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Empower Cash Advance App: 2024 Review

Updated on Jan. 9, 2024
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At a glance

4.7
Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5
Bankrate Score
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Availability
Rating: 4.8 stars out of 5
4.8
Affordability
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
4.5
Customer Experience
Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5
4.7

About Bankrate Score

Empower is a cash advance app that offers advances up to $250 and doesn't require a credit check for approval. Unlike some other cash advance apps, it allows gig economy workers to apply. The app also offers budgeting tools, credit score monitoring and notifies its users of updates, like missed payments and bank fees. 

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Loan amount $10-$250
Rates
APR from No APR
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Term lengths Your next payday

Those who need a small advance of up to $250. 

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Empower pros and cons 

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Pros

  • Financial resources and tools
  • Overdraft protection and refund
  • No late fees or interest for cash advance
Red circle with an X inside

Cons

  • Must pay fee for fast funding
  • Mandatory subscription fee
  • Payment date is next paycheck

Best for small advances 

Empower offers a smaller advance than some similar products, but its features and tools are what give the company its value. Its eligibility requirements are fairly thin when compared to competitors and the instant delivery fees, although high, are optional. Empower is worth considering for those who don't need a large sum of money at once and are able to make the payments on their next payday. 

How to qualify for an Empower advance 

To use the Empower app, you must meet the following criteria: 

  • Be 18 years old or older.
  • Have a valid bank account.
  • Have a mobile phone number that can receive SMS.

Empower won't check your credit score when you apply. Instead, the company will look at your primary checking account to review your daily banking activity and to see if you have a steady income source. However, regardless of income or account status you may not get approved if you make too many Empower requests in quick succession. 

How this app compares

Empower vs. Brigit

Brigit offers similar benefits to Empower, like budgeting resources and overdraft protection. It also has the same maximum advance amount of $250 and has a similar repayment timeline. However, Empower's lower monthly fee and unique mobile app features give it an edge over Brigit, which has a required monthly subscription fee of $9.99.

Empower vs. Dave

Offering a maximum loan amount of $500 and a monthly subscription fee of just $1, Dave is a strong competitor when compared to Empower. Plus, Dave also offers overdraft protection and financial resources — although it doesn't offer an overdraft refund like Empower does. 

Dave also offers an early paycheck deposit feature, making it the better option to users who may need their paycheck up to two days early. 

Empower: In the details

What we like and what we don’t like

What we like

  • Financial resources and tools: Empower offers a number of financial tools to help make money management easier.
  • Overdraft refunds: If a payment to Empower causes an overdraft fee, the company will refund the amount of the fee. Simply contact Empower customer support with evidence of the fee.
  • No late fees or interest for cash advance: Taking out a cash advance from Empower doesn't require any interest payments. You also won't be charged a late fee if you're late on a payment.

What we don’t like

  • Must pay fee for fast funding: Express funding costs $1 to $8 depending on the amount of the advance you're taking out. 
  • Mandatory subscription fee: In order to use Express, you'll need to pay a monthly $8 subscription fee. The subscription auto renews every month.
  • Payment date is next paycheck: The full amount of the advance is due on your next paycheck.

How to contact Empower

Empower recommends using email support, which is available 24/7. Phone support is also available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. PT.

How to take out an advance with Empower 

Empower's application process is completed within the mobile app. As of right now there isn't a desktop-friendly version available. Here's what the application process looks like and what you should do if you run into any roadblocks when setting up your account.

Empower does state that it may need to review additional information to create your account within the app. It states that the manual review process could take up to three business days, so keep that in mind if you need the money as soon as possible. 

Empower features and perks 

You gain access to the following perks when you sign up with Empower:

  • A free 14-day trial after signing up for the app.
  • A full suite of money management tools and resources within the app. 
  • Reimbursement on overdrafts fees caused by an Empower payment.
  • A $5 reward if a person you refer uses your link to sign up for a cash advance within 30 days of starting their free trial.

Fees and penalties 

Empower has two fees related to its cash advance product.

  • $8 monthly fee: For $8 a month, you will have access to Empower's cash advances along with financial management tools and perks.
  • Optional instant delivery fee: Normally, you'll receive your cash advance within one business day, but if you opt into its instant delivery function, you'll get your cash within an hour. The fee cost maxes out at $8, depending on the size of your advance.

Empower frequently asked questions 

How Bankrate rates Empower 

Overall Score 4.7
Availability 4.8 Empower has a lower minimum advance amount than is typical, but you can get funds in as little as one business day without paying a fee.
Affordability 4.5 The mobile app subscription is costly at $8 per month.
Customer Experience 4.7 Multiple forms of customer support are available, and Empower has few complaints filed against it in the past three years.

Methodology

To select the top cash advance apps, the Bankrate team evaluates companies using a 16-point ranking system, known as the Bankrate Score. The Bankrate Score focuses on three key aspects: availability, affordability and customer experience. These are the factors considered as part of each category:

  • Availability: Minimum and maximum loan amounts, overdraft protection features, repayment term lengths and funding timelines are taken into account as part of this section.
  • Affordability: For this category we looked at subscription pricing and free version availability. We also looked at additional tools and resources offered to users as part of the subscriptions, as well as any fees assessed by the companies.
  • Customer experience: Bankrate evaluates factors such as the company’s reputation through regulatory websites, like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), as well as contact support options. Our team also favors apps that are highly rated and that give users the option to extend repayment in case of hardship.

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the lender’s website for the most current information.