Sometimes, your rent, utilities and car payment are due before you’re scheduled to get paid. If you run out of money and don’t have an emergency fund, a payday loan might seem like the next best thing. But these loans can be costly with their fees and high interest rates. If you’re looking for a cheaper, hassle-free alternative, Earnin is an app that lets you borrow from your pending wages before payday — whether you’re an hourly or a salaried worker. The ability to draw from your wages can keep your budget on track, but is Earnin safe?
If you’ve never heard of Earnin, you might have some reservations about the app. Yet, once you understand how the process works, you’ll see that this is a safe way to cope with a cash flow shortage.
It doesn’t cost anything to download the app to your Android or iOS device. Keep in mind that signing up and getting started requires providing personal details about yourself — your email, name, employment information and bank account information, which Earnin will verify.
A checking account is necessary because Earnin direct deposits funds into your account, and then electronically debits your account (ACH) to get the money back.
If you’re an hourly worker, you’ll also need to snap a photo of your timesheet, and then upload this photo. This is how you add earnings to your account.
If you’re a salaried worker, or can’t upload a timesheet for some reason, you’ll need to enable the app’s location services so that Earnin can verify when you’re working. This might raise some privacy concerns. But if you’re unable to upload a timesheet, using your phone’s GPS is the only way for the app to track the hours you’ve worked.
Once you’re signed up, you can then draw up to $100 per day from pending wages, and up to $500 per pay period. Funds are direct deposited into your checking account within 1 to 2 business days.
Earnin also has a feature called Balance Shield. If you opt into this service, up to $100 will be deposited into your account whenever your balance falls below $100. This can help prevent overdraft fees.
Earnin doesn’t only need your bank account information to deposit and debit funds, but also to check your transaction history. To use the app, you must receive regular direct deposits.
Even if you like the idea of being able to tap into your earned wages, you might not be comfortable relinquishing your bank account information to a third-party. This is understandable. The good news is that Earnin is committed to keeping your information secure and ensuring a safe transaction for its customers.
Once you provide your bank account number, Earnin confirms this information by initiating two small test deposits into the account. This security measure prevents your money from being accidentally deposited into someone else’s account. You’ll notify Earnin when you receive these test deposits, at which point you’re ready to draw from your paycheck.
According to Earnin’s website, the company uses 256-bit encryption to ensure your personal information isn’t compromised. This is one of the highest levels of security. In fact, this is the same type of privacy and security used by many online banks.
If it makes you feel any better, Earnin is a well-known app that’s used by employees at many major companies. This includes Bank of America, Starbucks, Apple and Whole Foods. If these companies and their employees can trust the app, so can you.
Of course, there’s also the fear that Earnin may debit more out of your account than they’re supposed to. Again, Earnin has built a solid reputation for being an honest and legitimate company.
After reading multiple reviews on the company, there didn’t appear to be any complaints of the company debiting unauthorized amounts from user accounts. Therefore, you can be confident that you’ll always know the date of a scheduled debit, and that the company will only take what you borrowed. In other words, if you borrow $100, Earnin will only debit $100.
Remember, there are no fees or interest charges. There is, however, an optional tip up to $14. Since there’s no default or minimum, you can tip whatever is affordable — whether it’s $10, $5 or $0.
Tipping is how Earnin makes money. Just know that tips add up. If you use the app once a month and tip $10 each time, that’s $120 in 12 month.
The bottom line is that Earnin and apps like Earnin offer a unique, affordable alternative to a payday loan. Earnin is free to use and extremely safe, and the company takes the appropriate measures to ensure your bank account and personal information remains private and secure. And the best part is that you don’t have to provide your Social Security number to take advantage of Earnin. There’s no credit check and no worries.