Cash Advance App Review: Earnin vs. Dave

Michael Collins
October 14, 2020

Is your paycheck coming up, but you still have some expenses that need paying? Do you not have enough money in your bank account to pay for these expenses? Are you thinking of overdrafting your bank account to make ends meet? 

Overdrafting your bank account can be necessary to get cash to get yourself out of a financial jam. While overdrafting can be helpful, it can still be very costly, and there are other options than overdrafting. When you overdraft your bank account, you not only have to pay back the amount you spent over your limit, but you will likely have to pay an extremely high-interest rate. Further, you will likely have to pay an overdraft fee. These payments will have to be made much quicker than a loan from Possible, for example. Overdrafts can turn out to be very expensive for you. While overdrafting might seem like your only option for getting out of a jam, there are, thankfully, other financial services and cash advance apps that can be much better for you than overdrafting your bank account. 

Dave and Earnin are two payday advance apps that can be a great alternative to overdrafts. They both offer a slightly different product, but they both are a way to access money without needing to go below zero on your bank account! Let’s take a look at both of these apps so you can learn what they are, how they work, and which one you should choose if you are worried about overdrafting your bank account!

Earnin

Earnin is a payday advance app that allows you to access your paycheck before it ever hits your bank account on payday. How is this possible? Well, did you know that your paycheck can sit in limbo early in the week before you get paid? It’s true! Paychecks are often approved earlier in the week by your employer until Friday when you get paid.

Doesn’t it seem unfair that you can’t use your paycheck even if it’s processed? Earnin essentially allows you to have access to it before it ever hits your account. When you use Earnin, you are not exactly getting the money from your paycheck early. Instead, Earnin is “loaning” you money, and your paycheck is used as collateral for your small advance. Think of it like this: your next paycheck is supposed to be for $500, but you only have $10 in the bank account. Let’s say you need gas on Tuesday, but it’s going to be more expensive than $10. Instead of overdrafting your account and paying high interest and even more cash fees, you can use Earnin to advance money, in essence, borrow money. Once your paycheck comes, you simply pay back what you borrowed. 

Earnin is a fantastic alternative to overdrafts. Just think, wouldn’t you rather use your paycheck early instead of making your bank account negative? Earnin is also much cheaper than overdrafting, so you can save yourself cash and avoid bad credit by using it. 

Let’s take a look at some of the features and drawbacks of the Earnin app. 

Features

  • Quick Cash: After waiting 72 hours needed to set up your account, you can have your cash the same day you request it. Earnin is extremely helpful if you are in a jam and need the money very soon. Other apps and services may make you wait multiple days to get money.
  • Costs: Nothing is free, right? There’s nothing worse than being excited about an app or product and learning there’s a high cost with it. With Earnin, advancing your paycheck and paying it back comes with no interest or upfront fees. Instead of paying interest or fees, Earnin allows you to “tip” them if you are happy with their service. Seriously, your only cost can be an optional tip to Earnin if you feel inclined to do so. Pretty nice, right?

Drawbacks

  • Eligibility: Earnin does not work for everyone and every job. To use Earnin, you need to show that you have a consistent stream of income that goes into your bank account through direct deposit. However, not every job pays their workers like this, so there’s a chance you will not be eligible to use Earnin. Likewise, if you are a student or someone just trying to get some extra cash, you may be working a side gig like working for Postmates or Lyft. Unless you drive for Uber, you probably won’t be able to get a payday advance through Earnin if a company like this is your primary source of cash. 
  • Privacy: Privacy and user data is a very controversial idea these days. If you are someone who does not trust companies or apps to access a lot of your information, Earnin may not be the app for you. Along with giving Earnin access to your bank account, you will continuously need to upload your timesheet or choose “automatic earnings” in which Earnin tracks you to see how long you were at work. 
  • Limited Advances: You can only get cash once every pay period with Earnin, which can be anywhere from once every two weeks, month, or three months, depending on how you get paid by your employer. The only problem with this is you may need access to borrowing cash more than once per pay period. Likewise, you have a borrowing limit up to $100 for the first few times you get advances from Earnin. If you need any more than that, you may be out of luck. While a company like Possible could give you another loan as soon as you pay your previous one-off, Earnin does not let you. 
  • Transparency: This is Earnin’s biggest problem. Earnin claims to be a normal payday advance app that allows you to get your paycheck early. They do so by “not charging” interest or fees but instead asking that the user pays in tips. In reality, this is not as friendly as it may seem and this arguably makes Earnin closer to traditional payday lenders than a payday advance app. Earnin’s suggested tips can make your cash advances equate to nearly 700% in APR ,which is on par with or even more than many of the untrustworthy payday lenders. Earnin was even investigated and subpoenaed by the state of New York over its sketchy business model. More on customers claiming Earnin is taking advantage of them is reported on an NBC news article here.

Need cash before your next paycheck? Give Possible a try.

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Dave

Dave is a popular app that is somewhat similar to Earnin but differs in some key categories. Dave’s main product is that it is a payday advance app. Dave is technically a digital bank backed by Shark Tank executive and Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban. Now valued at around $1.2 billion, Dave has around 7 million current users and attracts more and more customers every day that want to switch to online banking. 

When we say Dave is an online bank, it is not necessarily a “bank” like Chime or Ally Bank. Like typical banks, Dave offers you a free checking account, along with many other financial services that can cover most of your financial needs. However, like in-person banks or some online banks, Dave will not offer you large personal loans or individual retirement accounts.

