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If you’re looking for a cash advance app that won’t bust your budget, Varo may be the app for you. It’s the cheapest way to borrow $100, and you can get $20 when you need it with no interest and no fees. But like most good things in life, there’s a catch before you get instant cash. Let’s unpack the details with our Varo cash advance review.
What is a Varo Advance?
Varo is a new breed of bank, called neobanks, that operates completely online and focus on offering full service banking through a phone app with significantly lower costs than a traditional bank. With over 5 million customers, Varo is the second largest neobank in the United States, trailing only Chime. Varo was the first neobank to qualify for a national bank charter, which means that your deposits with Varo are FDIC insured for up to $250,000.
One of Varo’s most popular features is Varo Advance, which are instant cash advances for up to $250. There are no credit checks for a Varo Advance, and you can get small cash advances for free – no interest, no fees. You can see how much you qualify for at any time in the Varo app, and with just a few taps you’ll have the money in your Varo Bank account in minutes. And while most cash advance apps automatically schedule your repayment for your next payday, which can sometimes be just a few days away, Varo lets you choose your own repayment date up to 30 days away.
If you need more time to repay your advance, there are no late fees. However, you can only have one Varo Advance outstanding at a time and missing a payment may reduce your cash advance limit or make you ineligible for future advances for a period of time. Varo will automatically transfer funds from your incoming deposits to repay your overdue advance.
Instant cash with low (or no) fees and extra time to repay sounds great, and it is. But, if you need money NOW, Varo probably isn’t the app for you.
How do you qualify for a Varo Advance?
Varo Advances are only available to Varo Bank customers with an established account and regular direct deposits. You can open a Varo Bank account with no monthly fees and no minimum balance, but you won’t be eligible for a Varo Advance until your account is at least 30 days old and you’ve activated your Varo debit card.
You also need to regularly receive direct deposits in your Varo account to qualify for an advance. You need to receive at least $1,000 in direct deposits during the currently or previous month to qualify for a limit of up to $250. If you receive $500 – $999, your limit will be up to $75. 2
For most customers, your initial cash advance limit will be just $20. Your limit is based on your account balance and activity, your direct deposit history, and your track record in making on-time repayments of your Varo advances. The amount you’re eligible for may change daily.
There’s one more important thing to consider if you bank with Varo. If you’re running low on cash, you may not have many options to borrow money. You can’t overdraft your Varo account. So if your account balance is going to turn negative, you won’t be able to use your debit card, get cash or pay bills. And you can’t use a Varo account with many popular cash advance apps, including Brigit, Earnin, and Grid Money. Varo does give you access to your paycheck two days early if you’re paid via direct deposit.
How much does a Varo Advance cost?
If you’re willing to jump through the hoops that Varo requires to access cash advances, you do get rewarded for your perseverance. Varo offers the lowest cost cash advances of all major cash advance apps, and you can borrow $20 for free.
Varo has just one simple fee for advances, which starts at $4 for a $50 advance and maxes out at $15 on a $250 advance. You’ll pay just $6 to borrow $100, which is the lowest cost of the 15 most popular apps and well below the $15.35 average. It costs just $12 to borrow $200, which is less than half of the $24.76 average cost.
You’ll get your money instantly with no express fee, and there is no monthly subscription, tips or interest. The fee is paid when you repay your advance.
Is Varo legit or a scam?
As a nationally chartered bank, Varo Bank is subject to the same high regulatory standards as all banks in the United States. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), a primary prudential supervisor, oversees Varo to ensure that it meets these standards. Varo Bank operates as a fully digital bank, meaning it doesn’t have physical branches. This enables Varo to operate with lower costs, which can be passed on to customers in the form of lower fees and higher interest rates on savings accounts. Deposits at Varo are FDIC-insured, ensuring that they are safe up to $250,000.
Varo has raised significant capital since its inception, which is a sign of its stability and the confidence that investors have in it. Since its founding in 2017, Varo has raised nearly $1 billion from prominent investors such as Warburg Pincus and Blackrock.
Varo’s app has sky-high ratings, with more than 300,000 reviews. The app is rated 4.9 out of 5 stars on the App Store, and the Android app is rated 4.7 out of 5 stars on Google Play.
Like Varo’s low fees, but want an easier way to qualify for a loan? Check out these cash advance apps like Varo.
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- Once qualified for Varo Advance, you will be assigned a credit limit from $20 to $250, based on your account balances, the activity on all of your Varo accounts, your direct deposit history, history of timely Advance repayments, and other risk-based factors. Your credit limits may step up gradually to higher amounts over time based on repayment history and other factors. Your eligibility for Varo Advance and your applicable credit limit are evaluated daily, and may change at any time. Your current limit is always available to you by tapping on Varo Advance on the home screen of your Varo app. You may only take one Advance at a time, and you may not add to an existing Advance until it has been paid in full.