MoneyLion is a suite of financial products and services all in one place. They believe that you should have access to all of your financial needs in one easy place - in this case online and on an app.
By combining multiple financial products, they claim they can save you money - and their offerings are compelling.
Their basic offering is a free core membership, which give you access to free checking and more. From there, you build on with other services for a monthly fee. See how they compare to other free checking account options.
Check out the full details in our MoneyLion review below.
- Free core membership gives access to free checking
- Plus membership could offer value for those seeking loans
- Despite a low APR, monthly fees do increase the overall costs of loans
Min Account Balance
$0 for Core, $19.99 for Plus
$2.50 for Out of Network
Who Is MoneyLion?
MoneyLion was founded in 2013. They provide financial products such as a checking account, a debit card, loans, and investing. They claim to have saved people over $5 million through their rate reduction programs. MoneyLion has originated 200,000 loans and has over 1 million customer bank accounts linked to their services.
MoneyLion’s checking and debit card are issued by Lincoln Savings Bank, a member of the FDIC.
MoneyLion is based in Sandy, UT with offices in New York City, San Francisco, and Kuala Lumpur.
What Do They Offer?
MoneyLion believes consumers should have access to financial products, such as loans, with little or no fees. Its debit card and loan products require that you become a MoneyLion member. This type of model is similar to a subscription service. There are two types of memberships: Core and Plus.
The Core membership is free and includes:
- Zero-fee checking with a debit card: These accounts don’t have overdraft, minimum balance, or maintenance fees. You also have access to 55,000 ATMs at no cost.
- Free managed investing: Customized investment portfolio.
- Free cash advances: Also called Instacash, cash advances have a 0% APR and are based on 10% of your direct deposits. For example, if your direct deposit is $1,000, your cash advance will be $100. Cash advances are available after the first two direct deposits.
- Free cash-back rewards: You can earn $25 gift cards for popular retailers by spending every day and enrolling in free credit monitoring. Rewards are limited to 12% cash-back.
- Free fraud protection: Real-time alerts and the ability to lock a stolen card from the MoneyLion mobile app.
The Plus membership includes everything in Core and gives you the ability to take out loans and earn exclusive rewards. MoneyLion’s $500 loans have a 5.99% APR. These small loans are advertised as credit-builder loans. Loan terms range from 6 to 18 months and do not have any origination fees.
The Plus membership is not free and costs $19.99 per month. The membership fee is deducted from your checking account on each payday. This is done to ensure money is withdrawn only when it is most likely to be available in your checking account, helping to avoid potential overdrafts. If you are paid bimonthly rather than monthly, the fee is split into two payments of $9.99.
If you decide to take out a $500 loan at 5.99% APR, keep in mind that you are also paying $19.99/month, which greatly increases the APR. As an example of how much you’ll pay on these loans, let’s say you take out a $500 loan for 12 months. Interest will be approximately $515.07. Now factor in 12 payments at $19.99 (i.e., $239.88). The total now comes to $754.95 with $254.95 of that being interest and fees.
See how this compares to the other best cash advance apps currently available.
MoneyLion says you can reduce your monthly Plus fee just by logging into the app. It’s unclear how much you earn by logging into the app or what any reduction might be.
MoneyLion includes a mobile app that is available for iOS and Android. You can find fee-free ATMs by using the mobile app. You can also lock your debit card from the app.
Are There Any Fees?
Yes — if you sign up for the Plus membership, there is a $19.99/month fee. There is a $2.50 fee for using an out-of-network ATM plus the financial institution’s fee ($2 to $5). When using your debit card abroad, you’ll pay a 0.8% foreign transaction fee.
When you withdraw money from your MoneyLion investment account, a $0.25 fee is assessed.
How Do I Open an Account?
Is My Money Safe?
MoneyLion uses encryption on its website and app. They also monitor their site and database 24/7 for any threats. MoneyLion has strict privacy and information security practices. You can be sure your data is handled carefully and is secure.
Your MoneyLion checking and debit card are FDIC-insured. Any investments are not insured and can result in a loss.
Is It Worth It?
MoneyLion Core is free. It has some nice perks such as no fees and widespread use of ATMs. You also have access to free investing, free cash advances, and free credit monitoring. All of this makes MoneyLion Core an excellent deal.
If you periodically find yourself in need of small loans to hold you over for a few months, the Plus membership may be what you need. Keep in mind that these loans are expensive and should be paid back as soon as possible.
- Pricing and Fees - 90
- Products and Services - 90
- Ease of Use - 80
- Customer Service - 80
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here and here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.