Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank

Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank

5. Empower

With Empower, you can get an interest-free advance of $25 to $250* There are no late fees and no credit checks. You can have the money sent instantly to your external bank account for a small fee or to the Empower Card (discussed below) for free.

However, Empower is more than just a payroll advance app. Get the only card you’ll ever need with a suite of benefits that helps you feel more secure in between paychecks. The Empower Card has benefits tailor-made for you:

  • Empower Perks. Get up to 10% cashback** on places and things you spend money on already. Simply activate your preferred Perk and use your Empower Card at qualifying merchants.
  • Early Paycheck Deposit. You can get access to your paycheck up to two days faster^ by having it deposited into your Empower Card account. This is a separate feature from the payroll advance. It works just like the same feature in Wealthfront and Varo (discussed below).
  • Free ATMs. Get free unlimited access to over 37,000 MoneyPass ATMs across the US.
  • Maximum flexibility. There’s no overdraft fees, no insufficient funds fees, and no account minimums.

Empower also has an Automatic Savings feature. The app tracks your income and expenses and uses that information to transfer money to your AutoSave Account. It sets aside more money when your balance is high and less when your expenses increase. It keeps doing this every day until you hit your designated weekly savings goal.

You can use Empower as a budgeting app too. The app suggests an overall spending limit based on your income, and you decide how much of that limit to devote to specific budget categories. Empower sends you alerts when your spending in a given category is about to go over the limit. It also provides monthly reports that show how much you spend in each category.

Empower is free for the first 14 days for first-time customers. After that, it charges a fee of $8 per month. To qualify for Empower Cash Advance, Empower considers a number of variables including regular direct deposits and account history and activity.

6. SoFi Money

Like Chime and Axos, SoFi Money gives you access to your pay up to two days early with direct deposit. However, SoFi Money isn’t a bank account. Instead, it’s a cash management account at a brokerage that offers many of the same benefits as a bank, including FDIC insurance, bill payment, checks, and person-to-person transfers.

  • No Account Fees. SoFi Money charges no monthly fees, no minimum balance fees, and no overdraft fees. It also gives you fee-free access to a network of over 55,000 ATMs.
  • Free Overdraft Coverage. Your SoFi Money account will cover accidental overdrafts of up to $50 with no fee. You must sign up for direct deposit to get this benefit.
  • Interest. With SoFi Money, your savings earn 0.25% APY – six times the national average. To get this rate, you must make direct deposits of at least $500 monthly.
  • Cash Back Rewards. You can earn cash back rewards of up to 15% when you make payments from your SoFi Money account. Rewards are available at a rotating selection of your favorite brands and merchants.
  • Vaults. With the Vaults feature, you can lock away savings that you don’t want to use for your everyday expenses. For instance, suppose you want to save for a down payment on a house. You can set up a Vault for this purpose, make regular monthly deposits into it, and track your progress toward your goal. You can have up to 20 Vaults at a time.

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