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  • Writer's pictureBurton Kelso, Tech Expert

How To Avoid The Dangers of Cash Advance Apps

Updated: May 19

How to Avoid Virtual Kidnapping Scams.

In this day and age of layoffs and inflation, it’s been a tough few years for some of you. In times like these, cash advance services have become especially for people who need some quick money to cover unexpected expenses until your next pay period. Now, cash advance apps are making their way into the Google Play and Apple App Store. Unlike traditional cash advance services, these apps are designed to allow you to borrow small amounts of money, usually up to $500. Before you download one of these apps and start asking for cash, you should be aware of the dangers and costs that come with them. Here are some of the things you should consider before using a cash advance app.

How do Cash Advance apps work?

You typically download a cash-advance app from Google Play or Apple Store and connect your checking account. When you link your checking account, you give the app permission to have recurring direct deposits. Once you get everything setup, you can request to borrow a lump sum of money in exchange for a fee. The app then withdraws the money from your linked bank account when it’s due.

I don't recommend it, but if you decide to use a loan app, it helps if you compare the costs between several lending platforms. This will help you find an option that best fits your budget. Here is a list of eight apps that allow you to borrow money instantly.

App Max loan amounts. Fastest funding available Fees

Klover $200 Instant $1.99 –$16.78

EarnIn $100 / day $750 / pay period Instant $1.99 – $4.99

Brigit $250 Instant $0.99 – $3.99

MoneyLion $500 Instant $0.49 – $8.99

Chime $200 in overdraft protection Get paycheck 2 days early No fee

Albert $250 Instant unspecified fee

Dave $500 Instant $1.99 – $13.99

Empower $250 Instant $1 – $8

Before you use a Cash Advance app, it’s important to weigh the challenges you may face.

Privacy and security risks: Cash advance apps require access to your bank account, personal information, and location. This puts at risk for identity theft, fraud, or hacking. There's a chance some of these apps may also sell your data to third parties for marketing purposes or use it to target you with ads and offers. Make sure to read the privacy policy and terms of service of any app before you use it and verify the app has strong encryption and security measures.

No consumer protection: Cash advance apps are not regulated by the same laws that apply to banks and credit unions. This means they don't have to disclose their fees and interest rates upfront, follow fair lending practices, or offer hardship programs or payment plans. They also don't have to report your payment history to credit bureaus, which means that using these apps will not help you build your credit score.

High fees and interest rates: Some cash advance apps claim to be fee-free or charge a low flat fee, others may charge hefty fees and interest rates that can add up quickly. The average APR on an advance from these apps is 376%. Others may charge an additional monthly membership fee. When things add up, your loan could be much more expensive than you think.

Short repayment terms: Most cash advance apps require you to repay your loan on your next payday. This can put you in a cycle of debt, where you have to borrow more money to pay off your previous loan and cover your living expenses. If you fail to repay your loan on time, you may face late fees and overdraft fees, which can lead to your checking account closure.

Hopefully, this will help you get a better understanding of cash advance apps. They may seem like a convenient and easy way to get some extra cash, but they can also be a trap that can cost you more than you bargained for. Before you use one of these apps, you should explore other alternatives, such as asking for an advance from your employer, borrowing from friends or family, or seeking help from a nonprofit credit counselor or financial coach. These options may help you avoid the hidden dangers of cash advance apps and improve your financial health in the long run. If you have any questions, please reach out. I'm always available.

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