When you need money fast, apps like Albert can help. The fee-free cash advances can get you through in a bind, but many apps like Albert offer other features too.
Here’s everything you need to know about cash advance apps and what to look for when choosing the right one.
How Cash Advance Apps Like Albert Work
Cash advance apps link to your bank account and spot you money when you’re short of paying your bills. Many cash advance apps like Albert don’t charge fees or interest.
Instead, the money you borrow is an advance from your next paycheck. Some apps like Albert charge a subscription fee; others suggest you ‘tip’ them but don’t have set fees.
- Fees: If approved, it’s free to receive your cash advance if you can wait for one to three business days to receive it. But if you need the funds immediately, you can request an instant transfer for a small fee.
Albert is a super finance app allowing users to take control of their finances. It’s known for its $250 cash advance (up to three per pay period), but the app does much more.
Albert is an all-in-one finance app. It helps users with budgeting, investing, saving, and periodically spotting up to $250.
Most people know Albert for its cash advances, but that’s not its goal. Instead, the point is to have it quietly working in the background, rounding up purchases, automating your savings, and even setting up investment portfolios.
There’s no credit check or application to get the $250. However, if you’re an Albert member and come up short, they’ll spot you up to $250 that you repay on your next payday.
To qualify, you must meet the following:
- Have direct deposit set up in your connected bank account
- The bank account you connect has been open for at least two months
- You have stable and consistent income from the same employer for at least two months
- You receive your paychecks on time and still have funds in your account 24 hours after receiving them
- Albert doesn’t pull your credit to determine your eligibility.
Apps Like Albert
Albert is a great app, but it’s nice to see alternatives. Here are the top apps like Albert to help you compare the features to what you need:
- Fees: Chime doesn’t charge any fees for using your SpotMe line of credit. It also doesn’t charge monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance fees.
Chime is one of the most similar apps to Albert as it offers banking and cash advance features; however, there are many differences to consider.
Like Albert, Chime offers a checking (spend) and savings account. The spend account comes with a Visa debit card, but it also has an ATM network of 60,000 fee-free ATMs.
Like Albert, Chime’s ‘SpotMe’ program loans you money from your next paycheck. Chime’s program is a little different, though. Instead of requesting the amount you need, Chime automatically approves you for a line of credit that covers any overdrafts. The credit limit ranges from $40 to $200. All new users start with a $20 credit limit, but with a solid repayment history, you may get a line of up to $200.
To qualify for the SpotMe program, you must set up a qualifying direct deposit of at least $200 and activate your Chime Visa debit card. Once qualified, you must ‘opt-in’ to the SpotMe program.
Unlike the Albert app, you don’t have to wait for the funds because you have a line of credit with a predetermined limit. Instead, the Chime app immediately notifies you of the amount you used and withdraws the funds from your next paycheck to rebalance your line of credit.
- Offers fee-free overdraft protection
- Only need direct deposit of at least $200 to qualify for SpotMe
- Chime offers a credit builder credit card to help you build credit
- Chime offers checking and savings accounts with high-yield interest
- Mobile check deposit is only available if you have direct deposit
- You can’t open a joint account
- It may cost money to deposit cash with a cash deposit partner, such as Walmart or 7-Eleven
Chime High Yield Savings
- Fees: The Dave app has a $1 monthly subscription fee. However, receiving transfers from ExtraCash is free for the standard transfer period (1 to 3 days) or up to $13.99 for an instant transfer that arrives in minutes.
Dave is one of the most powerful cash advance apps because it offers cash advances of up to $500. Not everyone will qualify, though. Here’s how it works.
Dave is a powerful cash advance and budgeting app. If you want to know how much you can safely spend and stop going over your balance, Dave may help.
Where Dave shines is its cash advance feature called ‘ExtraCash.’ To find out if you’re eligible, you must first download the Dave app and see if you’re eligible. The Dave app uses an algorithm to determine your eligibility, including the following:
- Your account has at least three recurring deposits to prove your income
- You have at least $1,000 deposited monthly
- Your linked bank account has at least a 60-day history and no negative balances
The Dave app looks at this information daily and may change your ExtraCash limit based on the latest information.
ExtraCash limits refresh daily at midnight, and you can get your cash instantly if it’s an emergency (for a fee) or wait for one to three business days for it and pay nothing.
You repay your advance on your next payday. However, if you need more time, simply contact them and ask for more time for no fee.
The Dave app also offers a side hustle feature that matches you with opportunities to boost your income, such as surveys, phone jobs, and other tasks you can do from home to avoid going over your account limits.
- Offers the highest cash advance limits in the industry
- Dave helps you budget and be more aware of upcoming expenses
- Easy to qualify for cash advances
- Costs $1 a month whether you use it or not
- Fees: To access the cash advance option, you must subscribe to Brigit Plus, which is $9.99/month.
The Brigit app is similar to the Albert app, offering cash advances and budgeting tools. However, to access the cash advance option, you must subscribe to Brigit Plus, which has a monthly subscription fee.
