4 Best Paycheck Advance Apps in 2024

Need money to hold you over until next payday? These apps might help.

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Written by Carol Pope │ Edited by Amanda Push and Janet Schaaf │Reviewed December 11, 2023

Paycheck advance apps at a glance

DailyPay: Best paycheck advance app for daily access to paycheck

Amounts availableVaries based on earnings, up to $1,000 a day
Timeline for free advanceNext day
Fee for expedited advance$3.49 or less
Timeline for expedited advanceInstantly or the next business day
Subscription feeNone
Does the app ask for an optional tip?No

 No overdrafts

 Late fees are impossible

 No subscription fee

 Free next-day advances

 Don’t need a savings or checking account

 Must work for a participating employer

 Easy access to earned wages could make it harder to stick to a budget

 May find check surprisingly short if you don’t keep track of what you’re spending

Dave: Best paycheck advance app with flexible repayments

Amounts availableUp to $500
Timeline for free advanceTwo to three business days
Fee for expedited advance$3.00 to $25.00
Timeline for expedited advanceInstant when transferring to a Dave Spending Account, within one hour when transferring to an external account
Subscription fee$1.00 a month
Does the app ask for an optional tip?Yes

 Monthly subscription is only $1

 Large advance amounts

 Membership allows access to a side hustle job board

 Requires a Dave Spending Account to get the lowest express payment fees

 High express payment fees

 Free advances take a minimum of two days

EarnIn: Best for paycheck advance app for large advances

Amounts availableUp to $100 a day and $750 per pay period
Timeline for free advanceOne to three business days
Fee for expedited advance$1.99 to $4.99
Timeline for expedited advanceUp to 30 minutes
Subscription feeNone
Does the app ask for an optional tip?Yes

 Large advances possible

 Quick no-fee advances

 No monthly subscription fee

 Not all banks are eligible for expedited advances

 Checking account required

 Not available for part-time workers

Empower Finance: Best paycheck advance app for budgeting tools and extra benefits

Amounts available$10 to $250
Timeline for free advanceTwo to five days
Fee for expedited advance$1.00 to $8.00
Timeline for expedited advance15 minutes to two hours
Subscription fee$8.00 a month
Does the app ask for an optional tip?Yes

 Subscription comes with credit monitoring and budgeting tools

 No late fees

 Will reimburse overdraft fees

 Mandatory subscription fee

 No free next-day advances

 Can take up to five days to receive advance under the free option

What is a paycheck advance app?

A paycheck advance app allows you to use your smartphone to borrow money in between paychecks. Instead of running a credit check, the app will review your bank account to determine your eligibility. Namely, it’ll look at the amount and frequency of your direct deposits. It may also consider your spending habits.

The app will use this information to decide how much of an advance you can afford and when you can pay it back. It will then transfer your advance into your checking account. Repayment is usually one to two weeks, or whenever you normally get paid. Most times, it will automatically deduct your repayment from that same account on your due date.

Paycheck advances are small (between $10 and $500) and do not have interest. Instead, they come with optional fees and tips. If you rarely use the app, this model could be beneficial. If you pay for a lot of expedited advances and leave an optional tip, you may end up paying more than you expect.

 What is earned wage access?

Some paycheck advance apps (like DailyPay) keep track of your daily earnings and allow you to borrow from them directly. Then, the app will deduct your advance from your paycheck instead of your checking account.

If you’re going to take an advance, many financial experts agree that earned wage access apps offer the friendliest terms. For one, you can’t accidentally borrow more than what you’ve already earned. You also don’t need to worry about the app overdrafting your checking account on repayment day.

Still, you may find it hard to keep up with your other bills if you take many (or large) advances and end up with a small paycheck.

Paycheck advance apps vs. payday loans

Is a paycheck advance app the same as a payday loan? Not quite, but they do have similarities.

Paycheck advances and payday loans are small, usually $500 or less. Repayment periods are short, and both types usually automatically withdraw what you borrowed from your checking account. Neither requires a credit check.

However, payday loans are generally more expensive. Between interest rates and fees, it’s not uncommon for the APR on a payday loan to hit triple digits.


If you’re stuck relying on paycheck advance apps or payday loans, there’s hope.

Chronically taking paycheck advances or payday loans is an easy way to get stuck in a cycle of debt. You might think you only need a little cash until the next payday, but what happens when it’s time to repay? You might end up taking yet another loan to get by. It’s just not sustainable.

