Boost or Bust: Do Cash Advances Hurt Your Credit Score?

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Alexander Porter

30-SECOND SUMMARY: Cash advance apps don’t care about your credit score, and there’s no hard credit inquiry to get started. This can make it easy to borrow cash in minutes. And since cash advance apps don’t report to credit bureaus, your credit score won’t take a hit if you’re late on your payments. On the flipside, since on-time payments aren’t reported to credit bureaus, these apps won’t help build your credit score either.

If you’ve ever found yourself short of cash, you might be tempted to use one of the many cash advance apps available.

Brigit. Cleo. Dave. Earnin. MoneyLion. Klover.

These popular cash advance apps make it quick and easy to get cash whether you’re after $25, $250 or $2,500.

So, will your credit score fall through the floor if you use a cash advance app to pay for your groceries or grab a last-minute deal on flights?

In short – nope.

Cash advances don’t judge you on your credit score (or even check it) so you can sign up and get started quickly even if your credit has taken a beating. Most apps let you start borrowing based on your bank account history and activity instead. This means your initial limit may be lower at first, but you can typically increase this over time.

So even if your credit score is too battered and beaten to help you qualify for a loan or credit card, you can still qualify for an advance in minutes – at the same rates that someone with a perfect score pays!

🤓Overdraft Apps Takeaway: Since cash advance apps don’t report to credit bureaus, your credit score won’t get worse because of late payments, more inquiries or higher credit line utilization – but your on-time payments won’t help it, either.

So, how do cash advances work?

A cash advance lets you borrow a small amount from your next paycheck before payday. Whether it’s for rent, bills, or just life, you can get the money you need to cover your expenses. 

Unlike other borrowing options – like credit cards or personal loans – the cost of borrowing through a cash advance isn’t expressed as an interest rate. Instead, you’ll typically be charged a fixed fee, subscription fee, or express fee to access your advance.

On paper, this makes it seem like you can skip the sky-high annual percentage rate (APR) charged by lenders and credit card providers. However, the equivalent APR based on some cash advance fees can be just as high (if not eye-wateringly higher).

Check out some of our most popular cash advance content:

credit score concept on the screen of computer

Will a cash advance hurt my credit score?

No. Your credit report will NOT show most* cash advances you’ve applied for or received.


Because most cash advance app providers are fintech companies, not banks. They don’t charge the high interest that banks and traditional lenders do. Instead, you’ll pay for subscriptions or express delivery. Some cash advance apps may strongly encourage you to leave an optional tip.

If you fail to meet your repayments, your borrowing limit may be reduced or you may be suspended from future borrowing. But unpaid debts aren’t sent to debt collection agencies or recorded on your credit history.  

Sounds good, right?

Well, the opposite is also true. Since cash advance apps don’t share your usage with credit bureaus, you won’t be able to improve your score by making on-time repayments. If you’re looking to boost a flagging credit score, or build a first-time credit score, borrowing money from a cash advance app won’t be the way to do it.

*There are always some exceptions, right? Varo is indeed a bank, though it has some of the lowest cash advance fees around and Possible Finance does charge interest and report to credit bureaus, so always be sure to read those T&Cs!

What happens if I don’t repay my cash advance on time?


Well, you may face in-app punishments like reduced borrowing limits or suspensions from borrowing for a certain amount of time. But you won’t have debt collectors banging down your door, or credit bureaus shaking their heads over your behavior.

Since apps like Albert, Dave, MoneyLion, and Earnin do not report to credit bureaus, your credit score won’t take a hit. 

Many cash advance apps have flexible repayment options if you’re struggling to make repayments. For example, MoneyLion collects payment on the date you select, but you can change your scheduled payment date by:

  • Go to your Instacash dashboard and click the “Manage” button on the scheduled repayment section. 
  • Ensure you’re still within the deadline to change your scheduled repayment date. 
  • Change your scheduled repayment date by choosing from the list of new repayment dates available to you. 

Learn more about MoneyLion cash advances 👈

How do I improve my credit score?

Great question. Since people with higher credit scores tend to qualify for better interest rates and more products, it makes sense you’d be keen to boost your score.

Check out our most popular credit-building resources here:

Some of the most conventional methods to improve your credit score involve establishing a history of on-time payments, maintaining a moderate level of credit usage each month (without excessive utilization), and diversifying your credit portfolio by acquiring various types of loans. 

And if all of that feels like a lot of homework… Well, you’re right. In the long run, a higher credit score is absolutely an advantage you’ll want to work towards. This is true whether you’re looking to take out a car loan, get started in the property market, or simply apply for a credit card.

But you can sidestep those problems (for now) by using cash advance apps that don’t require a minimum credit score. Thankfully, that’s most of ‘em.

Plenty of popular cash advance apps will instead analyze your account, spending history, and recurring deposits when determining your eligibility. That way, you’re not punished for having a low credit score.

6 Popular cash advance apps that don’t give a damn about your credit score

There are no credit checks to use Albert Instant overdrafts (up to $250). As long as you pass the other eligibility requirements, you can borrow cash without a subscription or moving your direct deposit

Explore Albert
Brigit does not perform a credit check, so you can still qualify if you have bad credit. Instead, it will securely connect to your bank account (via the popular Plaid platform) to analyze your bank account history and activity.

Explore Brigit
The transaction history of your linked bank account is Cleo’s primary assessment tool. There is no credit check to borrow from Cleo, and no regular income is required, making Cleo a good option for freelancers and gig workers.

Explore Cleo
Chime SpotMe offers fee-free overdrafts up to $200. With no credit check to worry about, you’ll be eligible to enroll once you have a monthly qualifying deposit of $200 or more and activate your Chime Visa® Debit card. 

Explore Chime
Current’s ‘Overdrive’ limit starts at $25 and can be increased to $200 with no credit check when you open an account. Super simple and super easy.

Explore Chime
With MoneyLion Instacash, you can get cash advances up to $500 with no interest, no monthly fee, no credit check. All in as little as 10 minutes (or less).

Explore MoneyLion

To sum up, using a cash advance has no impact on the things that affect your credit score – we’re talking about your payment history, number/type/age of accounts, or credit utilization  

Your credit score won’t improve no matter how many timely repayments you make. But if your credit score sucks, you can still get approved, and if you don’t pay back on time (or at all) it’s not going to hurt you. 

Ready to get started? Check out these cash advances for bad credit.


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WAIT! Why borrow quick cash when you can earn it?!

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Alexander Porter
  1. As of February 13, 2024. Offers may change and may not be available to all users. Eligibity requirements apply. See KashKick's Terms of Service for full details.

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