If you’re in dire need of pocket money to get you through the week, you live in the right era! With the rise of mobile banking, people around the world (but especially in the U.S.) have ready access to small loans. All they need to do is press a few buttons on a touch screen!
For its part, Cash App has become a powerhouse in the payment app market due to its beginner-friendly interface and the plethora of features it offers. One of those features is “Borrow,” which is very similar to Chime’s “SpotMe” service and through which you may receive loans of up to $200 right away!
But is “Borrow” really a good option for small loans? Let’s find out!
Cash App Borrow Overview
What Is Cash App?
Cash App appeared in the mobile scene quite early, having been launched in October 2013 by Square, Inc. (now Block, Inc.). It currently stands as one of the most popular peer-to-peer payment applications, ranking above other market giants like Venmo.
What is Cash App Borrow?
Borrow is a Cash App feature that went live in 2020. In summary, it’s a short-term loan solution that enables users to get small amounts in advance, ranging from $20 to $200.
While it’s a neat “failsafe” that you can have recourse to – especially if you face an emergency and can’t wait till your next paycheck to tackle it – it does have its share of caveats. Stick around as we show you some of the ropes.
How Cash App Borrow Works
First, you should know that the Borrow feature is not for everyone!
For example, if you don’t reside in one of the states where the product is available, you’ll evidently be barred from using it. These states are (among others):
- North Carolina
Furthermore, if you’re not in good standing with the major credit bureaus, you’re in bad luck! The service will definitely check your credit history to ensure everything is in order and you’re not in “credit prison.”
Not only that, but when assessing whether you qualify, they will monitor how often you transfer money through the app and how much you usually deposit.
Lastly, you ought to have an activated Cash Card – a Visa debit card to purchase goods and services. This is probably the easiest step, as ordering and obtaining a virtual card from the app only takes a few seconds.
How to Get the Loan Step-by-Step
Provided you qualify, getting the loan only takes a few taps.
First, launch the app and fill in your credentials to access your account (email/phone and password).
Then, tap on your account balance in the left corner to get redirected to the Banking section.
If the platform finds you eligible, it will show you a “Borrow” item. Tap on that, choose your loan amount, and push “Unlock.”
After selecting your repayment option (e.g., weekly, all at once, etc.), you’ll be prompted to accept the agreement and T&C. Once you accept, you should have the amount credited.
Repayment and Fees
Cash App Borrow will initially only charge a 5% flat fee, which must be paid along with the loan amount within the next four weeks. In reality, you’ll have five weeks if we include the one-week grace period.
If you fail to pay after the grace period has ended, prepare to be levied a weekly 1.25% surcharge, which will be deducted from your Cash App balance or your affiliated debit card. Cash App also reserves the right to suspend your account until you’ve satisfied the entire debt.
Pros and Cons
We can summarize the advantages and disadvantages of using Cash App Borrow as follows:
- You’ll enjoy immediate access to your loan without needing to submit any additional documentation
- Provided you pay the loan within the stipulated timescale, you’d only have to cope with a small “origination fee”
- The “late fee” they charge is arguably cheaper than that of most alternatives
- The list of qualifying states is somewhat limited.
- The eligibility requirements can be overkill when considering the amount you’ll ultimately get
- The repayment window is seemingly too short
Alternatives to Cash App Borrow
Chime is a San Francisco-based digital bank that offers customers a checking and savings account. Its SpotMe service is not technically a “loan” feature; rather, it’s a mechanism designed to protect you from overdraft fees by offering a “cushion” that covers any expenses beyond your current balance.
The eligibility requirements are incredibly lenient, too! You only need to receive at least $200 in qualifying direct deposits within 34 days prior and activate your Chime debit card. Depending on your account activity, Chime will set overdraft limits oscillating from $20 to $200.
Sound Financial’s $200 Loan
If your worry is your credit, then a $200 loan from Sound Financial is right up your alley. Sound Financial offers a variety of $200 loan types for bad credit borrowers and best of all, they’re upfront with interest rates and fees.
Unfortunately, there’s no “cash button” on Sound Financial as they require you to fill out a form just like you would with any other web-based lender. However, that’s a small issue in our book.
Credit Card Cash Advances
If you already hold a credit card from a traditional financial institution and can’t take advantage of Cash App Borrow, you might want to consider requesting a cash advance. In this case, you should expect to be charged a cash advance fee plus a much higher APR (Annual Percentage Rate) than usual.
Secured Credit Cards
A secured credit card is a viable alternative for people suffering from poor credit and who wish to build their scores back up. Most of these cards (like the BankAmericard Secured Card) will ask you for a minimum $200 deposit as collateral.
That said, you could opt for cards with lower security deposit requirements, such as the Capital One Secured Mastercard, which entitles you to a $200 limit once you deposit $49 (the limit may increase based on your credit behavior.)
Watch out for those hefty APRs, though!
As it stands, Cash App Borrow is still a decent choice if you want a $200 loan today, but it won’t save you if you live in the wrong place and/or have some blemishes on your credit history.
Luckily, in this digital age, your options are virtually (no pun intended) endless, and it’s only a matter of balancing out the cons with the pros.