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A loan app can be a convenient way to get money quickly until your next payday arrives. There are several to choose from, and most are easily accessible to borrowers with varying financial backgrounds. Even better, you’ll get the funds you need rather quickly. But there are downsides, including the borrowing costs you can expect and the risk of relying too heavily on this source of fast cash to resolve a more serious financial issue.
Compare your options and weigh the pros and cons of loan apps to decide if they’re best for you.
Top loan apps of 2022
These cash advance and personal loan apps let you access fast cash to cover unexpected expenses.
|App||Maximum loan amount||Time to funding||Fees||Google Play rating||App Store rating|
|Albert||Up to $250||Instantly (for a fee)
Two to three days (free of charge)
|Instant cash advance fee||3.9/5||4.6/5|
|Brigit||$50 – $250||Instantly (for a fee)
One to three days (free of charge)
|No late fees or penalties||4.6/5||4.8/5|
|Chime||$20 – $200||At the point of sale||Not applicable||4.8/5||4.8/5|
|Dave||Up to $500||Instant||Membership fee: $1
Express fee: $0.99 to $6.99
External transfer fee: $2.99 – $11.99
|MoneyLion||$25 – $250||12 to 48 hours (for a fee)
Three to five business days (free of charge)
|Turbo fee: $0.49 – $5.99 (to RoarMoney account)
$1.99 – $8.99 (to external debit card)
|Possible Finance||Up to $500||Instant||Varies by state||4.3/5||4.8/5|
Albert will lend you up to $250 until your next paycheck. There are no credit checks, and you won’t pay interest on the funds you borrow. Even better, Albert does not access late fees, even if you cannot repay the loan on time.
Brigit is another loan app that lets you borrow up to $250 without undergoing a hard credit check. You also won’t pay interest or hidden fees on the amount you borrow. Brigit customers also get access to free credit reports, identity theft protection, and other financial tools to help level up their financial health.
Chime is an innovative mobile app offering paycheck advances, fee-free banking, and other valuable financial tools. You can get paid up to two days early or spend up to $200 more than you have available in your account without incurring overdraft fees with the SpotMe feature. You’ll need to receive direct deposits into a Chime Checking account to use both features.
You can access far more with Dave than you’ll find with many other loan apps. Borrowers can qualify for up to $500 with the ExtraCash feature that deposits funds directly onto the Dave Debit MasterCard. It’s quick and easy to apply, and you won’t pay interest on the loan. Plus, there are no late fees with Dave. Credit builder loans are also available if you want to borrow even more money while improving your credit health.
MoneyLion prides itself on providing an all-in-one mobile banking experience, which includes access to interest-free Instacash Advances of up to $250. Applying won’t hurt your credit score as there’s no credit check. And if approved, you could get funds in as soon as 12 hours.
Possible Finance features a payday loan alternative that lets you borrow up to $500 and repay in four equal installments (over 8 months). You’ll pay interest on the loan, but no late payment penalties exist. Each on-time payment will also help build your payment history and grant you access to the Possible Card.
Pros and cons of loan apps
Before you apply for funding through a loan app, consider the benefits and drawbacks to determine if it makes sense to move forward.
- Easily accessible: The application process is seamless, and you generally won’t need good credit to qualify for funding.
- Fast funding times: Upon approval, some lenders will instantly deposit the funds into your checking account (for a fee) or within one business day.
- Less expensive than overdraft fees: By securing a loan, you could avoid costly overdraft fees that would result if you didn’t have the funds at your disposal.
- Hefty borrowing costs: Lender fees and the interest you may pay on these loans could make them an expensive source of funding.
- Potentially addictive: The ease of access and rapid funding times put you at risk of repeatedly relying on loan apps when cash flow issues arise.
- Fails to address serious cash flow issues: A loan app could be a temporary solution to a more serious problem with your budget and spending habits.
How to compare loan apps
Once you have a shortlist of top loan apps, here’s how to compare them to find the best fit:
- How much does each lender charge to take out a loan? Are the fees comparable across the board, or are some steeper than others?
- What is the interest rate? How about the APR?
- How much time does the lender give you to repay the loan? Can you schedule the payments, or are they automatically drawn from your account on specific dates?
- What are past and current customers saying about the loan app? Do the reviews indicate overall satisfaction or is there cause for concern?
Alternatives to loan apps
After comparing loan apps, you may find that they don’t quite work for you. In this case, it could be worth considering an alternative to access the funds you need. Some other options to explore include the following:
- Credit union loans: You could be eligible for a small personal loan if you’re a credit union member. They often come with competitive interest rates and repayment periods of up to one year. It’s not uncommon for credit unions to check your credit. Still, a lower score doesn’t automatically mean a denial, as the credit union may approve you based on the strength of your solid banking history.
- Small personal loans: Check out small personal loans from online lenders. If you’re worried your credit score is too low, some have loan products that cater to borrowers with less-than-perfect credit. You’ll pay more interest, but it’s capped at 36 percent.
- Loans from a relative or friend: Ask a trusted family member or friend to borrow the money you need. Be sure to put the agreement in writing to avoid any confusion. It’s equally important to repay what you borrow on time to avoid damaging the relationship.
- Earn extra cash: Pick up a side hustle or work overtime to earn extra money. If the latter isn’t an option, you can give rideshare driving, food delivery services, babysitting or other side gigs with little to no startup costs a try.
Loan apps are some of the most convenient options to access fast cash when you’re in a bind. They’re available to borrowers with varying credit backgrounds, and applying is simple. But before selecting this option, compare offerings and research alternatives to identify the best type of loan for your financial situation. Also, adjust your spending plan and start building an emergency fund to minimize the chance of relying on loan apps in the future to get over a financial hump.