other users for free.
Further services include SmartSpend and SmartSave to help you with safer spending and better savings. You can still use PayActiv if your employer is not with the system. But you only get 2 to 4-day faster access to your deposits and not much else.
PayActiv is available for the Android and iOS platforms from versions 5.1 and 11.0 respectively. It currently serves over 4 million users working at over 1,000 businesses.
- Pros: Up to $1,000 advance, financial advisor, credit builder
- Cons: Costs $1 per month
- Website: moneylion.com
MoneyLion is another fintech outfit with lots of value for millions of hard-working Americans. It combines financial advisory services with low or zero fees, loans, investments, and a credit-builder into one app.
It lets you set up a RoarMoney account that helps to get your deposits up to 2 days faster. And after 2 recurring deposits, you qualify for up to $1,000 cash advances with 0% APR.
You can also invest your extra cash through the platform, using auto investing and fully managed portfolios. For downsides, an account costs $1 per month, while the credit-builder feature costs $19.95.
MoneyLion is available for Android phones from version 5.0 and iOS from version 11.0 and later. It has over 1 million downloads on the Play Store with a 4.4-star rating.
- Pros: Financial insights, overdraft alerts, $250 advances
- Cons: Premium features cost $9.99 p. month
- Website: hellobrigit.com
With over 3 million users, the Brigit app is another interesting one, featuring all the functions of modern fintech platforms.
It loans up to $250 without a credit check or interest. Plus, installation and setup take just a few minutes.
Brigit also helps you build your credit and provide insights on your spending habits, bills, and overall budgeting. Then, there is access to job opportunities so you can increase your earning. And overdraft alerts as well.
Usage is free, but if you want instant advances or to build your credit, then it costs $9.99 per month.
The app is rated 4.5 on the Play Store with 1 million+ downloads, and it runs on Android from 4.3 upwards. For iOS, you will need version 12.0 or later, and 11.0 for macOS.
- Pros: Up to $250 advances, 2-day faster deposits, 10% cashback
- Cons: Costs $8 per month
- Website: empower.me
The Empower app offers up to $250 cash advances, and it comes with a card that lets you withdraw freely from over 38,000 ATMs.
It also offers faster paychecks up to 2 days earlier and up to 10% cashback. Plus an automatic savings feature that monitors your account and alerts you when spending limits for a category are reached.
The downside is that Empower costs $8 per month to use. And this is in an industry with many free apps. However, you may find its many personal finance tools helpful, and then it might be worth its cost.
It runs on iOS from version 11.0 upwards and Android 7.0 upwards.
- Pros: Intuitive app, no hidden fees, save, build your credit score
- Cons: $20 initial overdraft
- Website: chime.com
The Chime banking app comes with many benefits, including the zero-fee checking account that requires no minimum balance. It also lets you overdraw up to $200 without fees and get paid up to 2 days early.
Chime offers access to 60,000+ fee-free ATMs and a credit-builder feature that helps you to increase your score for free with regular on-time payments.
Its mobile banking feature also lets you transfer money to friends and family using text messages for free.
Chime is a fintech company partnered with registered banks to offer these services. You will need $500 in deposits to qualify for the free overdrafts though. And they are initially limited to $20, but the limits get eventually raised to $200.
The app has a 4.8-star rating on the App Store and is available for iOS 12+ and macOS 11+. It is rated 4.6 on the Play Store for Android 6+ and has over 10 million installs.
8. Swift Money (UK)
- Pros: A UK offer, up to £3,500
- Cons: High-interest rate
- Website: swiftmoney.com
Swift Money is not like the other cash advance apps on this list that charge little to no fees. It is a traditional payday loan operator, but only here because it is available for UK residents.
You should note that this service is not like modern fintech apps with instant loan options. It is not even an app, but a website. But if you are in the UK and need some quick cash, then you might appreciate it.
9. MoneyTap (India)
- Pros: Available in India, flexible terms, no collateral
- Cons: No fancy features
- Website: moneytap.com
Like the Swift Money offer above, MoneyTap is a personal loan service for India. It offers loans from 3,000 INR up to 500,000 INR, with interest rates starting from 13% per annum.
Unlike Swift Money, however, MoneyTap is available as an app. The service works with regulated Indian banks and needs neither collateral nor guarantor to lend money.
For downsides, you will not find any of the ingenious community and fintech features that most apps above come with. But it is still a great option if you are in India and need quick cash.
Coming to the end of this instant loan apps list, you have also explored the best fintech platforms with payroll advances and other great features.
As we are all different, so too are our needs. Therefore, there can be no single best app. Rather, it is up to you to choose the platform that can best meet your needs.