March 7, 2022

Judging popular cash advance apps (and why they’re annoying)


Do the words “cash advance” make you cringe?

Yeah, us too.

Over the years, cash advances have gotten a bad rep putting people into debt and charging interest out the ass. Sometimes as high as 600%

That means if you borrow $100, you have to repay $600.

What the actual fuck.

You probably guessed it... we’re not big fans of payday loans. We’d much rather you download a decent money app, and try to budget in a way that makes cash advances unnecessary. 

But we realize not everyone is in that position or that surprise expenses are a real thing. If you’re responsible, it can also be much cheaper than hitting your overdraft. 

So, for those who need a cash advance, here’s our take on some of the products you might be considering.* 

What’s a cash advance and how does it work? 

A cash advance is like when you ask your parents to spot you some money – except without the disappointment.


There are hundreds of apps out there, each with it's own unique setup. Some simply send you money with a payback date and others are a bit more complicated–take salary advance or paycheck advance apps for example.

They allow you to access your paycheck before it gets deposited into your account. They do this by verifying your income or timesheets. And then once you get paid, they take back the money that was advanced to you. 

Jury selection

Because we're rating cash advance apps, we need a panel of unbiased jurors to help us do some judging. 💄

So we’ll be ranking these cash advance apps based on three criteria:

  • ABCDE F-unds: We’re talking cash. How much does it cost to sign up? And how much do you get?
  • Track star status: You need money and you need it now. How fast can they get it to you? 
  • PITA Level (pain in the ass): Pretty self-explanatory, but this is how much of a pain in the a$s it’s gonna be to get the money.
Judge Judy saying "We're going for the truth."

Please rise for Judge Cleo

Let the judging begin 🌹


Earnin is a paycheck advance/salary advance app that lets you borrow money you’ve “already made.” It works by validating your hours worked and then lending you that money before payday. And then when payday rolls around, they just deduct what you owe them. 

ABCDE F-unds

DING DING DING DING DING you’ve hit the jackpot baby 💍

Offset, from the band Migos, dancing with a lot of cash

There are no fees, no subscription costs, and no interest. The only thing they ask for is a voluntary tip—and just like you tip your Postmates delivery guy, we know you’ll be tipping Earnin too 👅

The app lets you take out a maximum of $100 a day, which is capped at $500 per pay period. That’s pretty good money if you ask us. But what's the catch… 👀

Track star status

We rate Earnin fast baby 🚀 

For no extra cost, get funds in your account within 2-3 business days or for $4 get it instantly. 

PITA level

Remember that catch we mentioned. Here it is ✨

Earnin is SOOOOOO annoying. The most annoying on this list to be honest. 

To get access to Earnin money you need to:

  1. Have over 50% of your salary directly deposited into your checking account
  2. Have a regular pay schedule (like bi-monthly, monthly, etc.)

ANDDD… here it is friends: 

  1. Submit formal timesheets of your hours worked in the app
Shane from Love is Blind Season 2 being shocked

The horror.

Ain’t nobody got time for that. 

With all that in mind… Earnin gets a ⭐⭐⭐ out of five. Their funds and speed are a *chef’s kiss,* but we can’t get over the timesheet submission. 


Daddy Dave is a cash advance app. It straight up just sends you money and you have to pay it back.

ABCDE F-unds

To access Dave’s cash advance, you have to pay $1 a month membership to access up to $250.

Sounds nice, except they buried in their help center the part where you most likely won’t get $250 your first few times.

Julia Fox in the "Uncut Gamz" Call Her Daddy Interview looking shocked
Track star status

We don’t want to call Dave a slow as hell, because we’ve seen worse, but they’re definitely slow-ish. 

For no extra cost, get your funds in 3 business days, or for a fee, get the $$$ in 8 hours. When we compare that speed to some of the others on this list, they’re in last place. 

PITA level

We think Dave is slightly annoying, but we’re not mad at them. 

To qualify for Dave you have to have at least $1000 worth of income a month deposited  into your account, and that’s about it. 

Annoying if you don’t have $1000 coming in a month, but not annoying if you do. 🥂

And for that reason they get a ⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of five.

Kyle Richards from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills shrugging her shoulders


Are Brigit and Dave siblings? Cause they literally just do the same thing and compete with each other.


Brigit calls their cash advance: “Instant Deposit,” and you can get up to $250. You most likely won’t get $250 on your first few advances, but they also buried that part in their FAQs 👅

To access their cash it costs about $10/month and you still need to meet their lengthy qualifications 🥴

  1. A checking account that you use regularly and that has at least 60 days of activity 
  2. A balance greater than $0
  3. Money leftover in your account at the end of the day and the next day after receiving your paycheck 
Track star status

She quick 💨

You can pick between two delivery options: 2-3 business days OR 20 minutes. Both at no extra cost. 

Just remember when you do pay them back, it takes about 2-5 business days for the payment to process, which means you can’t take out more money during that time. 

PITA Level

Ya she’s #annoying. 💋

We wouldn’t be upset at the monthly payment if the qualifications to access their funds were easier, but they’re not, so they get a ⭐⭐⭐ out of five. 

Christine from Selling Sunset rolling her eyes and sipping her tea

Honorable mentions

We did not include any overdraft cash spots like Chime or Current. These apps require you to open a checking account in their app and make salary deposits to use their services, and that was just way too annoying.


Closing arguments 

If you need cash and you need it now these three options are fine. They’re not as predatory as traditional payday lenders, fast, and cheaper than overdrafting.

Now some of you might be saying “Um Cleo, you’ve got a cash advance feature, why aren’t you on this list?” 

Well. It’s a feature of ours, but we don’t consider ourselves a cash advance app. We’re a money app that looks after your financial health, things like your credit score, spending habits, etc.

Getting a quick spot from Cleo is really just there to help you avoid your overdraft or tackle a surprise expense. 

It’s also different in big ways. Which you can read about here :-)

Download our app here to get a cash advance of up to $100!

*The views expressed here are Cleo’s own and are informational only. They are not intended to be recommendations. 

Read more

Life at Cleo

Learning from failure - Postmortems at Cleo

It is a truth universally acknowledged that if you develop software, things will break and go wrong. Here at Cleo, we accept that this is a part of life — but it’s important to take the time to learn and improve as a result.

Friday, March 20, 2020

signing up takes
2 minutes

Talking to Cleo and seeing a breakdown of your money.