Cash Advance Apps that Don't Use Plaid

24 min.

In recent years, cash advance apps have revolutionized the way people handle their finances. These apps allow you to access money quickly and easily without the need for traditional bank loans or credit checks. However, many cash advance apps require you to link your bank account through Plaid, a financial technology company that accesses and shares your financial data with the app. If you're uncomfortable with this, there are other cash advance apps out there that don't use Plaid.

Cash Advance Apps that Don't Use Plaid

In this article, we'll explore some of the best cash advance apps that don't require you to link your bank account to Plaid, so you can feel more secure in managing your finances.

What is Plaid?

Plaid is a financial technology company that provides a secure and reliable platform for integrating various banks and financial institutions with third-party applications. The company offers an application programming interface (API) that connects financial accounts from different institutions to allow secure access to user data.

The goal of Plaid is to simplify the process of financial data exchange between various parties, such as financial institutions, fintech companies, and other third-party developers. Plaid is designed to streamline the interaction between banks and financial institutions by providing developers with a user-friendly and reliable API that can quickly and efficiently manage the transfer of financial data. This results in better and faster services to customers.

Plaid offers various services, including account verification, balance and transaction data access, payment initiation, and asset verification. It has integrations with more than 11,000 financial institutions in the United States, Canada, and Europe, which means it can connect users with almost every major bank in the world.

How Plaid Works

To use Plaid, customers first need to choose a supported application and grant permission for it to access their financial data. They can do this by linking their bank account to the app using Plaid's API (Application Programming Interface) integration. Plaid then uses secure authentication to verify the customer's identity and access their account information from the bank.

Once connected, Plaid can collect detailed financial data, such as account balances, transaction histories, and account holder information. This data is encrypted and stored securely and is only accessible by authorized applications that have been granted permission by the customer.

Plaid offers a range of other services to its partner applications. One example is transaction categorization, where it uses machine learning to automatically categorize transactions based on the merchant or category. This allows customers to see a clear breakdown of their spending habits and better manage their finances.

Plaid has a comprehensive suite of developer tools. These tools allow developers to build and deploy financial products with ease while ensuring the security of data transfer. The company's API also supports various products, including credit decisioning, investment, wealth management, and more. Plaid also offers a customer support system to help developers with any issues they may face while using their products.

Plaid is used by many companies, such as Venmo, Robinhood, and SoFi, to access their user's financial data securely. These companies use Plaid to provide their users with more efficient, personalized, and secure financial services.

Another service is the ability to initiate payments and transfers directly from the application using Plaid's Payment Initiation API. This enables customers to make payments or transfers without leaving the app or logging into their bank account. Plaid also provides real-time balance checks to ensure that customers have sufficient funds before initiating a payment or transfer.

Why Avoid Plaid

Plaid is a popular financial data aggregation service that allows users to connect their bank accounts to various third-party applications. However, there are a few reasons why users should avoid using Plaid.

  1. Plaid requires users to give it access to their bank account credentials in order to link their accounts to third-party applications. While Plaid assures users that their data is secure, giving away login credentials to a third-party service carries a certain degree of risk. In the event that Plaid experiences a security breach, user financial data could be compromised.

  2. Plaid has faced scrutiny from financial institutions over the past few years. Some financial institutions have raised concerns about Plaid's data practices and have even taken legal action against the company. For example, in 2020, JPMorgan Chase sued Plaid for allegedly using deceptive tactics to gain access to confidential information.

  3. Plaid's business model raises concerns about user privacy. Plaid makes money by selling aggregated data about users' financial activities to third-party companies. This means that Plaid is essentially tracking users' spending habits and selling that data to advertisers and other interested parties. While Plaid claims that the data it sells is anonymized, it's possible that users' personal information could still be tied to the data in some way.

  4. Plaid's use of "screen scraping" technology has raised some security concerns. Screen scraping involves Plaid logging into a user's bank account and pulling data from the interface as if it were the user. However, this method of data collection is not standardized and can be unreliable, leading to errors and potential security vulnerabilities.

Why Apps Require Plaid for Cash Advances

Apps require Plaid for cash advances because it is a crucial integration that allows for seamless and secure access to financial information. Cash advances are essentially short-term loans that are typically used to cover unexpected expenses or emergencies. They are intended to be repaid quickly and often come with higher interest rates than traditional loans.

