Earnin is an app that allows users to get an advance on a part of their paycheck—though the company stresses that such advances are not payday loans. Earnin doesn't charge interest or fees, though you can support the company by tipping what you think is fair. The app also offers a few other features not normally provided by other traditional personal loan lenders

Our Earnin personal loan review provides all the relevant details you need to make an educated decision about whether or not to get one.

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Pros

  • No fees, including origination, late or prepayment penalties

  • Offers features like overdraft protection to help your future financial health

  • Ability for borrowers to receive funds within seconds

Cons

  • Loan limit very low compared to traditional personal loan lenders

  • Not all banks are available in Earnin’s Lightning Speed feature

  • Maximum loan amounts may differ from depending on financial health

Pros Explained

  • No fees, including origination, late, or prepayment penalties – There are no fees, as Earnin offers a pay-what-you-want model (tipping or paying it forward is optional). Plus, there aren't any options to pay back your loan, as Earnin automatically deducts the amount you owe on your next payday.
  • Offers features to help your future financial health, such as overdraft protection Earnin offers a feature called Balance Shield Cash Outs that will deposit $100 in your linked bank account (you'll pay this back from your next paycheck) if it goes below that amount. Alternatively, its Balance Shield Alerts feature will send push notifications if your bank balance is at risk of being low. 
  • Gets the funds to you within seconds Earnin's Lightning Speed feature lets borrowers (also referred to as community members) link their debit cards to the app so that that loan proceeds can arrive in their accounts within seconds. 

Cons Explained

  • Low loan limit compared with traditional personal loan lenders The lender starts off users at a maximum of $100 each pay period, with the potential to go up to $500 after demonstrating responsible usage. 
  • Not all banks available in Earnin's Lightning Speed feature Earnin states that you may not be able to access its Lighting Speed feature. Even if you're eligible, not all banks offer a reliable connection, which could affect how soon you receive funds.
  • Maximum loan amounts differ depending on financial health Earnin evaluates your financial behavior each pay period, so it could go up or down depending on factors such as whether you spend more than you make and if your primary bank account is connected to the app.

Types of Personal Loans Offered by Earnin

There are two main types of loans Earnin offers:

  • Cash Out – This feature enables community members to borrow up to $500 each pay period. Simply log into the app and select the amount you want, and Earnin will deposit it into your linked bank account.
  • Balance Shield – Borrowers can set automatic alerts or cash-outs when you're at risk of overdrafting your bank account. Balance Shield Cash Outs are automatically activated when your account falls below $100 if the feature is enabled.  

Loan Amounts

Earnin offers personal loan amounts up to $500 per pay period, with a daily maximum of $100. All Earnin members start with a $100 maximum per pay period, and that amount can increase over time. You can find out how much you can borrow when you log into the app.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

Earnin doesn't charge interest rates to use its personal loan features. 

Loan Terms

Earnin deducts loan proceeds, plus the amount you choose to tip, from your next paycheck.

Credit Score Requirements

Want to know Earnin's minimum credit score requirement? The good news is that there isn't one, but you do need to meet other requirements.  

Earnin requires that users have the following:

  • A regular pay schedule (it can be weekly to monthly)
  • More than half of your paycheck sent to a checking account via direct deposit
  • Work through an online or electronic timekeeping system or at a fixed work location

Currently, Earnin is not available to those who earn income through Social Security, disability, or unemployment benefits. 

Fees

Earnin doesn't charge application or origination fees to use its features. Instead, it offers a "Choose What You Pay" feature, where borrowers can tip Earnin any amount they choose. Users who enrolled in the Balance Shield Cash Out feature will need to set a tip amount of at least $1.50. 

Time to Receive Funds

Earnin users can receive loan proceeds within seconds if they link their debit cards from a participating bank with the app. Otherwise, the money should arrive in your bank account within two business days. 

Earnin Personal Loan Features

Choose What You Pay

Earnin will let you use most of its features free. You can pay it forward and help out the company by tipping an amount of your choosing.

Boost Your Maximum Loan Amount

Earnin offers a "Boost" feature where you can ask another community member to increase your maximum loan amount. If approved, you'll receive a $50 temporary increase, which expires at your next pay period.

Negotiate Medical Bills

Earnin's Health Aid feature lets community members upload photos of medical bills to submit for review. Earnin will then help you negotiate the total balance and available payment plan options. You can submit more than one bill, and Earnin will update you within two business days.

Cash Back Rewards

Once enrolled, members can earn from 1% to 10% cashback at participating retailers just by using their linked debit or credit card. Cashback rewards will be deposited into your bank account once you redeem them.

Apply for an Earnin Personal Loan

Here's how you can register to start using Earnin.

  1. Download the app via Google Play or the App Store. You can also download the app by entering your phone number on Earnin's website.
  2. Verify information, such as your email address or the phone number you used to sign up with to create an account.
  3. Answer qualifying questions, such as your bank account information, employer location, pay period schedule, and how many hours you work each pay period. 
  4. Connect a bank account once Earnin qualifies you to use the app to finalize the account. It may take from 48 to 72 hours to verify your details. 

Can You Refinance a Personal Loan with Earnin?

You can't refinance a personal loan with Earnin, as you'll pay back all proceeds within the next pay period.

Verdict

Earnin is best for borrowers who need small amounts of cash to cover unexpected expenses or fall a bit short on paying their bills. It's also a great fit if you want to take out a short-term loan and use your next paycheck to pay it back without resorting to expensive payday loans. 

However, if you want to be able to cover a large expense and have a decent credit score, you may want to consider alternatives, such as other traditional personal loan lenders. Some of these competitors may charge fees to take out loans, so make sure to shop around, paying particular attention to costs such as interest rates and origination fees. 

Methodology

Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of personal loan lenders. We collected over 25 data points across more than 50 lenders—including interest rates, fees, loan amounts, and repayment terms—to ensure that our content helps users make the right borrowing decision for their needs.