Credit counseling might help. Many credit counselors work for nonprofit organizations, so they charge low (or no) fees. The counselor will work with you on debt management and help you recognize the patterns that got you into debt in the first place.

Paycheck advance app pros and cons

Paycheck advance apps are increasingly popular, but are they a good idea? Review the pros and cons to decide.


 Can be helpful in an emergency. You could get cash almost instantly (for a fee).

 No credit check. Paycheck advance apps can be relatively easy to qualify for, and they don’t require a credit check.

 No interest. Paycheck advance apps don’t charge interest (although fees likely apply).

 Convenient. You don’t need to leave the comfort of your home.

 May be expensive. Fees and optional tips can add up, especially if you take many advances over time.

 Does not help build credit. Paycheck advance apps don’t typically report your payments to the credit bureaus.

 Can cement poor budgeting habits. Easy access to funds could make it harder to keep up with necessary expenses.

 Risk of overdrafting. Could overdraft if you don’t have enough money in your account come repayment.

How to compare paycheck advance apps

If you’re going to use a paycheck advance app, choose the one that best aligns with your needs (and will cost you the least amount of money).

Fees: Paycheck advance apps can charge a lot of fees, which are often confusing. In particular, pay attention to expedited advance fees, monthly subscription fees and optional tips. If it does ask for a tip, you can save money on fees by skipping it.

Eligibility requirements: You may not be eligible if you have a non-traditional job or income source.

Funding timelines: If you don’t want to pay an extra fee, pick the app that can provide the fastest no-fee advance.

App user ratings: Read user ratings on Google Play or the App Store. These can help you get a feel for the overall customer experience.

Lawsuits and controversies: Tread lightly when considering an app that’s been involved in a lawsuit. While not a guarantee, a lawsuit could point toward predatory lending.

Advance amounts: Some apps offer higher advances than others. Keep in mind that, depending on your income, you might not qualify for the maximum advance amount right away.

What if a paycheck advance app isn’t right for me?

When used sparingly, a paycheck advance could get you out of a bind. Even so, they aren’t always the best solution.

Build an emergency fund

Building an emergency fund is one of the first steps toward financial wellness. Try to sock away money when you can, even small amounts. This can seem impossible when you’re living paycheck to paycheck. Still, you might be surprised by how those small amounts add up if you can find a budgeting method that works for you.

Personal loan

A personal loan is a lump sum of money that you pay back over time (plus interest and applicable fees), in monthly installments.

A small personal loan could be easier to manage than a payday app, since you’ll have more time to pay it off. However, that extra time means your loan will be more expensive, thanks to interest. Personal loans are also harder to qualify for, but bad credit loans do exist.

Buy now, pay later apps

Like paycheck advance apps, buy now, pay later (BNPL) apps aren’t an ideal long-term solution. These allow you to make retail purchases (online or in-store) and pay them back in installments (usually four). They’re easy to use and can lead to overspending. Some apps also report late payments to the credit bureaus.

How we chose the best paycheck advance apps

We reviewed 10 paycheck advance apps to determine the overall four best apps for paycheck advances. During our evaluation, we scored apps based on the following factors:

  • Fees and funding timeline (30%): Paycheck advance apps ranked higher if they do not require a subscription fee and advertise next-day funds without a fee.
  • Advance amounts (30%): We prioritized paycheck advance apps that have a wider range of advance amounts. For instance, an app earned a more favorable score if its maximum advance amount is $250 or higher.
  • Customer service (30%): For starters, we considered each paycheck advance app’s reputation and business practices. We chose companies with no recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulatory action. We also favored apps that have a live chat function, customer service phone number and strong mobile app user ratings.
  • Credit-improving and budgeting tools (10%): Paycheck advance apps earned a higher score if they offer tools that help you monitor or improve your credit score. The same applied to budget-management tools.

Frequently asked questions

Many cash advance apps are legit. Nevertheless, bad actors are looking to take advantage of people in desperate situations.
Before you give out sensitive information, read customer reviews. You can find these wherever you download your apps. Also, you’d be wise to run the company’s name through the CFPB Consumer Complaint Database.

All of the apps listed in this article offer cash advances. If you’re looking for an app that lets you get your paycheck early (as you earn it), you will want to target earned-wage access companies. These include DailyPay and PayActiv. You’ll only have access to these if you work for a participating employer.

Many apps advertise instance advances but you may need to wait a few minutes to a few hours before the funds are available. Still, any apps on this list can get you your money quickly (for a fee).