Banking

MoneyLion’s Instacash review: Get cash advances up to $250 with no interest or credit check

When unplanned expenses appear, access to instant cash can seem ideal, yet it often comes at a price. As a result, many turn to taking out a cash advance, which entails borrowing money against a credit card’s line of credit.

Though this is convenient, it’s a costly move given the high interest rate you’ll have to pay on top of the cash advance fee, which is typically 3% or 5% of the total amount of each cash advance you request.

Fintech company and mobile app MoneyLion® offers one way to skirt around this with its Instacash℠ feature, which lets users get cash fast with cash advances up to $250 at once with zero interest obligations.

Below, Select breaks down how Instacash advances work, plus the kinds of fees you can expect.

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How Instacash advances work

Instacash is accessed through the MoneyLion app. Users should see an “Instacash” button option when they open the home screen of the app, which they can click on and “request” the amount of cash they’d like, as well as how soon they want the funds transferred to them.

Note that you do need to link a checking account in order to qualify for interest-free cash advances. The key is that one’s checking account needs to technically “qualify,” too, which essentially means having any sort of income or recurring deposits. It also needs to have been open for at least two months, with a history of consistent income deposits and a positive balance, and be active.

At first, users will be able to get a cash advance of $25 minimum — if MoneyLion can detect recurring deposits in one’s linked checking account, these can be at least $50 and up to $250. Those who choose to link MoneyLion’s checking account RoarMoney℠ or opt to become a MoneyLion Credit Builder Plus member can get up to $300.

Being eligible for the maximum amount of Instacash can take three to eight weeks, however. A user’s Instacash advance will never be more than 50% of their anticipated recurring direct deposit amount per deposit period. Users can get access to higher cash advances when their direct deposit amounts are higher and more consistent.

When requesting an Instacash advance, there is no credit pull or credit check so your credit won’t be affected.

Repaying an Instacash advance

To repay the Instacash advance, the money you borrowed will be automatically deducted (with zero interest) from your RoarMoney or external checking account on the due date determined by your recurring direct deposit cycle, which is usually in about two weeks.

If there is not enough cash in your checking account to cover what you owe, Instacash will only deduct a partial repayment and try again when you have a balance or when the next direct deposit hits. Users can also choose to manually repay their cash advance in the MoneyLion app.

Once your repay your last cash advance, you can get another one as long as you still meet the eligibility requirements.

Fees

On top of there being no interest, there’s also no monthly fee required to access Instacash advances — you could end up paying a fee if you need your funds super fast, however.

Standard regular delivery takes 12 to 48 hours for cash advance funds to be deposited into a MoneyLion RoarMoney account and three to five business days to appear in an external checking account. To otherwise get your funds almost immediately through MoneyLion’s “turbo delivery,” there is a fee ranging from $0.99 to $7.99, depending on the disbursement amount and whether the funds are going into a RoarMoney checking account or an external checking account.

Alternatives to cash advances

LightStream Personal Loans

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    4.99% to 19.99%* when you sign up for autopay

  • Loan purpose

    Debt consolidation, home improvement, auto financing, medical expenses, wedding and others

  • Loan amounts

  • Terms

  • Credit needed

  • Origination fee

  • Early payoff penalty

  • Late fee

Avant Personal Loans

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

  • Loan purpose

    Debt consolidation, major expenses, emergency costs, home improvements

  • Loan amounts

  • Terms

  • Credit needed

  • Origination fee

  • Early payoff penalty

  • Late fee

    Up to $25 per late payment after 10-day grace period

However, note that you’ll have to pay interest if you take out a personal loan and some may even charge origination and late payment fees. Keep this in mind when considering how much money you need to borrow.

Bottom line

MoneyLion’s Instacash feature provides a fairly quick way to secure funds for unexpected expenses without having to worry about being charged interest. The product will only best serve those who have recurring deposits of cash, however, since that’s how one qualifies – and because the repayment of the cash advance typically takes places in two weeks, after borrowing. It’s a good option when you’re in a bind but expecting incoming money soon.

Alternatively, those who need cash fast but with a longer repayment period should consider taking out a personal loan. While you’ll have to pay interest on a personal loan, you can borrow more money than you can with Instacash and you’ll have a longer time frame to pay it off.

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.




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