Brigit helps keep your finances on track. They offer cash advances up to $250 with no credit check, interest, or fees, and for a small fee, you can receive the funds instantly.
In addition to cash advances, Brigit offers a credit builder loan, identity protection, and helpful insights on your spending and savings habits. Brigit also offers opportunities to earn more money with side gigs and get savings on things like personal loans and insurance.
To qualify for Brigit cash advances, you must link your most active checking account that must meet the following requirements:
- Must be open and active for the last 60 days
- Must have a positive balance
- Must have three deposits from the same source on consistent dates (income)
You can request up to your limit when you need a cash advance and set the repayment date, which is usually your next payday. Most deposits take two to three business days, but you can pay a small fee for instant transfers.
If you need an extension on repayment, just let them know. They usually approve it and don’t charge fees. Then, after you repay your balance, you can request an additional advance.
- Doesn’t charge interest on cash advances
- Helps you find side hustles to make more money
- Can set up automatic advances to avoid overdrafts
- The monthly subscription fee is high
- You must link your external checking account
- Fees: Like Albert, MoneyLion doesn’t charge for its Instacash cash advances; however, there is a fee for instant transfers between $0.49 and $8.99 per transfer.
MoneyLion is a cash advance app like Albert. It offers up to $500 in cash advances for no fees, but you may also get larger cash advances with a premium membership.
MoneyLion is more than a payday advance app; it’s a personal finance app that helps members find financial offers, utilize mobile banking, and build credit.
New users will unlock cash advance opportunities of $25. However, linking an external bank account with recurring deposits may unlock between $50 to $500 in cash advance options.
To qualify for a free cash advance with no interest, you must meet the following:
- Your checking account has been open for at least two months
- You have regular recurring deposits from your employer
- Your account always has a positive balance
You can choose standard delivery (for free), which takes two to three business days or pay a Turbo Fee for instant access.
MoneyLion also offers other features, including:
- RoarMoney: This MoneyLion mobile bank account offers two-day early access to direct deposits, no fees, debit card rewards, and Mastercard Price Protection
- Investment accounts: With automatic investing and fully managed portfolios, you get hands-off investing with no account minimums or management fees
- Credit Builder Plus: This credit-building loan helps you build solid credit and provides access to some of your loan proceeds before it’s paid in full
- MoneyLion Crypto: Anyone can invest in crypto, and with a MoneyLion bank account, you can round up purchases to invest in Bitcoin
- No monthly fee for cash advances
- Option to get money instantly for a small fee
- Offers many other personal finance and banking options
- You must link an external bank account if you don’t open a RoarMoney account
- It can take a while to receive cash advance in an external account
- Fees: B9 isn’t free, even for small cash advances. They don’t charge interest; however, the B9 Advance plan is $9.99/month, and B9 Premium is $19.99/month.
B9 is a unique cash advance app. Like Albert, you can access funds early but for a fee, and B9 has a unique feature that offers 100% early access to your paycheck.
B9 is strictly a cash advance app. It doesn’t offer many other personal finance features, but you must deposit your paycheck directly into your B9 account to access cash advances.
B9 has two plans:
- B9 Advance – Access up to $300 instantly
- B9 Premium – Access up to 100% of your paycheck up to 15 days early, plus access to your credit score and a credit score simulator
To use B9, you must set up direct deposit into your B9 account. After you receive your first direct deposit, you can apply for a cash advance.
While B9 doesn’t offer many other personal finance features, there are a few notable features to consider:
- Instant transfers – You can instantly transfer money to other B9 members for free
- B9 Visa Debit Card – You may earn up to 5% cash back on four selected categories after you spend $200 monthly
- You can access your entire paycheck up to 15 days early with the Premium plan
- There’s no credit check to qualify
- You can earn up to 5% cash back on purchases
- The monthly subscription fee is high
- There aren’t any other personal finance tools like Albert and its competitors
- Fees: Earnin doesn’t charge fees but encourages ‘tips.’ They aren’t mandatory but highly recommended.
Earnin gives users access to the money they’ve already earned without charging fees or interest. With Earnin, you can make everyday payday.
Earnin offers early access to your paycheck, so it’s a little different than a ‘Spot Me’ service. Members can access up to $100 daily and $750 per pay period with the Earnin Cash-Out program.
Earnin connects directly to your existing bank account, so you receive the funds where you’re used to receiving them, but before payday.
To use the Cash Out feature, you must download the Earnin app, verify your employment info, link your bank account, and then you can cash out. Note, however, this only works if you have direct deposit.
You’ll repay any funds you took early on your next payday.
Another feature Earnin offers is Balance Shield which monitors your bank account and alerts you when you hit below your threshold. You can adjust your spending or arrange cash out of up to $100 to cover it.
Standard transfers from the Earnin app take two to three business days; however, you can pay for Lightening Speed transfers, which are instant but charge a fee.
