If you need money but can’t get access to it quickly enough, you could find your financial situation quickly getting out of hand.
This sentiment is especially true if you don’t have any emergency funds saved up and live paycheck to paycheck. Something as innocuous as an unexpected medical bill could put a hole in your budget and spiral your finances out of control.
Payday loans are indeed available for your use (and you can also set the expense on your credit card or a personal loan), but these options typically have very high-interest rates that will cost you a lot in the long run.
One way to solve this issue is to use money-borrowing apps. These apps can help you get out of financial trouble when you’re in a cinch and offer decent interest rates so that you don’t need to worry about digging yourself deeper into the debt hole.
These apps should only be used as a last resort. Hopefully, you have other options to fund an emergency situation, though we know that isn’t the reality for everyone.
This post will cover some of the best money borrowing apps on the market today in case you find yourself needing money in a pinch.
What is a Money Borrowing App?
Before getting into some of the best apps to help you in times of financial need, it’s essential to understand what a money-borrowing app is.
A money borrowing app is a type of service that lets you borrow a small amount of money from your next paycheck before you receive it. These apps can be beneficial if you need cash for an emergency or can’t make necessary payments like groceries due to money constraints.
Many of them don’t even do a credit check on your credit score and allow you to borrow money at low rates. Some of them even allow you to build credit with the major credit bureaus.
How money borrowing apps differ from payday loans is how the lender charges fees. You pay a percentage of the borrowed money in interest rate for payday loans and credit cards.
On the other hand, most money-borrowing apps charge you via a monthly subscription fee, an annual fee, or an expedited funding fee. In addition, money borrowing apps serve as excellent payday loan alternatives when you’re short on cash.
Most money-borrowing apps connect directly to your bank account so that you don’t need to do any work transferring around funds, and money will just be taken out of your account when you get paid next.
The 7 Best Money Borrowing Apps
Between short-term money borrowing apps that are entirely free and earn money solely on tips to more sophisticated apps with a more robust fee schedule, you’re sure to find an app on this list that can benefit your financial situation. Here are the seven best money-borrowing apps on the market today.
Earnin is one of the only money-borrowing apps that you can use entirely for “free.” This paycheck advance app allows you to easily borrow against your next paycheck without needing to pay any transaction fees or interest payments. As long as you have a regular job in which your employer deposits your salary directly into your bank account, you can sign up for Earnin.
As soon as you sign up with Earnin, the payday advance app will connect to your bank account and start verifying your payment schedule. While it confirms your payment schedule, it will also determine how much your take-home pay is. Then, the app will track your hours at work based on your phone’s GPS or an uploaded timesheet so that it knows roughly how much your take-home amount of money is.
Using Earnin, you are allowed to withdraw money that you have earned but has not yet entered your bank account. Then, on your next payday, once your next paycheck hits your bank, Earnin will automatically take away the amount you borrowed from your account.
At first, you will only be allowed to withdraw up to $100, but over time you can withdraw up to $500 at a time. It typically takes up to two business days for your money to come through unless you sign up for Earnin’s lightning speed feature.
The best part about Earnin is that there is no fee associated with the service. However, you can support the app through tips if it has helped you at all.
Dave is an app designed for people worried about overdraft fees or who don’t want to go into the red on their bank accounts. You can use Dave to help cover some of your short-term expenses while you wait for your next paycheck.
One cool feature of Dave is that it connects to your bank account and looks for potential overdraft risks for you. It will give you low balance alerts and a warning when it finds trouble, and you’ll have the opportunity to move funds over from Dave to your bank account.
You can borrow anywhere from $5 to $100 if you’re a regular Dave user. If you have a Dave spending account, the upper threshold increases to $200.
Though the Dave app charges a few fees, it says they are all optional. These include a $1 subscription fee (that you can opt out of in the app) and a small fee if you want to get your money faster (again, totally optional). There is no official monthly membership fee, and, like Earnin, you have the option to tip Dave if you find that it has been helpful to your financial situation.
Differing slightly from the previous two money borrowing apps, Brigit is more of a budgeting tool that also offers cash advances to help you stretch your funds even further in times of need.
To successfully use Brigit, you must have a checking account with an active history of at least 60 days. On top of that, your account must be positive and have three direct deposits from your current employer. Once you set up your account, you can request a loan with your upcoming paycheck as collateral.
Depending on how much money you make, you could get an advance of up to $250. One unique feature of Brigit is that it will automatically transfer money to your account once it realizes you’re in danger of going into overdraft territory.
The membership to Brigit is free, but if you want to have access to all the features, you’ll need to pay a subscription fee of $9.99 per month.
Current is a mobile cash advance app that serves as a short-term checking account for when you need liquidity. With Current, you’ll be able to get paid a whole two days earlier! Getting your money two days early might not seem like a lot, but it can help if you’re in a situation where you need cash fast and want to get your paycheck ahead of time.
