Dave App 2021 Review: Paycheck Advance Tool

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Quick Take: Dave is an app designed to make your financial life more certain and reduce potential banking fees. You can get paycheck advances, improve your credit and manage your regular checking account all through the Dave App.
  • Cost
  • Unique Usefulness
  • Financial Planning Options
  • App Design
How did we calculate this?


  • Get up to $200 right when you need it most
  • Ditch overdraft fees and get a paycheck advance for free
  • App sends notifications to alert low balance and prevent potential overdraft


  • It may not be enough to cover unexpected emergency costs
  • You still need to keep track of when extra bills come in to make sure your advance from Dave is adequate to cover them
  • You need to receive direct deposits in your Dave account or link a bank account to get approved for an advance

Dave App Review

Unexpected bills and misaligned paycheck deposits happen to the best of us. Once upon a time, you may have faced a hefty overdraft fee or a bounced check, but fintech apps like Dave make it possible to get a paycheck advance without extra costs and avoid overdraft fees.

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As a cash advance, you are expected to pay it back. Though you pay nothing to access the money, you do not get to keep it indefinitely.

Dave keeps track of your spending habits and predicts what your balance likely will be before payday. It also sends you an alert notification if you are in danger of an overdraft on your account.


The Dave app has several banking features that you can use to improve your overall financial stability all at once. The popularity of these features is evident in Dave’s popularity — the app boasts over 10 million users.

Paycheck Advance

The paycheck advance option is the most attractive feature on the Dave app, offering up to $200 free to users to cover a gap in income while waiting for their paycheck. You can qualify for $200 if you get your direct deposits straight to your Dave account, or $100 when you link an external bank account.

Make Your Money Work For You

Balance Warnings

To help prevent the need for a paycheck advance, balance warnings are also built into the Dave app. These help users guesstimate how long their remaining funds will last so that they do not overspend before payday.

LevelCredit Partnership

It can be hard to build your credit if you are limited to debit cards. That’s why Dave works with LevelCredit to report your rent and utility payments to credit bureaus. This can help improve your credit score.

Tipping Instead of Fees

You never have to pay a single fee to make use of the Dave app’s paycheck advance tool. Instead, tipping options are built into the app so that users can pay what they feel services are worth.

The Small Print of Using the Dave App

Dave is not just handing out crisp Benjamins, though. As a cash advance on an expected paycheck, your account will be debited the amount once you reach your set payback date. This date is typically your upcoming payday. Alternatively, you can pay back the fee sooner if you have the funds.

Make Your Money Work For You

Adjusting tipping is possible in the app, though users should be aware that 10% is the default tip. You can change the tip as needed when requesting an advance.

Dave App Cost Review

You can use the Dave app for completely free advances, but you’ll have to be strategic. You can opt not to tip to receive your advance completely free. Plan ahead and transfer the money to your account a few days ahead of when you will need it to avoid instant transfer fees.

It takes up to three business days to receive your paycheck advance for free. If you need it faster, there is a fee.

A $1 per month subscription fee is associated with your Dave account. However, you can waive this for some months when you use the Dave debit card to buy things at partner businesses like GNC.

Good To Know

Doing the math on the Dave app is important. If you qualify for credit cards, you may find better coverage between bill due dates and payday by using your cards even if you end up paying interest. Credit card interest rates average around 16% annual percentage rating, but calculating the APR of using the tip function on Dave shows it could bring costs up to over 300% APR which is not dissimilar from payday loans.

Who Should Use the Dave App?

In the exact right circumstances, the Dave app can be the difference between getting slapped with fees and bridging the days between bills being due and your paycheck clearing. But for any significant financial issues, Dave will barely act as a bandaid.

If you miscalculated your payment schedules this month and need $200 or less to mend a gap of several days between your bill due dates and your pay arriving, Dave can make sure you’ve got cash in your pocket. Otherwise, turn to some substantial budget and credit options.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

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About the Author

Emily Cahill is a writer with over three years of experience creating digital content. Previous to that, she worked as a freelancer in publishing while attending Trinity College for English/Rhetoric. She specializes in SEO-driven content that highlights the unique properties of a product or service while making them digitally “findable,” particularly for the finance, geek culture, and lifestyle niches.
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