PayActiv Review 2022: Cash Advances With No Interest

GOBankingRates Score

4.7
Quick Take: PayActiv is a unique app and a prepaid debit card that seeks to serve the country's estimated 7.1 million unbanked households with a variety of financial tools, including cash advances of up to 50% on their paychecks. PayActiv is touted as the first Early Wage Access program approved by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • Fees
    4.9
  • Features
    4.5
  • Security
    5.0
  • Customer Service
    4.5
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Send and receive money
  • Pay bills
  • Access your paycheck up to 2 days early or get a cash advance even sooner
  • No activation or monthly maintenance fees
  • Gain financial insights and access to money management tools through the app
  • Funds up to $250,000 protected through the FDIC-approved Central Bank of Kansas City

Cons

  • Some features may have associated fees
  • Can only access 50% of your net pay as an advance
  • Some features are only available if your employer is part of the PayActiv EWA program

PayActiv Overview

PayActiv is the first Early Wage Access program approved by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. As such, it permits employees to access up to 50% of their paycheck prior to payday. PayActiv is not a credit card or a payday loan company. There are no fees or interest charges associated with your payday cash advance.

Described as an all-in-one digital wallet on the PayActiv website, the service provides users with a free Visa prepaid card, money management tools and the ability to access 50% of your money as it is earned instead of waiting until the end of your pay period when you receive your check or direct deposit.

Key Features

PayActiv earned its 4.7 score from GOBankingRates based on the following features.

Fees

In this era when so many consumers are looking for fee-free banking, many also expect other financial services to come without fees or interest charges. And PayActiv comes close, which is why it earned a 4.9 rating in this category.

There is no fee to load money on your prepaid Visa card or to use your card in many locations, including at 37,000 MoneyPass ATMs across the country.

There are no monthly maintenance fees to have a PayActiv account and no activation fees. Perhaps most importantly, you can take a cash advance of up to 50% on your earned pay with no fees or interest charges.

However, you will pay a fee of up to $1 per day, capped at $5 per month, each time you use the program to make a bank transfer, load your card, pay a bill using your prepaid Visa or use the money for Uber or Amazon. You’ll also pay a $1.99 fee if you are picking up a cash advance at a Walmart Money Center.

When compared to the high interest rates of a payday loan or taking out a cash advance on a credit card, however, PayActiv fees are minimal.

Features

PayActiv is a robust financial app, with features that includes automated savings — if your PayActiv Visa card is linked to a bank account — low balance alerts and capabilities to send money to friends and family who also have PayActiv cards for free.

What stands out about PayActiv is the ability to receive up to 50% of your earned net pay each period as a cash advance. However, this Earned Wage Access — the key selling point of the PayActiv app — is only available if your employer also participates in the program.

Security

Of course, a key consideration when you’re using any financial technology or carrying a new debit card is: How is the security?

There are two levels to consider in examining the safety and security features of PayActiv: protection of your money and protection of your financial information. PayActiv achieves high marks in both areas.

First, since the money in your PayActiv account is held by Central Bank of Kansas City, an FDIC-insured institution, your money up to $250,000 is protected.

The PayActiv debit card carries Visa’s Zero Liability fraud protection, which may protect you in the event of fraud and unauthorized use of your card. You can also easily lock lost or stolen cards.

The PayActiv app uses secure encryption and transmission technology to protect your data.

Customer Service

PayActiv offers a toll-free customer service phone number to call for support and also has an online live chat and an email for those who prefer not to speak on the phone. Live support is available 24/7/365 online or by phone, according to the PayActiv website.

PayActiv is accredited by the Better Business Bureau with a B, which is typically an indication of good customer service. But it also has 116 complaints on the website and received only 2.63 stars from BBB customer reviews. However, it did earn a TrustPilot score of 3.3.

The app is high-rated on the App Store and Google Play store. Customer complaints are largely related to technical glitches that leave people unable to access their funds or manage their money.

How PayActiv Stands Out

PayActiv is the first Early Wage Access program approved by the CFPB and is used by many employers across the U.S., including Walmart, Uber, Pizza Hut, Subway and Neiman Marcus.

It requires no credit check to access funds, and the amount you can withdraw is based on the pay you’ve earned. Using PayActiv is free for many services, including withdrawing funds from a partnered ATM.

Comparable Cash Advance Options

There are many popular cash advance apps available today that can help people avoid high-interest credit card cash advances or predatory payday loans. If your employer does not use PayActiv, you may be better off with a different option.

Empower

The Empower app offers fee-free cash advances between $25 and $250 to users, along with a cashback debit card.

One drawback is that Empower charges an $8 monthly fee. However, there are very few additional fees. There is a $12 fee if you need an immediate cash advance; otherwise, your money will be available in your linked bank account within a few days.

Dave App

The Dave mobile banking app is another app that allows cash advances of up to $500 with no credit check required, no interest charges and no late fees. You can withdraw funds using your Dave debit card from any of the 32,000 MoneyPass ATMs nationwide.

Dave charges a $1 per month membership fee, which is much lower than Empower. You may even pay less for Dave than you would with PayActiv, depending on the PayActiv services you use each month.

Like Empower and PayActiv, Dave also offers money management features. Dave has a unique feature that helps you find side gigs to earn a little extra cash, which can help if you are consistently running short before payday.

How To Apply

Applying for PayActiv is easy. If your employer is already a member, you’ll need to ask them to set you up with a PayActiv account. If you’re interested in joining PayActiv on your own, you’ll just need to download the app and create an account with your name, phone number and email.

PayActiv works best with a linked bank account, but it’s not necessary to have a bank to have funds preloaded onto your PayActiv prepaid Visa and use your Visa card for bill paying, purchases and more.

Who PayActiv Is Best For

PayActiv is best for workers whose employers are already using the service, as it is a free and easy way to spend your pay as you earn it, without waiting for your next paycheck.

Final Take

PayActiv is a revolutionary fintech company providing a needed service for many workers who need just a little help getting from paycheck to paycheck. With low fees and no interest charges, plus robust features that help you manage your money, PayActiv can help you take better control of your financial future.

FAQ

  • How long does it take to get money from PayActiv?
    • If you're transferring money to your PayActiv prepaid Visa, you should receive the funds instantly. Transfers to bank accounts and other debit or prepaid cards will be complete within 48 hours, or you can pay a $1.99 fee to receive the money instantly.
  • How does PayActiv work?
    • PayActive interfaces with your employer's time and attendance system to make your pay available as it is earned, rather than waiting until payday. You can receive a cash advance of up to 50% of a day's pay. Money accessed through PayActiv will show as a deduction on your next paycheck.
  • Does PayActiv give cash advance?
    • Yes. Workers whose employers are part of the PayActiv EWA program can receive a cash advance of up to 50% of their pay earned. Direct deposits of paychecks may also appear on the PayActiv debit card up to 2 days before they would normally be processed.
  • How many times can you use PayActiv in a pay period?
    • You can make up to three cash advance transactions per pay period.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by PayActive, Empower or Dave. 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 PayActive, Empower or Dave.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.

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