Also, with Current, you can overdraft your account by $100 completely free of charge. To access all of the available features, you’ll need to pay $4.99, but there is a 30-day free trial in which you can decide whether or not Current is worth continuing. Also, Current offers a free version of the account that includes plenty of valuable features.
If you have a Chime Spending Account, you can use Chime’s SpotMe feature as overdraft protection. This protection can cover you for up to $100 before you need to pay any overdraft fees.
To qualify for Chime, you need to have at least $200 in qualifying direct deposits going into your account every month to be eligible for SpotMe. The limit for the SpotMe is $20 – $200. When you first set up an account, your limit will be $20, and then the limit will slowly increase as your account activity increases.
The withdrawal speed is also quite impressive as the Chime builds the overdraw into your account, so you will have funds available as soon as you need them.
Chime doesn’t charge any money for this service and instead employs a tip model to earn money.
If you are working with multiple financial products, setting up a MoneyLion account could be wise.
The MoneyLion app offers financial tracking, a mobile bank, and cash advances up to $250. As long as you have a qualifying checking account, you can enroll in Instacash advance.
However, if you need your funds quickly and don’t have a MoneyLion account, you will need to pay a small fee. With the cash advance, MoneyLion won’t require you to pay any money, but MoneyLion does give you the option to provide a tip if you want.
The amount of money you can get is anywhere from $25 to $250, although MoneyLion only allows MoneyLion checking account customers to have access to the highest amounts. If you want instant delivery of funds, you’ll need to pay a fee of around $4 – $5.
MoneyLion will automatically charge your account the next time you receive a paycheck. If there are insufficient funds, MoneyLion will continue to try withdrawing from your account. If the payment is more than five days late, you will need to pay an additional late fee.
Branch is an app that aims to get you your money faster, regardless of what kind of money. So whether you’ve earned wages, tips, or even mileage reimbursements, Branch is here to make your financial life simpler.
Branch is a free digital wallet that lets your company pay you in advance. Your employer can push out funds to your faster (as fast as the same day or same shift), and you can also use Branch to request a pay advance.
If you want to use your funds in your Branch account, you can pay to have a physical card shipped to you or use their virtual debit card to connect to Google Pay or Apple Pay.
Cash Advance App Alternatives
Though some cash advance apps let you borrow money instantly (as fast as the next business day), it’s wise to compare all your options before going from a loan to an app.
A personal loan can often beat out the rates from these money-borrowing apps. Plus, even a small personal loan typically lets you take out more money than any of these apps will.
A credit card may also offer lower rates than cash advance apps for short-term money needs. For example, if you can get an introductory rate on a credit card convenience check, the rate may be significantly lower than a cash app.
If you happen to hold cryptocurrency but don’t want to sell it to meet a short-term cash need, you can borrow money using your crypto as collateral. Exchanges like Coinbase and Crytpo.com will lend up to 50% of your cryptocurrency value at competitive rates with no credit check.
Another option for borrowing against your own money is to employ the infinite banking concept, a system where you borrow from the funds held in a life insurance policy.
Beyond Borrowing Money
There is no better way to ensure you have enough money than by managing your finances well in the first place.
I use Quicken Home & Business to track my finances, and I recommend it to anyone. Be sure to research Personal Capital vs. Quicken to do some comparison shopping.
I would also suggest you start planning for future financial problems now. Build up an emergency fund and follow a thoughtful financial planning process to help maintain reasonable cash reserves.
Another tip for keeping your finances in good standing is to make more money! As the saying goes, the best defense is a good offense.
So consider starting a side hustle to generate more income and cash in on the tax breaks. Or try a couple of the go-to online income options like Survey Junkie or iBotta.
If you create a consistent, income-producing side hustle, I advise learning how to incorporate yourself. With this one simple move, you can save even more on taxes and protect your assets.
Recap: Best Money Borrowing Apps
One of the more convenient ways to ensure constant financial flexibility is to use money-borrowing apps. They allow you to get instant cash advances to avoid immediate financial setbacks.
This post has covered some of the best borrow money apps on the market today. Some take as fast as three business days to deliver your money, and for most, there is no credit check required to use their app.
It’s also important to remember that borrowing money is not a long-term financial fix. Therefore, the use of high-interest short-term loans should be a last resort.
This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.
Joe DiSanto is a fractional CFO and consultant for small businesses and high-income individuals. Throughout his career in Los Angeles, he built multi-million dollar businesses, produced critically acclaimed documentaries and an Emmy-winning TV show, invested millions in real estate, and semi-retired at age 43. He now helps others achieve their career and wealth goals by sharing a lifetime of fiscal know-how via his website, Play Louder.