Financial Subscriptions: Are They Worth It?

Financial Subscriptions: Are They Worth It?

You may have recently noticed ads for different financial subscriptions claiming they can help you improve your credit score or get your paycheck early. You’re also probably wondering if these paid financial services work. Or...

You may have recently noticed ads for different financial subscriptions claiming they can help you improve your credit score or get your paycheck early.

You’re also probably wondering if these paid financial services work. Or more importantly, if they’re worth the monthly fees.

Let’s take a closer look to find out.

What is a Financial Subscription?

Financial subscriptions give you access to a range of financial services and products.

While many of these services are free to use, you’ll often pay a monthly fee for premium features and advanced functionality.

These subscriptions are a financial membership, just like Netflix, Amazon Prime, or other digital subscriptions. They’re usually offered by startups, though some established brands may offer them in the near future.

How does it all work? You pay the monthly fee and get to use their products or services.

Common services include:

  • Cash account: A cash account is similar to a regular bank account. Like a checking account, cash accounts let you store your money safely until you’re ready to use it. Some cash accounts even earn interest. You’ll usually get a debit card to use for purchases.
  • Credit builder loans: Credit builder loans let you take out a small installment loan to build your credit. Unlike normal loans, credit builder loans usually hold your loan funds in a savings account until your loan is paid back.
  • Paycheck advances: If you need cash to cover a bill, but don’t get paid until after the bill is due, this is a viable option. A paycheck advance is a small, temporary loan that gives you money to cover an expense. The money you borrowed gets repaid on your next payday.
  • Early paydays: Depending on your employer’s payment timeline, some financial subscription services allow you to get your paycheck a few days early.
  • Budgeting and finance tools: Most subscription services have budgeting and financial planning features to help you manage your money.

How Much Do They Cost? What Do I Get?

The cost of financial subscription services varies by provider. Most offer a free-to-use platform, such as a no-fee cash account.

You may have to pay for premium features like cash advances. We researched several of the top subscription services to see how their services compare.

SubscriptionCostFeatures
Dave$1 monthly, plus optional tipsSmall paycheck advances
Credit payment reporting
Automatic budgeting
ChimeNo feesOverdraft advances
Paycheck advance
CreditBuilder credit card
Instant transfers to family and friends
MoneyLion$19.99/month for Credit Builder PlusCredit builder loan
Lion’s Share rewards
Loan cash advances
Brigit$9.99/month for Plus planInstant transfer
Cash advances
Flexible repayment dates
Credit builder loan

Dave

Dave is a banking app that centers around a cash account. You’ll have to pay a monthly administrative fee of $1 to use the service. You can also give tips, much like you would a server at a restaurant.

Dave offers an automatic budgeting feature to help you manage your money. You can also get paid early or receive a paycheck advance to cover an upcoming bill.

The app has a side hustle feature, which helps you find gig work to earn extra cash.

By partnering with a credit reporting service, Dave also lets you build credit history for rent and utility payments.

You can cancel your service using the mobile app to manage your subscription. Some accounts may need to be canceled by contacting customer service.

Chime

Chime is a no-fee banking app that gives you a cash account, debit card, and access to a credit-building credit card.

Your cash account earns interest, so you earn more by saving more. Like Dave, Chime lets you get your paycheck early, depending on qualifications. The cash account also has overdraft protection using the SpotMe feature.

SpotMe gives you up to $200 of overdraft protection. Your negative balance is paid off with your next deposit.

Chime’s credit-builder credit card works a little differently than credit builder loans. You move money into your credit-builder account. This becomes your credit limit on your credit-building credit card.

It can be confusing to close your Chime account or cancel your subscription. You may have to call customer service or email them to request an account closure.

Additionally, Chime has faced backlash for randomly closing accounts and refusing to pay outstanding account balances.

MoneyLion

MoneyLion offers several no-fee services, including a cash account that includes early paychecks and debit card rewards. To access credit building features, however, you have to get a Credit Builder Plus account for $19.99 per month.

The biggest benefit of the premium subscription is access to a credit builder loan. Your loan payments are reported to the major credit bureaus to help build your credit score.

You’ll also get access to credit-monitoring tools to make sure your credit score is on track. Depending on your qualifications, you could get up to $300 per period in a 0% interest cash advance.

You can cancel your membership as long as you don’t owe money on a credit-building loan. Canceling is easy within the app by navigating to the membership management area.

Brigit

The free subscription to the Brigit app gives you access to money management tools like budgeting alerts and financial insights.

The Plus membership costs $9.99 per month and gives you premium features, including flexible repayment options.

You also get access to credit-builder loans that allow you to choose how much of the minimum payment you want to cover. The remaining amount is paid using the loan funds, meaning you won’t receive them when the loan is paid off.

Plus members also get access to identity theft protection services and cash advances to avoid overdrafting your account.

You can cancel your Plus membership at any time by deleting your account in the app.

Are Financial Subscription Services Worth It?

Depending on your financial situation, financial subscriptions can be worth the cost.

It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of a service to decide if it’s a good fit.

Advantages of Financial Subscriptions

  • Access to money management tools
  • Credit-building products such as loans or credit cards
  • Cash advances and notifications to avoid overdrafts
  • Early paydays

Disadvantages of Financial Subscriptions

  • Monthly membership fees
  • Your existing bank may offer similar services for free
  • Can be difficult to cancel

When to Consider a Financial Services Subscription

  • You regularly overdraft your account and pay hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees per year
  • You need early access to your paychecks based on bill payment dates
  • You want to build credit without going into debt
  • You’re looking for a no-frills cash account

What to Watch Out For

Subscription financial services have taken off in popularity. As with any popular service, scammers are bound to try to take advantage of users.

Research user reviews and ratings before committing to a subscription. This can help you spot scams or predatory services.

You should also carefully read any contract or application for your new account. Your contract should detail what features are included, the monthly cost, and any fees for which you may be liable.

Like gym memberships, financial service issuers make it difficult to cancel your account.

New customers should ask a customer service representative exactly how to cancel a membership if you no longer want the service.

The Verdict on Financial Subscriptions

Should you join a financial membership? The bottom line is, it depends on your goals and personal discipline.

You’ll want to make sure the membership fees are worth it. The best plan is to consider your personal financial needs and research which service would be the best fit for you.

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