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Saving money and maintaining control over our finances are goals many of us share. We’re constantly encouraged to be putting money away for a rainy day, but unfortunately, this isn’t always an option. More and more people find themselves living paycheck-to-paycheck and sometimes the month is simply too long.
When unexpected expenses crop up and payday isn’t for another week, what can be done? You might find yourself overdrawing your checking account relying on a credit card that charges very high interest. Or you might be considering a payday loan, with even higher interest rates and hidden charges. These kinds of loans are extremely dangerous and can be detrimental to your credit score and overall finances.
Before indebting yourself to the mercy of the loan sharks, consider the apps listed in this article, which may be able to offer you alternative solutions to your financial worries.
Many of these apps enable users to access small advances on their paychecks prior to payday. This kind of borrowing is in no way to be encouraged, but the truth of the matter is that with over 23,000 payday lenders in the US alone, more and more vulnerable people are falling prey to their high costs and as a result, are finding themselves buried in debt they’re unable to get out of.
If you find yourself looking into payday loans or credit cards as a way of tackling your expenses before payday, look to these apps for another way of temporarily bypassing financial emergencies. Of course, you must go into any money lending situation with your eyes wide open, fully aware of all terms and conditions, and with a clear pay-back plan. Don’t view these apps as free extra money, view them as a security cushion in times of need. They should be a backup option only when necessary, not something that is relied on each pay period.
Apps That Allow You To Get Paid Early
Earnin allows users to access small amounts of their paycheck before payday. The limit is $100 per day and comes with no additional costs or fees. You’re required to link your bank account and fill out some basic details about your current job. The funds that you borrow through Earnin will be automatically redeemed from your bank account on your next payday.
Signing up for the app is quick and easy. Once you’ve linked your bank account and your employer, you’re good to go. It’s worth noting that Earnin isn’t available to remote workers. To use the app you will need a specific working location. The app will ask to track your location to ensure that you are in fact going to work.
Because Earnin doesn’t have any required fees or charges, this is a good option for those that live paycheck-to-paycheck and have found themselves with some unexpected emergency expenses prior to payday. This kind of borrowing isn’t ideal and can quickly lead to out of control debt if you’re not careful. This risk is minimized though given that Earnin will automatically deduct the borrowed amounts from your bank account on payday, ensuring you’re never in the red for too long.
Dave also offers a service through which users can access advances on their regular paycheck. They also don’t charge any interest or credit fees, however, they do operate a paid membership-only service. Membership costs only $1 per month which isn’t a lot, but it is more than Earnin and some of the other apps listed here.
New users should also be aware that Dave will only allow the borrowing of $100 at one time. Until this is repaid in full, no more advances will be available. Like Earnin, Dave will automatically deduct the borrowed amount from your bank account on payday.
It seems that the purpose of Dave is less so to cover emergency costs or bills, and more so to minimize costly overdraft fees. $100 may seem like a low withdrawal limit, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Having that limit in place means you won’t end up with a high amount of debt accumulating over the month, in a vicious cycle of overspending and struggling to pay off your borrowed amounts.
With MoneyLion, you can access up to $250 in cash advances. The app enables you to link your primary bank account and employment details. You will also need to prove that your account has a positive balance and that you are making regular deposits. After this, you’ll need to be a MoneyLion member for a minimum of two months before you are able to request a cash advance.
The sign-up process is slightly more complicated and time-consuming than that of the aforementioned apps, however, MoneyLion does offer a wide plethora of other financial services.
With the MoneyLion app, you can access mobile banking services, their credit building service which assists you in improving your credit score, and their no-fee investment service. Overall MoneyLion is a helpful app to have if you’re looking into financial planning and improving your financial situation.
Their Insta Cash service is a nice security cushion in case you find yourself in an emergency situation that requires instant cash before payday, as long as it is used sensibly.
Another interest-free cash advance provider, Brigit offers a good alternative to high-interest payday loans. Limits are based on your individual circumstances and earnings, with most users able to borrow anything from $80 to $250.
The big catch with Brigit, however, is that use of this service requires a membership subscription, which will set you back $9.99 every month. This is likely to be off-putting for many prospective members, given that there are so many free apps offering very similar services. If money is already tight and you find yourself living paycheck-to-paycheck, signing up for a paid subscription service might not be top of your agenda.
Brigit is a fairly new company, so they’re not yet listed on Better Business Bureau. The terms and conditions are pretty clear and they seem to be open about their privacy settings and the data they store. They’re all pretty standard but make sure to familiarize yourself with these if you’re considering signing up.
If you’re looking for a new banking app, Chime might be a good option for you. They offer a range of banking services including their checking account, savings account, and credit card, all accessible and manageable through one app.
Here we will look at Chime’s checking account specifically. The account requires no minimum balance and comes with no additional fees. As well as other perks, the account also comes along with their Get Paid Early program. This allows users to access their paychecks up to two days before your regular payday.
