Many or all companies we feature compensate us. Compensation and editorial research influence how products appear on a page. Personal Loans Apps That Let You Borrow Money Instantly Updated Dec 06, 2023   |   8-min read Written by Jerry Brown Written by Jerry Brown Expertise: Credit, debt management, personal loans, student loans Jerry Brown is a freelance personal finance writer who lives in New Orleans. He covers a range of personal finance topics, including credit, personal loans, and student loans. Learn more about Jerry Brown Reviewed by Eric Kirste, CFP® Reviewed by Eric Kirste, CFP® Expertise: Debt management, tax planning, college planning, retirement planning, insurance planning, estate planning, investment planning, budgeting, comprehensive financial planning Eric Kirste CFP®, CIMA®, AIF®, is a founding principal wealth manager for Savvy Wealth. Eric brings 22 years of wealth management experience working with clients, families, and their businesses, and serving in different leadership capacities. Learn more about Eric Kirste, CFP® When you need money to tide you over until the next payday, borrowing money from a loan app is one solution. Although not ideal for regular use since fees can quickly add up, they can provide instant cash to cover emergencies. If you decide to use a loan app, comparing the costs of several lending platforms can help you find an option that best fits your budget. We’ll cover some of the best options and alternative financing solutions like personal loans. Table of Contents Skip to Section How do loan apps for instant money work?Pros and cons of apps that let you borrow money7 cash advance apps for borrowing moneyAlternatives to considerFAQ How do loan apps for instant money work? You typically download a cash-advance app from the Google Play or Apple Store and connect your checking account. The account you link generally needs to have recurring direct deposits. Afterward, you can request to borrow a lump sum of money for a short period in exchange for a fee, usually until your next paycheck arrives. The company then withdraws the money from your linked bank account when it’s due. Pros and cons of apps that let you borrow money Before you use a loan app, it’s important to weigh the pros against the cons. Pros Fast access to cash Loan apps can provide immediate access to funds. Though some charge a fee for expedited funding, it can be beneficial if you need money for an emergency expense. No credit check Many loan apps don’t require a credit check for approval, meaning your credit score won’t be affected. Convenience You can apply from anywhere worldwide as long as you have an Internet connection. Cons Fees Fees can add up quickly, especially if you use apps often to borrow money. Not a long-term solution Using cash advance apps too much can lead to a cycle of debt. Short repayment terms Loan apps provide less flexible repayment terms than other financial products like personal loans. When considering an instant-money app, it’s also important to evaluate why you’re in the situation in the first place so you can avoid it in the future. Ask the expert Eric Kirste CFP® Having frequent cash draws from short-term borrowing sources implies a bigger need to do cash flow funding. Are you spending too much? Are there ways to manage spending? Or, are there other concerns or items that need to be addressed in your overall cash flow? 7 cash advance apps for borrowing money The seven apps below allow you to borrow money instantly. Here’s a breakdown showing how they stack up against each other in terms of loan amounts, funding speed, and fees. AppLoan amountsStandard speed of fundsFastest funding available/feeEarnInUp to $100 per day, $750 per pay period1 – 3 daysInstant, $1.99 – $4.99BrigitUp to $2502 – 3 daysInstant, $0.99 – $3.99MoneylionUp to $500Up to 5 daysInstant, $0.49 – $8.99ChimeUp to $200 in overdraft protection InstantReceive paycheck up to 2 days early, no feeAlbertUp to $2501 – 3 daysInstant, unspecified feeDaveUp to $5002 – 3 daysInstant, $1.99 – $13.99EmpowerUp to $2501 dayInstant, $1 – $8 EarnIn Learn more Best for large cash advance amounts Borrow up to $750/pay periodStandard speed of funds: 1 – 3 daysInstant cash for a fee EarnIn is a a fintech company that offers the largest cash advance amount on our list. You can borrow up to $750 each pay period. That said, the maximum amount you can borrow fluctuates based on various factors, like your spending behavior, repayment history, and paycheck amount. Amounts: Up to $100 per day, $750 per pay periodRepayment: EarnIn withdraws the money you borrowed from its app on your next payday.Funding time without fee: 1 to 3 daysFastest funding available/fee: Instant, $1.99 to $4.99Other fees: None What’s the overall cost? Borrowing $200 over 14 days and paying a $4.99 fee means a total borrowing costs of $204.99. The APR on this loan would be 65.05%. Brigit Learn more Best for access to budgeting and credit tools Borrow up to $250Standard funding time: 2 – 3 daysYou must pay a membership fee Brigit is an app that can help you manage your finances with various budgeting tools and financial wellness tips. You get access to those features for free but have to pay a monthly membership fee for cash advances up to $250 and other benefits like credit monitoring and credit-builder loans. Amounts: Up to $250Repayment: Withdrawn from your account on a specified due date or a date you choose if you extend itFunding time without fee: 2 to 3 daysFastest funding available/fee: Instant, $0.99Other fees: $9.99 monthly membership fee What’s the overall cost? If you borrow $100 from Brigit and pay $9.99 a month for a membership, your total cost would be $111.98 including the $.99 instant fee. This is equivalent to an APR of 624.67%. MoneyLion Learn more Best for existing MoneyLion customers Amounts up to $500, but if you have another account with Moneylion, you can access a $1,000 cash advance amountFunding time up to 5 days or instant with a fee MoneyLion is a fintech platform that offers various financial products, such as credit-builder loans, savings accounts, and cash advances up to $500. Amounts: Up to $500Repayment: Withdrawn from your bank account on a date MoneyLion predicts your next direct deposit will occurFunding time without fee: Up to 5 daysFastest funding available/fee: Instant, $0.49 to $8.99Other fees: None What’s the overall cost? If you