- Earnin doesn’t charge fees or interest
- You can access up to $750 per pay period
- You can get alerts when your bank account balance is low
- You must allow access to your external bank account
- It may create bad borrowing habits allowing such high limits
- You’re only eligible if you receive direct deposit
- Fees: Empower is free for the first 14 days; then, it costs $8 per month for access to all features.
With Empower Cash Advance, you can access up to $250 with no interest or credit checks, just like Albert.
The Empower Cash Advance program is like Albert. You can access up to $250 with no fees, interest, or credit checks. If you have an Empower Card, the transfer is instant; otherwise, it may take a few business days.
If you have an Empower Card and set up direct deposit, you’ll also get access to your funds up to two days early and earn 0.01% APY.
To qualify, Empower evaluates your bank account history, the amount of direct deposits, and the duration of your direct deposits. As a result, the amount you can access may change over time.
Other features Empower offers include the following:
- Automatic savings: Empower monitors your bank account to determine when it’s safe to transfer funds to your savings account
- Budgeting: Set budgets and get real-time alerts when something changes
- Smart recommendations: Learn how to save or earn more based on your bank account activity and Empower’s smart recommendations
- No fee or interest cash advances
- Can use autosave to automatically save money
- Makes it easy to keep track of your finances in one place
- The monthly subscription cost is high
- Its cash account pays a low APY
- Fees: Cleo Plus, which is necessary to access cash advances, is $5.99 monthly.
Cleo is a cash advance app like no other. It has a social media feel, and they don’t offer any nonsense, only financial help.
Cleo offers cash advances of up to $100. There are no credit checks or fees, and you choose your repayment date between three and 14 days later.
It takes only seconds to see if you qualify, and if you don’t, the Cleo app will help you understand why. Some of the factors they consider include:
- Balance averages; they don’t like negative balances
- Too many withdrawals
- Inconsistent receipt of income
It takes three to four business days to receive your funds, but if you want them sooner, you can pay a $3.99 instant transfer fee and receive the funds within 24 hours.
Other features Cleo offers include the following:
- Budgeting to help you reach your goals, track your spending, and get alerts
- Savings features like round-ups, cashback on everyday purchases, and goal setting
- Credit builder card that provides a secured card that reports purchases to the credit bureaus
- Makes saving money and even borrowing fun
- Makes understanding your financial situation easy
- Free access to funds in between paydays
- It can take a while to receive your funds
- The monthly subscription fee is high
Need Assistance to Make Ends Meet?
If you’re constantly looking for cash advance apps like Albert, it may be time to reassess your budget and spending habits. Life happens to all of us, but when it’s a regular occurrence, here are some ways to make ends meet.
Pay yourself first instead of waiting. When you wait to pay yourself, spending the money you should have saved is much easier. So instead, make savings a regular part of your budget. Then, pay it like a bill each payday and keep the money in a separate savings account.
Only access the funds in your savings account when you’re truly in a bind, and you’ll avoid paying fees to borrow money before payday.
Living within your means is the key to making ends meet. Don’t try to keep up with friends and neighbors. Instead, buy what you can afford and save for the rest. Don’t try to impress people with large purchases or buy on credit, getting in over your head.
Remain disciplined; if you can’t, consider getting an accountability partner to keep you on track.
Set goals and make them visible to keep yourself motivated. For example, if you’re saving to buy a house, print a picture of your dream house and put it somewhere you can easily see. Then, remember that picture whenever you’re about to make an impulse purchase or forget to budget and spend anyway because you know you can access a cash advance app.
Start a Side Hustle
Increase your income streams by starting a side hustle. Then, earmark the funds for savings and special occasions, so you always have extra money to do your desired things.
Cash Advance App Risks
Cash advance apps are helpful in dire emergencies, but there are some inherent risks to consider, including the following:
- It can create bad spending habits because you always know you can access funds early
- You may forget how to budget or give up because you know you can access funds when you need them
- It makes it harder to build a savings account because you’re always paying back what you borrowed
- You could easily get in over your head and not be able to repay the debts, which might hurt your credit or cost more money
Frequently Asked Questions
Cash advance apps have benefits, but understanding their limitations is important too. Here are some common questions I get about cash advance apps.
Are cash advance apps better than payday loans?
Cash advance apps are often cheaper than payday loans, but that doesn’t make them better. The best thing is to budget properly and not need to borrow money. However, cash advance apps are usually the more favorable option if you’re in a pinch.
What should I look for in a cash advance app?
Before using a cash advance app, know how it works. Determine if there’s a monthly subscription fee or fee to borrow the funds. Also, determine if there are interest charges and how long you have to repay the borrowed money.
Ideally, you want an app that doesn’t charge a monthly fee or interest. Instead, apps like Albert make money on other personal finance features they offer, such as checking accounts, debit cards, or investment accounts.
Do apps like Albert help me build credit?
Some cash advance apps offer credit-building services. Remember, these services are simply secured loans you repay, and the app reports to the credit bureaus. You receive the ‘loan’ after you pay the balance in full, and if you made your payments on time, you might have increased your credit score.