This isn’t classed as borrowing, since Chime simply makes the money available to you as soon as it is deposited by your employer, instead of waiting for the specific payday. Recently, more and more banking apps have begun offering this service, but not ordinarily with zero fees as is found with Chime.
If you’d like the option of receiving your paycheck early, without the risk of finding yourself indebted to your bank account or lender, Chime might be a good option for you.
DailyPay essentially allows employees to choose when they want to be paid. Using their app, employees can access their earned wages at any time for a fee. With DailyPay, you’re not borrowing money against your paycheck, you’re simply withdrawing your earnings early.
To gain access to DailyPay, your employer will need to be partnered with them. You can check this using the DailyPay website, or by checking with your employer. Once they’ve signed up you’re free to register and begin using the DailyPay app.
Because you’re not borrowing money by using DailyPay, it’s a good way of tackling any financial emergencies without finding yourself owing money to an external lender. However, as always it’s incredibly important to maintain management of your finances so that you’re budgeting effectively and leaving yourself a sufficient amount to last the pay period.
FlexWage partners with employers to provide employees early access to their earnings, should they need it. In order to gain access to the service, you will need a link from your employer, this link will direct you to an enrollment form which is to be completed. Upon completion, you will receive a specific FlexWage debit card, on to which your funds can be transferred.
FlexWage is only accessible to those whose employers are partnered with the service, and fees for early deposits depend on your employer and will be deducted from your paycheck. Once the FlexWage Pay Card has been activated, it can be used just as you would a regular debit card.
Like Chime, Current is a mobile banking app offering users the option to receive their paycheck up to two days earlier than their regular payday. With their checking account, direct deposits are available to access as soon as they have been deposited by your employer, often two days before payday.
To access this feature, amongst others, you will need to pay a fee of $4.99, however, they do offer a 30-day trial period. The account comes with various other financial services such as an interest-free overdraft up to $100. This might be a good way of avoiding costly fees but borrowing of any kind should be done with caution and a good deal of planning.
PayActiv offers a range of financial management services through its app. They claim that their focus lies not on lending, but on enabling their users to manage their finances effectively. Offering services geared towards streamlining outgoings and reducing overall spending.
They do, however, also offer their users access to up to 50% of their earned wages prior to payday. This amount is considerably higher than many other apps of this kind. This might be viewed as a positive thing, offering users more freedom and financial security on a short term basis. It might also be considered negative, encouraging users to borrow higher amounts which they may struggle to pay back.
PayActiv is available all over the US, but only to those whose employers are signed up and enrolled in the service. Employees can sign up using a unique login ID provided through their employer and are free to begin using the service for a fee of anywhere between $0 and $5, dependent on the amount being borrowed.
Branch gives users access to advances on their earnings free of charge and with no membership costs. In terms of eligibility, you’ll need to work in a ‘traditional’ workspace, meaning no remote working. You’ll also need to have spending habits that Branch do not consider to be too high, and proof of two consecutive months in which your checking account received direct deposits.
Requests can be made for wage advances using the Branch app, and are ordinarily paid quickly and without any fees, although if you need the deposit within the hour, you can opt to pay a small fee to speed things up.
Alternatives For When You Need Money Quickly
If the idea of borrowing against your paycheck is not one that appeals to you, you could consider different ways of earning money quickly and through legitimate means. Here are some options:
Sell Stuff You Don’t Need
The internet makes selling unwanted items incredibly easy. Selling apps like eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace provide opportunities for everyday people to sell items they no longer want or need. Listing the items is quick and easy, and you might find that some of your neglected possessions are worth a nice sum of extra cash.
Looking for some ideas? See What Can I Sell?
Possibly not for the faint of heart or those with a fear of needles, but donating blood plasma is an excellent way of earning some extra money while making an extremely valuable contribution to healthcare services and medical research.
Prices will vary depending on your state and the lab or medical center you donate through, but the average donor earns around $30-$40 per session and can donate as much as twice per week. If you like the idea of potentially helping to save a life or assist in vital medical research, have a look into the basic requirements and consider donating your plasma.
To learn more, please read Get Paid to Donate Plasma.
Side Hustles With Instant Pay
Like selling your old items and possessions, selling your services or time is equally profitable.
Whether you’re able to rake leaves, clean homes, offer decorating services, gardening, babysitting, or any other service, the chances are someone will pay you to do it. Advertising your services on Facebook groups, Craigslist, and within your local area are great ways of gaining clients and earning money fast while helping out in your local community.
Borrowing money is never an ideal situation, and it’s not one that most of us like to find ourselves in. Nonetheless, it’s a reality that many of us face, and it has to be dealt with sensibly and efficiently.
If you stay on top of your financial planning and devise a clear realistic plan for paying back the money you borrow from these apps, they could be a good addition to your financial strategy, acting as a security measure for use in the event of emergencies only.
If borrowing money is not for you, you can also consider quick-paying jobs or side hustles. This article lists just a few options, there are in fact many side hustle ideas that require little effort and can help to alleviate your financial troubles.