Earnin Personal Loan Review
Earnin is an app that works as a low-cost paycheck advance
Earnin is an app that allows you to borrow money against your paycheck without paying any fees or interest. If you decide to use Earnin for a personal loan, the amount you borrow will be deducted from your checking account when your next payday rolls around. If you’re curious about whether it’s right for you, our Earnin personal loan review may be able to help.
Who Is an Earnin Personal Loan Best For?
An Earnin personal loan is likely best for people who need a little cash to hold them over until their next payday. It might also make sense if you don’t have the best credit score or you’re looking for a more affordable alternative to a payday loan. An Earnin personal loan could be a good option if you:
- Have direct deposit set up through your employer
- Want to avoid potentially overdrafting your checking account
- Need to borrow a small amount of money
- Want a short-term financing solution
Choose your own fee
Can help prevent overdrafts
May work with your unemployment benefits
Not an option for all employees
Low maximum loan limits
- No interest: While other personal loans often charge interest, Earnin does not. This means you don’t have to worry about qualifying for a low interest rate with a certain credit score like you might with other personal loans.
- Choose your own fee: Personal loans and payday loans usually charge a variety of fees, but Earnin does not. Instead, it gives you the option to leave a “tip” every time you use the app. You get to choose that amount, too, and it can be $0.
- Can help prevent overdrafts: If you sign up for Earnin’s Balance Shield feature, you’ll get an alert every time your checking account balance gets low. This can help you understand whether you should cash out a small loan or wait until your account is in better standing. While Balance Shield is free like the rest of the app, tips are encouraged, though not required.
- May work with your unemployment benefits: Earnin may allow you to borrow from your upcoming unemployment benefits if the money is direct deposited into your checking account.
- Not an option for all employees: You can only use Earnin if you’ve set up direct deposit to a checking account through your employer or unemployment benefits. A consistent pay period is required as well. So if you’re a freelancer or contractor, the app may not work for you.
- Low maximum loan limits: When you first use the app, you’ll only be able to borrow up to $100. Eventually, Earnin may increase your limit up to $500, but it depends on your specific situation. There’s also the chance that your limit could decrease back to $100.
Earnin Personal Loan Rates & Terms
Earnin does not charge any interest, as the app earns money from optional tips. When you use it to draw from your upcoming paycheck, you can tip as much or as little as you’d like—that’s the fee you choose to pay, which can even be $0.
You can expect to get the cash you request in one to two business days. If you need the money sooner than that, you can sign up for the Lightning Speed program. According to Earnin, most banks work with the Lightning Speed feature (except Fidelity Investments) and it allows borrowers to transfer the money they need in minutes, even on weekends or holidays.
How Much Can You Borrow With Earnin?
With Earnin, you can borrow up to $100 during your pay cycle. If you use the app repeatedly, Earnin may allow you to borrow up to $500. Your maximum loan amount has to do with your spending habits and whether or not you have a positive bank account balance. Earnin reevaluates your maximum loan amount every pay period.
Earnin Personal Loan Fees
Earnin does not charge any fees, so you can technically use the app for free. This is a great perk, as payday loans often come with high upfront fees. The no-fee nature of Earnin makes the app a cost-effective alternative to payday loans.
Payday loans often charge a fee per every $50 or $100 borrowed, or a percentage of the total loan, and that can add up. Even if you choose to pay a “tip” on your Earnin personal loan, it may still be much less expensive than the alternative.
How to Get a Personal Loan From Earnin
To apply for an Earnin personal loan, download the app on your Apple or Android device. Once you do, follow the directions to set up your account. You’ll be asked to enter your personal information as well as bank account, paycheck, and employer details (if you have more than one employer, you’ll have to choose just one to connect to the Earnin app). It may take 48 to 72 hours for your account to be fully set up before you can request the funds you need to borrow.
If you are unemployed, you can choose that option in the app when signing up, or can update your account details if your employment situation changes. The most recent version of the app (10.40) supports unemployed individuals, and may even connect to your unemployment benefits to allow you to borrow money before it is deposited into your bank account.
The Bottom Line
If you periodically need some extra money before your next paycheck and meet the app’s eligibility requirements, you may be a good candidate for an Earnin personal loan. It can help you meet your cash-flow needs without the costly rates and fees that come with payday loans. It may even work if you’re currently receiving unemployment benefits.
Earnin is not a long-term financing option, though, so if you use the app often, take a close look at your finances and figure out what you can do to improve them. Earnin’s low maximum loan limits mean you can’t use the app if you need to borrow thousands of dollars to cover an expensive emergency expense, such as a medical bill or an automobile repair. If that’s the case, you may want to look for ways to increase your emergency savings or consider small personal loans from banks or credit unions.
Earnin. "Does Earnin Charge Fees or Interest?" Accessed June 8, 2020.
Earnin. "Balance Shield alerts and Balance Shield Cash Outs." Accessed June 8, 2020.
Earnin. "How Much Money Can I Cash Out With Earnin?" Accessed June 8, 2020.
Earnin. "How Long Does It Take to Get My Money?" Accessed June 8, 2020.
Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information. "Payday Loans." Accessed June 8, 2020.
Earnin. "How Do I Create an Account and How Long Does It Take to Get Started?" Accessed June 8, 2020.
Earnin. "How Does Earnin Unemployment Work and What Are the Requirements?" Accessed June 8, 2020.