To provide cash advances, apps need to have access to a user's financial information, including their bank account and transaction history. However, obtaining this information can be a daunting task, especially considering the sensitive nature of financial data. Furthermore, manually inputting this information can be tedious, increasing the risk of errors.

Users enter their account credentials, which are securely encrypted and transmitted to their bank or financial institution. The user's financial data is then retrieved and transmitted to the app without ever exposing the user's credentials to the app itself.

This level of security is vital for both users and app developers. Users can be assured that their sensitive financial data is being transferred securely, reducing the risk of fraud or identity theft. For app developers, using Plaid means that they can focus on building their app's functionality without having to worry about security concerns.

Additionally, Plaid also offers advanced features such as identity verification, which can help to prevent fraud and ensure that users are whom they claim to be. This means that apps can offer cash advances to more people while still complying with regulations and ensuring the security of their platform.

6 Cash Advance Apps that don't use Plaid

Many popular cash advance apps use Plaid, which is a third-party financial data aggregator that helps connect bank accounts to financial apps. While Plaid is a reputable and secure platform, some users prefer not to share their banking information with third-party apps.


Earnin is not a bank. It provides "access to earned wages" rather than a traditional payday advance or loan, with its advances, known as "Cash Out," being offered at a relatively large amount but only to employees who receive a direct deposit. Obtaining an advance incurs relatively low fees, including fast-funding fees and an optional tip capped at $14.

While Earnin provides a good alternative to high-cost payday loans, users should still explore alternative sources of cash before taking out an advance. According to NerdWallet, Earnin's product can be considered a paycheck advance since the payday advance app acts as an intermediary that provides cash and then retrieves it on the next payday.

Activehours Inc. uses the trade name "EarnIn" and has been providing instant cash advances since 2014. Based in Palo Alto, California, the company has received high ratings on both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store, with over 200,000 reviews and a 4.6-star rating and over 240,000 ratings and a 4.7-star rating, respectively.


Dave is another cash advance app that doesn't use Plaid. Dave allows you to access up to $100 of your paycheck before it is deposited into your bank checking account. The app also has an optional overdraft protection feature available to its members. Additionally, Dave provides a variety of features to help users manage their finances, such as automatic bill payments, expense tracking, and credit monitoring.

Dave is a legitimate enterprise located in Los Angeles that has been providing cash advances since its establishment in 2017. The app has garnered an impressive rating of 4.4 stars from over 450,000 users on Google Play and 4.8 stars from over 600,000 users on the Apple App Store. However, customers have recently submitted complaints to the Better Business Bureau regarding unapproved transactions to their accounts. Meanwhile, recent grievances lodged with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau were related to account management issues.

Similar to other cash advance apps, the Dave app assesses the spending habits and income history of users' checking accounts to determine eligibility and the amount they can receive. The app also evaluates the repayment history of returning customers to determine their borrowing limits.

Cash App Borrow

Cash App is a versatile financial platform that enables users to transfer funds, make payments, and invest in various financial instruments such as stocks and cryptocurrency. Moreover, for those who prefer a physical card, Cash App offers an optional Visa debit card that can be linked to their account. You can track these debit card purchases in the app.

Qualified Cash App users may take advantage of their latest "borrow" feature, which allows users to borrow from $20 to $200, with eligibility based on several factors such as state of residence, credit history, payment history, and whether the user receives a salary through Cash App. While the feature is still in its pilot phase and limited in availability, active Cash App users are more likely to meet the requirements for eligibility.

Borrowed money under this feature should be paid back in four weeks. A one-week grace period is provided for an effective five weeks term. Additionally, a 5% fee will be charged, equating to a 60% annual percentage rate (APR). Further, if the loan is not repaid within the allotted time, an extra 1.25% charge per week will be applied. While the APR is higher than that of a typical credit card, it's still significantly lower than the rates charged by payday or title lenders.

Cash App partners with Plaid, but they also offer a manual account-linking option that allows users to sign up for an account without using Plaid. If you want to learn more about Cash App, sign up, or use the loan feature, please see the article linked above.


Line is available only in the US. Line provides cash advances with no credit checks and no interest, along with personalized overdraft and NSF alerts and a comprehensive range of credit monitoring and identity theft protection services.

