We often think of payday loans as the place to turn to for quick cash. However, that’s not always the best option. In fact, payday loans have extremely high-interest rates and it’s easy to get trapped in a cycle of crushing debt.
What if you could access money quickly, without the pain of those loans? Thanks to innovative technology, you can. Here are 9 apps for cash loans that serve as payday loan alternatives.
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Find the Best Personal Loan for You
The idea behind Earnin is that you should be able to access your pay whenever you’ve done the work. You give Earnin information about where you work and connect your bank account. When you’re at work, Earnin keeps track of your hours so you can cash out when you need to.
Once you get your actual paycheck, Earnin deducts the money you’ve already taken from the paycheck. The best part about Earnin? It doesn’t have to cost you anything. The app doesn’t charge fees or interest. You can choose to add a tip to help support the company, but there are no fees required.
Read our full Earnin review
Rather than marketing to consumers, DailyPay starts with marketing to employers. However, the app works similar to Earnin. Employees build a balance with each hour they work. They can then tap into that balance before payday if they need access to cash.
DailyPay puts the money into the bank, and then, on payday, the amount already cashed out is taken from the paycheck. DailyPay charges a fee to transfer money from your hours-worked balance into your bank, though. However, it’s a low $1.25 per transfer.
In addition to being able to access earned wages before payday, PayActiv users also get help with financial counseling. The app has a platform designed to be more than a payday loan alternative, even allowing users to pay their bills and get prescription discounts.
PayActiv even has a debit card attached to the account so you can access your money quickly and easily–with fraud protection. Cost is often subsidized by employers, but employees might pay a flat fee to access their money early, up to $5.
Like the other payday loan alternatives mentioned, FlexWage works to help employees access their earned wages on demand. Part of the reason that these apps for cash loans are gaining in popularity is because they reduce employee financial stress. Plus, employers don’t have to worry about the administration hassles that come with payroll advances.
FlexWage also offers reloadable payroll debit cards for employees who usually get paper checks. This can be helpful for workers who are unbanked and can’t accept direct deposit. There are some fees, including $5 for on-demand wage transfer, and using the debit card can result in fees, but overall it’s much less costly than payday loans.
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If you’re looking for an interesting alternative to regularly banking and fast cash, MoneyLion is something new. It’s a membership banking relationship that allows you access to financial services like a bank–but without some of the hassles.
MoneyLion offers cash back rewards, no-fee checking services, managed investing, and more. You can also get what they call a “Credit Builder” loan at 5.99% APR. It’s a quick $500 available for those with poor credit. MoneyLion also offers 0% APR Instacash up to $250 ahead of payday.
You can get a free account, which includes the Instacash advance, or you can get a PLUS account. It costs $29 per month, but you get a dollar added to your investment account each day when you log into the app, so it more than makes up for it.
Just like your friend Dave, who’s always good to spot you a little extra cash, this payday loan alternative can give you a little extra money ahead of payday.
Dave is an app that helps you plan your expenses. The app will analyze your spending, identify bills, and let you know when you have upcoming costs. Alerts let you know that your upcoming bill could mean an overdraft. On top of that, you can get a 0% APR advance of up to $75 until payday–no credit check required. Dave puts the money in your account and then deducts it when you get paid.
It does cost $1 a month for a Dave membership, but if you can avoid overdraft fees and payday loan interest rates, it might be worth it for you.
7. Rainy Day Lending
Rainy Day isn’t a lender, and it doesn’t offer wage advances. Instead, this app for cash loans offers you the chance to find a personal loan quickly. All credit types are accepted, and it’s possible to have money deposited directly into your account the next business day.
APRs vary according to the loan that you’re matched up with. However, in many cases, you’re still going to come out ahead when you consider the cost of insufficient fund fees, overdraft charges, and payday loan interest rates.
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Similar to Rainy Day Lending, LoanSolo connects you with lenders willing to work with you. It’s possible to get cash fast, directly into your bank account, without a lot of hassle or expense.
LoanSolo offers up to $1,000 for payday cash advances and up to $3,000 for personal loans. The APRs are variable based on the lender and on your credit factors. However, if you need to bridge a gap or get ahead, it can still be cheaper than paying the super-high charges associated with payday lending.
PockBox is another online app that connects you with short-term lenders that offer up to $2,500 in fast cash. You fill out the forms and in a few minutes you’re matched with a lender willing to put cash in your account by the next business day.
Again, APRs vary according to your credit situation and the lender, but you’re still probably going to pay less through PockBox than you would with an online or offline payday lender.
Get Quick Cash Other Ways
No matter which cash apps you use as a payday loan alternative, remember that you’ll have to repay the amount you borrow. If you want to get quick cash in other ways, consider the following:
- Ask friends or family: If you just need a spot of cash to hold you over, friends or family might be willing to help you out–and it won’t usually cost you anything. Just make sure you repay them and use this method sparingly.
- Sharing economy: Driving for Uber or Lyft can mean a way to earn cash quickly. You can instantly transfer earnings to your bank account for a small fee. Do a little extra driving to get the cash and avoid the need to repay a loan.
- Sell something: Using a local Facebook sales group or apps like Let Go and 5miles, you can get rid of something you don’t need and get cash fast.
Watch Out for Scams and Loan Sharks
Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous folks out there who will take advantage of people when they’re faced with desperate circumstances. While there are legitimate ways to get money, you need to watch out for scams that promise you fast cash when times are tough. Some of the scams popping up in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic are designed to prey on those who are hurting financially due to the novel coronavirus.
Some of the things to be on the watch for include:
- Phishing emails: Some phishing emails claim that your bank information is wrong, and you need to update it to get your stimulus payment. You click on a link that takes you to a fraudulent website, enter your information, and then you end up giving away your information.
- Loans based on your stimulus: There are loan sharks popping up, claiming to offer you a loan based on your stimulus. These predatory lenders may offer you loans based on a faulty calculation of what you’ll receive. On top of that, the interest rates might be sky-high. When you do get your economic benefit payment, you could very well find yourself sending it all to the loan shark.
- Pay for help getting benefits: Some folks are promising to help you get benefits, such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or unemployment in your state at a faster rate. You pay a small fee and then you get “help” with your paperwork. These scams won’t help you get your money faster, and you could be out of the fee you pay.
- Advances on various programs: Similar to programs that offer loans based on your stimulus, these advances promise fast cash based on what you might get through the PPP or some other type of aid. You pay an exorbitant interest rate on these cash advances. Even worse, what happens if you end up not qualifying for the program and still have to repay the advance?
Right now, many scammers and loan sharks are using the coronavirus as a tactic to get you to divulge information by using student loan repayment, confusion over the implementation of government relief programs, and even by claiming that you can get access to information about local coronavirus cases by paying a small fee. Anything that offers you something related to COVID-19 for a fee, or promises faster cash, is probably suspect.
Before you turn to payday loans, whether you look online or offline, consider other ways to get the cash you need. With interest above 200% APR–some even going above 600% APR–payday loans are expensive. And, thanks to the advancement of options, they are also becoming increasingly unnecessary.