Sometimes you’re a little short on cash and your payday is just days away. What financial tool could help you in such a situation? The Earnin app could be the solution to help you stay on track with your finances.

A alternative to payday loans, the Earnin app promises to give you “access to the salary you’ve earned, whenever you want it.” Let’s move on to our Earnin app review and find out if this new service can help you when you’re a bit short on cash.

To win

Payday advance loans

Main characteristics

  • Borrow up to $500/pay period and up to $100/day
  • Instantly cash out your loan (fees apply)
  • Works on voluntary tips, so no mandatory fees

Earnin is a payday loan alternative that allows you to get an advance on your salary without exorbitant interest rates. You set up payday advances through the app and only pay tips, which are optional.

Service charge

Tipping optional from $0 to $14. There is a fee of up to $3.99 to cash out your loan instantly.

Maximum loan

Up to $500 per pay period

transfer time

In minutes) with a service fee of up to $3.99 or a free bank transfer that can take up to three days.


No credit check required. Must have direct deposit with a regular payroll schedule.

What is the Earnin app?

Earnin, officially known as ActiveHours, is a payday advance service that aims to bring you the money you’ve earned before your payday. We have already seen these types of services in the form of terrible payday loans. You need more money before your salary arrives, so you borrow money from a service that then charges you usually outrageous interest rates.

This is where Earnin stands out; the interesting catch is that you don’t have to pay anything for the service as the whole business model is based on voluntary tipping. Seriously; you can request to borrow up to $500 before your next paycheck, then when you get paid, Earnin automatically withdraws the borrowed money from your bank account.

But, is it easy to get money from the Earnin app, do you need to be qualified to use the service, and is it really better than the cost of a payday loan? Read on as we explore exactly how the Earnin app works.

How does the Earnin app work?

The Earnin app works by analyzing how long you work and giving you quick access to your paycheck before your typical payday. Let’s explore some of the basic concepts of the Earnin app to help you better understand if it’s the right service for you.

We’ve answered some of the most common questions users have about Earnin, and hands-on the app to form our own opinion.

How do you qualify for the Earnin application?

Don’t worry, Earnin doesn’t track your credit score like a personal loan or payday loan. In fact, Earnin plays the financial game a little differently in several ways. The Earnin app just needs to know that you have a job with a regular pay schedule to qualify. But how does Earnin know you’re working?

When you join Earnin, you must connect the service to your current account. From there, Earnin will be able to see exactly how much you earn, well, by direct deposit.

You will need to ensure that more than 50% of your direct deposit is sent to a current account. If that’s not the case, for example, you get paid via old-fashioned paper checks or split your salary between multiple checking accounts, the Earnin app isn’t for you, sorry folks.

Pro tip

If you’re not comfortable with an app that tracks your workplace or has access to your bank account number, you might want to find an alternative to Earnin.

Then you’ll need a consistent pay period, as we mentioned, like getting paid weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly (a paycheck-to-paycheck cycle ). If you have an irregular pay schedule or are not paid regularly, as in the scenario with many freelancersyou will not be eligible for the service.

Finally, you’ll need a fixed workplace (like a physical office building), an online timekeeping system, or a paper timesheet. Earnin needs to know you’re going to work one way or another, either by tracking your time in the office through the smartphone app or by checking official records.

How much does the Earnin app cost?

Earnin has no mandatory fees and relies on voluntary tips from the community – seriously, there’s no trick here. When you choose to borrow money from the service, you can choose to tip up to $14 or not tip at all; it’s your call.

The tips help keep the service running smoothly, and apparently the company has been working well on this model since its inception in 2013. It’s a pretty reputable payday loan alternative!

What we can say for sure is that in our testing we were happy to tip a few dollars to the service as a voluntary “thank you” and the tip amount was a much lower percentage than the loan services on typical salary.

But, if you don’t want to tip anything, you are free to do so. It’s also essential to note that your tipping rate does not affect your Max, the maximum amount of money you can request to borrow per pay period. But, speaking of your Max…

How much can I borrow on the Earnin app?

The Earnin app has two maximums that you should keep in mind. The first Max is your Daily Max, which is the same for all members – $100. Members cannot request to borrow more than $100 per day from Earnin.

The second maximum is your maximum pay period, and it dictates how much money you can borrow between pay periods. Depending on several factors, your maximum pay period can vary from $50 to $500.

Earnin isn’t 100% upfront with how they calculate your maximum pay period; the company simply states that “your Max pay period is determined based on a number of factors which we believe relate to an assessment of your financial health.”

There are a few clues about what determines your financial health, such as how often you maintain a positive checking account balance, whether you spend less money than you earn, and whether you repay loaned money on time.

Overall, Earnin’s financial health criteria don’t seem much different from what we’re suggesting with a good personal finance plan– just avoid those bad financial habits to increase your pay period limit.

How long does it take to get money with Earnin?

If you want to get some quick cash from the Earnin app, you’ll want to sign up for the Lightning Speed ​​feature, which simply involves linking an eligible debit card to your account. With a debit card attached to Earnin, you can request and access cash in minutes.

If you choose to use Lightning Speed, you’ll be charged a fee (it’s one of the few fees for the service) for your convenience. The fees for using the service range from $1.99 to $3.99, depending on the amount of money you are trying to withdraw to your bank account.

If you don’t have access to the Lightning Speed ​​feature or don’t want to use it to avoid fees, your loan transfer will take the industry standard 1-3 business days to be transferred to your account. fluent. So you’ll have to decide which is more important, saving a few dollars or having instant access to your loan.

Earnin App Alternatives

If you’re not too fond of the Earnin app, there are a few other non-personal loan alternatives you might want to try instead. However, we also have a list of personal loans you may want to consider, if applicable.

Here are two options we recommend alongside Earnin so you can find the best app to lend you some cash before your next payday.

Earnings Alternatives

Details To win David Brigitte
Cost of using The service works with optional tips from $0 to $14. The service operates with optional tips, plus a $1/month fee. $9.99/month. Includes construction credit services.
Maximum loan Set individually by Earnin, up to $500/pay period. Individually set by Dave, up to $250/pay period. Individually set by Brigit, up to $250/pay period.
transfer time Instant with fees or bank transfer up to 3 days. Instant with fees or bank transfer up to 3 days. Same day bank transfer, up to two days.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What happens if you can’t repay Earnin?

You will not be able to use the Earnin service in the future until the overdue amount has been repaid. Additionally, failure to repay Earnin could impact your overall maximum loan amount if you choose to use the service again.

Does Earnin call your employer?

No, Earnin never contacts your employer. Earnin is not associated with or working with your employer. You are free to use the Earnin application without your employer being informed.

Does the Earnin app affect credit score?

No, Earnin does not affect your credit score in any way, unlike a traditional payday loan. Additionally, Earnin does not use your credit score information in its eligibility decision.

What is the Earnin App Balance Shield?

The Earnin app offers a feature known as Balance Shield. If you activate the Shield of Balance for your account, Earnin will automatically grant you a loan if it believes that your bank account balance is about to become negative.

Michael Archambault is a senior technology writer for The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally posted on The Penny Hoardera personal finance website that empowers millions of readers across the country to make smart decisions with their money with practical, inspirational advice and resources on how to earn, save and manage the money.