Like Earnin, Dave’s main product offers you a way to avoid overdrafting your bank account and having to pay overdraft fees or interest. Dave allows you to have access to your paycheck about 2 days before payday. You can access this payday advance feature and many other financial services within Dave for a small monthly fee of $1 a month. Great deal, right?

Let’s take a closer look at some of Dave’s main features and drawbacks so we can get the whole picture of Dave. 

Features

  • Low Cost: Like Earnin, Dave has an extremely low cost for its services. With Dave, you will not be charged any interest or any additional fees for getting payday advances. Instead, all you need to do is pay the small price of $1 a month. Pretty neat, right? Likewise, there are roughly 32,000 ATMs around the country where you can withdraw your cash from without an ATM fee. Unfortunately, Dave takes a long time to give you your money (which we will discuss later) and there is a somewhat hefty “disbursement” fee if you want to get your money to you faster. The fee ranges from $2 to $5 depending on how large your advance is.
  • Building Credit: Another cool feature from Dave is that if you choose to bank with Dave, it can help you build your credit by reporting your rent payments to credit bureaus. By partnering with LevelCredit, Dave automatically reports your payments to these bureaus and in turn can help boost your credit score over time! 
  • Budgeting: Budgeting is an essential aspect of personal finances, especially if you struggle to get by from paycheck to paycheck. Dave incorporates budgeting into its banking services to make sure its customers can be on top of their finances. Having a budgeting feature included with many other banking services that Dave brings to the table can be a great way to keep all of your finances in one place and be very organized. If you choose to use Dave, we highly recommend you make the most out of this budgeting feature and incorporate it into your personal finances. 

Drawbacks

  • Low Withdrawal Amount: With Earnin, you can only get an advance of $100 for the first few times you request an advance. Later on, you can receive up to $500. However, with Dave, your maximum withdrawal amount is always $100. While it might not matter if you use Dave to finance some of your smaller purchases or bills, there’s a great chance that $100 is not always enough. In this case, Dave is not for you, and you should look for resources that can offer you more, such as Possible. 
  • Delivery Time: One disappointing aspect of Dave is how long it can take for you to get the money you need. In situations where you may need Dave, you likely need quick cash to make a payment before payday. Unfortunately, with Dave, this process of getting your money can take up to 3 business days unless you pay $4.99 to have it delivered about 8 hours later. Essentially, if you do not want to have to pay, you have to anticipate your expenses up to 3 days in advance, or you will be out of luck. We all know that life is not that simple, and expenses can pop up that need paying right away and cannot wait 3 days. In a situation like this, Dave is not your best option at all. 
  • Transparency: Like Earnin, Dave has transparency problems. Primarily, Dave disguises its costs as things such as tips and membership fees that may not seem like a lot. Giving a tip to Dave seems oddly too easy and in reality, the membership fee and a tip can give Dave’s advances a pretty large APR. For example, a 10% tip on a $75 advance along with the membership fee could make the APR for that advance more than 300%. That 300% does not even include the disbursement fee either! Quite large for a company that basically seems free on the surface. Further, Dave quietly had a security breach of about 7.5 million users’ data which they are now being sued for. Dave reportedly disregarded customers’ data rights. Dave and the other third party users they work with were found to have taken negligent measures when it came to protecting their customer’s security. 

An Alternative to Dave and Earnin: Possible Finance

Earnin and Dave are undoubtedly innovative and helpful pay advance apps that can aid you in a financial jam. Likewise, they respectively contain great financial features that can help you control your personal finances. However, these two apps are not the whole picture. If the drawbacks we discussed for Earnin and Dave have convinced you to look elsewhere, look for Possible Finance as a superior alternative to both Earnin and Dave. 

Possible’s loans combine many of the best aspects of Dave and Earnin’s payday advances. For example, Possible offers loans like installment loans that are better alternatives to traditional payday loans. These installment loans are paid back over long repayment periods, and if you are ever struggling with your payment, you can extend your payment up to 29 days right within our app. These loans can be up to $500, and you can have the money in your bank account within minutes and at no cost, which are both things Dave and Earnin cannot necessarily provide. 

The main thing that separates us from these two companies is our transparency. Unlike Dave and Earnin, Possible is fully transparent with our fees and our interest and it is not disguised in the form of tips, disbursement fees, subscription fees, and so on. Possible clearly offers loans, and as a result we took the right approach of being completely transparent and legal. We are fully licensed in the states we operate in. Dave and Earnin on the other hand bury their costs under terms like “tips.” As a result, these two companies can operate in any state as they skirt around the laws. In reality, they work like traditional payday lenders and are even more expensive sometimes, yet they still avoid the law. 

As a result of this lack of transparency and consideration for the law, Dave and Earnin are beginning to feel the consequences. On the other hand, Possible remains transparent with our customers and the law and we remain clean today. 

Our APR is exceptionally competitive and can even beat the high APR that can be associated with Dave and Earnin’s advances. Our loans are comparatively more straightforward to pay off than traditional lenders. We offer these loans to customers with poor credit. If you successfully pay off your loan, we report your payments to the credit bureaus, and your score will rise!


At Possible, we want to go against the grain of traditional payday lenders as well as Dave and Earnin with their predatory practices. We want to provide our customers with financial fairness and add value for them by providing loans and building their credit the right way. We feel that we offer a superior product than apps like Dave and Earnin and we want to prove it to you. Download our app today and get started with your loan so you can be on your way to building your credit!

Michael Collins

Michael has a passion for writing and has since brought that passion to Possible. He enjoys reading everything there is to know about film, sports, and finance. His studies in college allow him to be on the forefront of business knowledge so he can better inform his readers.

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