Earnin Review: What To Know About the Paycheck Advance App

GOBankingRates Score

4.6
Quick Take: Earnin aims to give consumers access to the pay they've earned without waiting for payday. It provides employees from a wide range of industries with real-time access to what they have earned. To use the service, you'll need three things: a steady paycheck, a checking account and a smartphone.
  • Loan Amount
    4.0
  • Fees
    5.0
  • Features
    4.5
  • Security
    4.7
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Offers quick access to available earnings
  • No penalties or interest
  • No mandatory fees

Cons

  • Low daily and pay period maximums

Earnin Overview

According to its website, Earnin was “born out of a clear need to change a financial system that leaves millions of people behind.” With Earnin, you can cash out up to $100 per day and Earnin withdraws it (plus any tips you give) from your bank account on your payday. Use Earnin and you won’t have to pay interest, any mandatory fees or costs. Instead, the company relies on its customers tipping an amount they feel is fair when they use the app.

Key Features of Earnin

Here’s a look at the features you should consider to help you decide whether Earnin suits your needs.

Loan Amount

You’ll start with a maximum of $100 you can cash out per pay period, but as you use the app — and pay back what you borrowed — you can increase that to up to $500. All members have a cash out maximum of $100 per day. Again: You are obligated to pay back only what you borrowed.

Fees

Earnin doesn’t charge any interest or mandatory fees — and it’s 100% free to use the app. Members are asked to leave a tip that they feel is fair for getting their money early.

Features

The Earnin Express feature enables members to possibly gain access to a higher pay period max of $1,000 or up to 80% of their paycheck, whichever is less. In addition, you can get paid early by routing your paychecks through the company. When you use Earnin Express, Earnin deducts your Cash Outs and tips from the check you routed through it. It then sends anything left over to your linked bank account via its Lightning Speed feature, which gets you your money in minutes instead of days.

If you enroll in the Balance Shield Cash Outs feature and your bank account dips below a certain amount, Earnin automatically sends you up to $100.

Security

Earnin never sells your data and uses it in accordance with its privacy policy. You won’t have to supply your Social Security number unless you enroll in Earnin Express. Additionally, the company won’t make an inquiry on your credit report, so your credit score won’t take a hit.

Earnin further protects its customers by using data encryption technology, which ensures users’ account information remains private and secure.

How Earnin Stands Out

Earnin offers users quick access to their money, in some cases within minutes of the request (if you enroll in the Lightning Speed program). It’s easy to use, and customers can check their earnings on the app’s dashboard and set up updates for which they want to receive notifications. It’s a great alternative to a predatory payday loan.

Comparable Options

Here’s a look at alternatives you might consider so you can decide whether Earnin or another option is best for you.

Dave

Dave enables you to get your paycheck up to two days early and take out a no-interest cash advance of up to $500. With the Dave Spending account, you’ll never pay overdraft, minimum balance or ATM fees (you must use one of the 32,000 MoneyPass ATMs). Another feature that Dave offers is the option to receive notifications if you are close to overdrawing your account. Dave isn’t completely free, however; it charges a $1 monthly membership fee.

Branch

Branch works with some employers to enable employees to get up to 50% of their paycheck early. You can wait three days and not pay any fee or pay for faster delivery. CashFlow is the app’s overview of your upcoming payments and expenses, which you can use to monitor your finances, and it will send you a low balance alert if you come close to overdrawing your account.

How To Use Earnin

It’s a simple platform to use: Once you download the app, you just connect to your checking account and add your employment information so the company knows when you get paid. Then, you add your earnings to the app via its Automagic Earnings feature, by submitting an electronic timesheet or by signing up with your work email address.

The Earnin website breaks down exactly how to use the app in three steps:

  1. Navigate to the home screen of the Earnin app.
  2. Tap the “CASH OUT” button once you’ve made sure you have earnings in your account and you haven’t reached your daily or pay period maximum.
  3. Wait for the money to hit your account within two to three business days.

Who Earnin Is Best For 

Earnin works if you have a regular pay date, and it’s best for workers who get paid by the hour and want to avoid fees and taking out a costly cash advance. If you don’t have a regular pay date, however, you should look elsewhere.

Final Take

If you’re out of money but know you’re getting paid, borrowing on that future paycheck is a pretty good deal with Earnin. It’s totally free and easy to do, and it doesn’t take advantage of you by charging high interest rates and fees like payday loans.

Earnin FAQ

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about Earnin.
  • What is the catch with Earnin?
    • Only certain types of workers can use Earnin: on-demand, salaried or hourly. That means if you're a freelancer it's not for you. In addition, you must get your paycheck by direct deposit to use Earnin, as it needs to track your work hours.
  • Does Earnin give you $100?
    • If you ask to cash out $100, you'll get exactly that — unless you add an optional tip. Earnin will deduct that $100 (plus any tip you give) once you get paid. Quickly receive your hard-earned cash ahead of payday, right to your bank account. 
  • Is Earnin a payday loan?
    • Earnin is not a payday loan. It charges no mandatory fees or interest, unlike payday loans, which charge very high interest rates and fees. Instead, Earnin asks members to leave tips they feel are fair for getting early access to their money.
  • Is Earnin legitimate?
    • Yes, Earnin is absolutely a legitimate app. Although it might seem odd that you can use it for free, the company makes money via different avenues and through tips from customers who want to pay it forward.

Information is accurate as of July 12, 2022.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Earnin. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Earnin.

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About the Author

Barri Segal has 20+ years of experience in the publishing and advertising industries, writing and editing for all styles, genres, mediums, and audiences. She has been writing on personal finance topics for 12 years and gains great satisfaction from making a difference in consumers’ lives.

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