If you use the Cash App and find yourself in a financial pinch, there may be a short-term solution.
The Cash App is something I only recently discovered when I was researching various PayPal alternatives. It was fun to discover that you could very easily get free money on the Cash App, kind of like PayPal in the early days.
Then I learned of all the fun boosts, contests, and other interesting tweaks they added to what’s ostensibly a payments platform. I recognize that a lot of them can be just a distraction but if you use the app as your main payments platform, you’re better off with these boosts and contests than without.
That said, one feature they rolled out last year that caught my eye was the ability to borrow money. Sometimes your finances get a bit out of sync, especially if you’re paid bi-weekly, which is why so many fintech companies offer paychecks 2 days early.
Cash App has upped the ante by offering a short term loan (not cheap but accessible) to qualified users:
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How Much Does a Cash App Loan Cost?
Before we talk about how to get it, we need to address costs. Loans, especially short-term loans, are going to be very expensive. The companies that issue them know their customers are in a tough spot.
With Cash App, a loan will cost you 5% of the loan balance immediately and then 1.25% per week after the loan and grace period. You have four weeks to pay off your loan followed by a one-week grace period before the 1.25% interest rate kicks in. This interest is added to the amount you need to pay them each week.
In terms of fees and costs, it’s cheaper than a title loan or payday loan but you are limited to how much you can borrow ($200). (more importantly, you can’t get a second loan if you have an existing one)
If you compare it with some popular cash advance apps, it’s cheaper because many of them don’t charge you for the loan but require a monthly membership fee.
The Cash App is really meant as a very short-term fix, for small emergencies that pop up before your next paycheck. If you need more money or for a longer period, it is often better to go with a personal loan because you can borrow more and, sometimes, at lower rates.
How to Borrow Money from Cash App Borrow
Not everyone has access to Cash App Borrow, to see if you do, follow these instructions:
- Open the Cash App
- Click on your account balance in the lower left (if you don’t have a balance, it looks like a house)
- It should take you to the Banking section, now look for “Borrow up to …” (it has a blue arrow icon)
- If you can’t find it, you don’t have access (more below). If you do, you can take out a loan.
- Tap on “Unlock.”
- Cash App will indicate how much you can borrow ($20 to $200, depending on your regular deposits)
- Read the agreement (Borrow Loan Agreement) carefully, then accept the loan if you want it.
How to Get Access to Cash App Borrow
Cash App Borrow is available to people who make regular deposits into their Cash App account. The more you deposit regularly, the more you’re eligible to borrow through Cash App borrow.
The maximum loan amount, $200, is available if you deposit at least $1,000 per month into your Cash App account.
Should You Borrow from Cash App?
If you need a little bit of cash quickly, it’s a good option to have. If you only need a few bucks, the cheapest option is to borrow money from friends and family.
But sometimes you can’t or you feel bad asking to borrow money. The Cash App only offers up to $200 so it’s not a tremendous amount, something someone could conceivably be able to lend you without much difficulty.
If you don’t have that as an option, borrowing even the full $200 from Cash App only costs you $10. On a percentage basis, it’s high (5%) but not on a dollar basis. If you’re in a jam, knowing you can get $200 right now at a cost of only $10 is useful.
Alternatives to Borrowing from Cash App
The Cash App is a decent short term option with limited costs (5% of a maximum of $200 is $10) but there are alternatives if you need more money, have exhausted your Cash App options, or need more time.
Cleo is a personal finance app where you can link up your bank account and it analyzes your transaction history to offer suggestions on what you can do to improve your finances. Unlike the other alternatives on the list, this one is free.
Cleo can also help you build credit with their Credit Builder product, which can improve your options in the future should you need to lean on your credit.
When you first use it, first timers will get between $20 and $70 but after you pay that first loan back, you can get up to $100 on subsequent loans.
Albert is a fintech company that offers banking services through Sutton Bank, Member FDIC. They offer Cash (checking) and Save accounts that, when you direct deposit your paycheck, even includes an advance of up to $250 on your next paycheck. You will need to use their Genius account, which operates on a “pay what is fair” model for their subscription fee (including paying $0).
For a limited time, you can get Albert is offering a new account promotion where you can get $150 cash, when you receive a qualifying direct deposit of at least $200 and spend at least $100 on goods and services every 30 days for 90 consecutive days with your Albert debit card.
Brigit is not a payments app like Cash App but more of a holistic personal finance app that seeks to help you earn more money through side hustles, analyze your accounts to provide limited financial plans, and a premium service ($9.99 per month) that includes a cash advance of up to $250.
Empower is another finance app that is also a paid subscription of $8 a month but there are no fees for cash advances. You can get up to $100 on the first day if you qualify.
Anything else I should know?
If you already have a Cash App loan, you can’t get another one. You have to pay back the first loan before you get another one. Many short-term lenders prey on consumers who need to roll over their loans because they can charge them more fees. Cash App doesn’t let you do this.
If this describes you, you’ll have to go with an alternative we listed above.
If you make regular deposits but still don’t have access, they decided not to offer it based on your history. You can call Customer Service to see if they can share more as to why you don’t have access.
The Cash App Borrow loan is not meant to be a long-term solution. The low limit ($200 max) and short time frame (four weeks + one week grace period) mean it’s best used for when the timing of paychecks and bills get a bit out of sync.
It’s nice to have an option that is simpler than going the route of a more traditional loan. To get access though, you’ll need to make sure you have those regular deposits of at least $1,000 to get the full $200.