take out an advance on your paycheck of $200, pay an $8.99 fast funding fee, and repay the loan in seven days, that equates to a 117.19% APR. Chime Learn more Best for those with Chime bank accounts with regular deposits SpotMe feature allows customers to overdraw their accounts by up to $200 without a feeFunding is instantThe overdrawn amount is deducted from your next paycheck Chime’s SpotMe feature allows customers with $200 in monthly qualifying deposits to overdraw their accounts by up to $200 without paying an overdraft fee. While this service is free to use, Chime’s allows you to leave a tip after paying off your overdrawn balance. Amounts: Up to $200Repayment: Chime deducts your overdrawn amount from your next paycheck Funding time without fee: InstantFastest funding available/fee: Instant, freeOther fees: None What’s the overall cost? The overall cost of this option is $0 since there’s no required fee. Albert Learn more Best for those who need a higher overdraft amount than Chime Allows you to overdraft your Albert Cash account by $250You must pay a fee for immediate access to funds Albert is a fintech company that offers banking, savings, and investment products. If you have an Albert’s Cash account, you’re allowed to overdraft your account by up to $250. It works similarly to Chime, but you have to pay a fee for immediate access to funds. Amounts: $250Repayment: Amount deducted from next depositFunding time without fee: 1 to 3 daysFastest funding available/fee: Instant, for a feeOther fees: None What’s the overall cost? If you overdraw $200, repay the balance over 14, and pay a $5 fee for an instant transfer, that translates to an APR of 52.14%. Dave Learn more Best for those wanting to build positive credit history Borrow up to $500An account and $1 monthly subscription fee is requiredReports repayment to the three major credit bureaus You can borrow up to $500 through the Dave app. To qualify, you must open an Extra Cash advance account and pay a $1 monthly subscription fee. Depending on your loan amount, it costs up to $13.99 for instant transfers. Dave could be a good solution for customers who want to build positive credit history, as it reports payments to the three major credit agencies. Amounts: Up to $500Repayment: Withdrawn from your account on your next payday or the closest Friday to when you borrowed moneyFunding time without fee: 2 to 3 daysFastest funding available/fee: Instant, $1.99 to $13.99Other fees: $1 a month membership fee What’s the overall cost? If you borrow $250 from Dave and pay a $10.99 express fee to transfer it to an external bank account, your total borrowing costs would be $261.99 including the $1 membership fee. That equates to an APR of 125.04% based on a 7-day repayment period. Empower Learn more Best for customers who want to save money and build good credit No fees or interest for cash advance, but requires an $8 monthly subscriptionAccess to credit monitoring and automatic savings tool Empower cash advances come with no late fees and interest, but you have to pay $8 for a monthly subscription fee. This fee gives you access to other perks, such as credit monitoring and an automatic savings tool. The standard funding time takes a day, but you have to pay up to $8 for immediate funding. Amounts: Up to $250Repayment: Withdrawn from your bank account a date Empower predicts is your next pay dateFunding time without fee: 1 dayFastest funding available/fee: Instant, $1 to $8Other fees: $8 monthly membership fee What’s the overall cost? If you borrow $250 for seven days and pay an $8 instant transfer fee, your total borrowing costs would be $266, including the $8 monthly membership fee. That translates to an APR of 417.14%. Alternatives to consider If you don’t think borrowing cash from a loan app is the right move for you, consider the following alternatives. Personal loans A personal loan from a bank, credit union, or online lender may be a better option if you need to borrow a large amount and spread payments over a longer timeframe. Loan amounts vary by lender but generally range from as low as $1,000 to as high as $100,000 or more. 0% APR credit card If you have a good credit score, you might qualify for a card with a 0% APR offer that allows you to avoid interest during a specific period. But remember that once the promotion ends, the card’s standard rate will kick in, and you’ll have to pay interest on any remaining balance. Family and friends loan Though asking a family member or friend to borrow money can be difficult, they may be willing to give you more favorable terms than a traditional lender or loan app. If you find someone willing to lend you money, repay it as promised to avoid causing a possible rift in your relationship. Ask the expert Eric Kirste CFP® The borrowing apps may be easy, but they are an expensive source of very short term funding. It would be more cost effective to work with a bank or if you’re borrowing a smaller amount, looking into a 0% credit card option. Any option should be reviewed with alternatives based on cost and the length of time you need the funds for. FAQ Are instant money apps like payday loans? Instant money apps are technically not payday loans since the same laws do not regulate them. However, similar to payday loans, some apps charge high fees, which may translate into sky-high APRs. Is a direct deposit required for cash advance apps? Some cash advance apps like Bridget and MoneyLion require direct deposits, while others don’t. How secure are these instant money-borrowing apps? Reputable loan apps generally have security measures to protect your personal and banking information. For example, when you connect your bank account to MoneyLion, the transaction is handled by Plaid, a fintech company that uses encryption tools to secure digital transactions. What happens if you can’t repay on time? Cash advance apps may automatically withdraw money from your bank account when payment is due. Your bank may charge you an overdraft fee if you don’t have enough cash in your account to repay the loan amount. Do these apps affect your credit score? The answer depends on the loan app. Earnin doesn’t require a credit check and doesn’t report payments to the three major credit agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. However, Dave reports payments: on-time payments can help build your score, while missed payments can hurt it.