5 Paycheck Advance Apps to Help You Get Paid Early

Quick Answer

Some of the best paycheck advance apps offer emergency cash when you need it. Options include Earnin, Dave, MoneyLion, Chime and Brigit.

A woman walking outside smiles as she looks at her phone.

Paycheck advance apps, or early payday apps, can help you out when you're in a pinch and payday is still days away. Not all of these services are created equal, however, and some only work if your employer sponsors the program.

Early payday apps typically don't require a credit check and also charge relatively low fees, making them a cheaper alternative to payday loans and other short-term borrowing options. That said, they only provide a short-term solution to financial hardship, and it's best to avoid relying on them regularly. Here are five of the top paycheck advance apps and what they offer.

1. Chime

  • Advance amount: Up to $200
  • Fees: None, though you can pay a voluntary tip
  • Funding time: Instant
  • Repayment: Your next deposit

On paper, Chime's advance service is a form of overdraft protection, and you have to have a Chime account to use it. You can overdraw your account by up to $200 with no fee using the financial institution's SpotMe feature. Simply make a debit card purchase, and you'll be covered. The negative balance will be subtracted from your next deposit into the account.

Chime's checking account also offers automatic withdrawals to your Chime savings account, instant and fee-free peer-to-peer transfers to friends and family members, and a credit-builder secured credit card that doesn't require a credit check or an upfront security deposit and charges no interest or annual fees.

2. MoneyLion

  • Advance amount: Up to $1,000
  • Fees: No fee for regular delivery; $0.99 to $7.99 for faster transfers
  • Funding time: Within five business days with an external account, within 24 to 48 hours with a RoarMoney account, or within minutes or hours if you pay extra for faster delivery
  • Repayment: One installment on your repayment date, which is provided when you request your advance

MoneyLion allows you to get up to $250 in instant advances when you link a checking account. If you want more, you'll need to open a RoarMoney account, which works like a checking account, and accept recurring direct deposits. Opening a RoarMoney account will also give you access to faster funding times and lower fees if you want faster delivery of the funds.

In addition to advances and a banking account, MoneyLion also offers debit card rewards, a credit-builder loan, an automated investing service and a cryptocurrency platform.

3. Earnin

  • Advance amount: Up to $500
  • Fees: No fee, though you can provide a voluntary tip; $1.99 to $3.99 for faster transfers
  • Funding time: One to three business days, or instantly if you pay a fee
  • Repayment: One installment on payday

Earnin offers the chance to get free paycheck advances with no monthly fee or advance fee. That said, you will need to pay a small fee if you want instant access to your funds. When you first start using the app, you'll be capped at $100 per pay period, but that limit could be raised to $500 if you continue to use the app.

If you use the app enough, you may be invited to Earnin Express, which offers early access to as much as 80% of your paycheck or $1,000, whichever is less. The app will also connect to your bank account and provide alerts when your balance is low and a "balance shield" advance to keep your account from going negative.

4. Dave

  • Advance amount: Up to $250
  • Fees: $1 monthly membership fee; $1.99 to $5.99 for express transfers
  • Funding time: Within three business days or within eight hours if you pay for an express transfer
  • Repayment: One installment on payday or the date you selected in the app, whichever is later

Dave offers free cash advances but charges a $1 monthly membership. If you're in a bind and need money fast, you can pay the express transfer fee or potentially wait up to three business days to get your money. The app also offers a spending account feature that functions similarly to a checking account and allows you to access your paycheck up to two days early if you set up direct deposit.

The Dave Spending account charges no overdraft fees and also partners with LevelCredit to report your rent and utility payments to the major credit bureaus.

5. Brigit

  • Advance amount: Up to $250
  • Fees: $9.99 per month
  • Funding time: Within three days; instant funding is available if you add a debit card to your account
  • Repayment: One installment on your repayment date, which is provided when you request your advance

When you have a Brigit account, you can get advances of $50 to $250 based on your recurring deposits and past expenses. Once your maximum advance amount is locked in, it can't be changed. For Brigit's $9.99 monthly fee, instant transfers and auto advances when you're at risk of an overdraft are included. You'll also get access to your VantageScore® credit score and other resources to help you manage your money.

The app also offers a credit-builder loan and reports all of your payments to the three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax).

Alternatives to Early Payday Apps

Paycheck advance apps aren't always the best option, and it's important to know what alternatives you have. If you need more time to repay a debt, want more money or need a more long-term solution, here are some potential options:

  • Loan from a family member or friend: If you have a loved one you can trust, you may be able to get a short-term loan from them. Just make sure you repay promptly to avoid damaging the relationship.
  • Personal loan: Personal loans can offer larger loan amounts and give you between one and seven years to repay the debt, depending on your situation.
  • Credit card with a 0% APR introductory promotion: Many credit cards offer an introductory 0% APR on new purchases, giving you anywhere between six and 21 months to repay the debt interest-free.
  • Earn more money: There are many different opportunities to make more money that can provide you with more consistent income than these other alternatives.

Take your time to shop around and compare each option to determine the best fit for your current needs and your ability to pay over time.

Also, make sure you prioritize monitoring your credit to know where you stand and to take action to improve it when necessary, so you'll have more affordable financing options.