To apply for Line, download the app, create an account, and apply for pre-approval by providing a few details, including your phone number. Next, complete the application, which requires your personal information, such as your Social Security number, employment details, and bank information. Line may also request to review your income and expenses. Line will inform you whether you meet the qualification criteria.

To subscribe, choose a plan and link your debit card to pay for it. You must have enough balance to pay the subscription fee.

Line offers two plans:

  1. The small plan costs $1.97/month, offering advances of between $20 and $100, identity theft monitoring, and insurance.

  2. The medium plan costs $9.97 per month and provides advances of between $50 and $1000, including all the small plan inclusions plus one free transfer per month.

  3. The large plan is not currently active, and no price has been indicated.


Branch is a mobile application that enables you to request a wage advance for the amount of money you've already earned, even before your payday. You won't be able to access this app unless your employer has subscribed to it. This service doesn't charge any interest or fees, but you may choose to tip after each transaction. Branch digital wallet provides cashback rewards for purchasing food, fuel, and other products.

The app allows users to access up to $150 of their paycheck before it is deposited into their bank account. To apply for an advance, confirm that your employer is enrolled in Branch, download the app, and set up a Branch wallet. If you're eligible for an advance, go to the "Instant Pay" tab, select the borrowing amount, confirm the loan total and payback date, and swipe up to receive a "Money in the Bank" notification. The requested amount will be deposited into your Branch digital wallet and can be utilized immediately.


Payactiv offers advances on earned wages by partnering with employers. Depending on the employer's policies, advances can go up to 50% of the earned wages. If your employer does not partner with Payactiv, you can still receive your paycheck two days in advance with a Payactiv Visa Prepaid Card.

Payactiv is free if you sign up for the Payactiv Visa Payroll Card and request a cash advance. Otherwise, there are two types of fees: a program fee and a processing fee. The maximum advance and turnaround time depend on the employer's policies.

When you request an advance, the money can be sent to your bank account, debit card, or Walmart Money Center, with instant funding available for free through a Payactiv card or for a fee if you send the funds to another account. The repayment is automatically deducted from the next paycheck.


How can I get a cash advance without Plaid?

If you are looking for a cash advance without using Plaid, there are several options available. Some of the traditional lenders, like banks and credit unions, provide cash advances. However, the process of obtaining a cash advance from banks and credit unions is quite complicated as they usually require you to have a good credit score and a stable income source.

On the other hand, there are alternative lenders that offer cash advances without the need for Plaid. These lenders include payday lenders, pawnshops, and car title lenders. However, these lenders charge exorbitant interest rates, and it is recommended to avoid them if possible.

Alternatively, you could consider non-traditional lenders like online lenders and peer-to-peer lending platforms. They usually do not require Plaid. However, their interest rates may be higher than traditional lenders, and you should review the terms before borrowing.

Do any cash advance apps not use Plaid?

Yes, there are cash advance apps that do not use Plaid. One app is called Earnin, which is a cash advance app that does not use Plaid. This app allows you to borrow against your paycheck with no interest, fees, or credit checks. They use a system called "tip" what you can "tip" is the amount you borrow, and you can choose to tip anything from nothing to $14. They have a limit for borrowing that starts at $100, and as you build trust and repayment history, the limit can increase up to $500.

Another app that does not use Plaid is Brigit. Brigit is also a cash advance app that can lend you up to $250 between paychecks. A $9.99 monthly membership fee is required, and they give you 14 days to repay the loan. However, there is no interest charge on this amount.

Does Cash App use Plaid?

Yes, Cash App uses Plaid. Cash App requires Plaid to link your bank account to your application to receive direct deposits, send money to friends, and withdraw money. Plaid allows Cash App to collect the necessary data from your bank account to verify your identity, which is essential for any financial application. Cash App also uses Plaid to monitor your bank account for purchase activity to provide you with rewards and promotions.

Why is Plaid not good?

Plaid has faced criticism, particularly on issues concerning data privacy and security. As a financial technology provider, Plaid collects and stores its users' information, which includes financial information like accounts, login credentials, and transactions. As such, there is a risk of data breaches, and there are concerns about the potential misuse of stored financial data.

In 2020, Plaid was acquired by Visa for $5.3 billion, and the acquisition faced regulatory challenges, including antitrust scrutiny. The acquisition highlights the increasing influence of financial technology companies on the global financial system and the data privacy and security implications that come with it.

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