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When making the decision to improve your finances, you may wonder exactly where you need to start.
You want to save more money but need some help and direction to get you on the right path toward meeting your financial goals.
You are off to a good start by simply thinking about your money, how it is handled and where you want to see yourself in one, two, or ten years. The next step is to find some resources and tools to help you move forward.
That’s where apps like MoneyLion come in. MoneyLion is an online and app based program that helps you make better, smarter decisions about your finances.
MoneyLion is designed to help you save more money and earn more money, so that you are financially independent.
In this review I’ll break down some information about MoneyLion, how to get started, how it can help you reach your financial goals, the pros and cons and whether MoneyLion is worth the download.
I’ll also provide a list of similar apps that you may want to check out if MoneyLion piques your interest.
What is MoneyLion?
Money Lion was founded in 2013 and has offices located in New York, San Francisco, Salt Lake City and Kuala Lumpur. Currently they have over 3 million members worldwide.
By utilizing data driven algorithms, MoneyLion essentially works to give their customers better insights on their spending and general money habits. MoneyLion primarily provides loans, but they also handle investments, credit monitoring and provide personal finance management options as well.
The MoneyLion motto is “making money more approachable” and that is exactly what MoneyLion does. MoneyLion functions as a one-stop-shop to handle all of your financial needs. In a nutshell, if you’re looking to maximize your wealth, than MoneyLion could be just right for you.
How To Get Started With MoneyLion
The first step in getting started with MoneyLion is to to set up an account. There are two account options available with MoneyLion, and that’s the core, FREE membership and MoneyLion Plus, which requires a monthly fee.
Anyone interested in using MoneyLion needs to be 18 years or older and they need to have an already established bank account.
MoneyLion Core Membership
MoneyLion’s core membership plan is completely FREE to sign up for and use. You’ll have zero-fee checking and zero-fee managed investing, along with free credit monitoring, access to their $25 gift card rewards program, up to 12% cashback rewards, and the use of 55,000 fee-free ATMs
MoneyLion Plus Membership
MoneyLion Plus costs users $29 a month (or they waive the fee if you can manage to log into the app daily). They currently offer a $10 sign-up bonus and a personalized investment plan when you join the MoneyLion Plus membership.
In reality, MoneyLion Plus will deduct $79 from your account every month. $50 will automatically be deposited in your managed Plus investment account and you’ll earn $1 cash back every day you log into the app. The remaining $29 will cover your monthly account fee (though if you log in daily you basically don’t have to worry about this).
Overall, MoneyLion Plus doesn’t differ too much in terms of services compared to the free account. MoneyLion Plus has all the perks of the free MoneyLion account, with the addition of access to a managed investment account, 5.99% APR Credit Builder Loan, and $1 daily cash back rewards.
You have the option to cancel your Plus or core account at any time.
How Does MoneyLion Work?
MoneyLion combines several different services to help their clients reach their financial goals and to build smarter money-handling habits. MoneyLion focuses on the long term so that their users can plan for their future.
Their services include a checking account and debit card, investments, free cash advances, loans, free credit monitoring, fraud protection and even rewards for good financial habits.
Checking and Debit Card
When you set up your free MoneyLion core account, you’ll have access to a fee-free checking account and premium black debit card (which looks really cool). There are no overdraft fees, balance fees or maintenance fees. Plus you’ll have access to 55,000 fee-free ATMs.
After signing up for your free MoneyLion core account, you’ll receive your black debit card within 7 business days.
With MoneyLion investing, you get a diversified portfolio, low cost ETFs, zero management fees and easy money contributions. You can start by investing small and make larger investments as you get more comfortable.
MoneyLion Plus users start out by automatically investing $50 a month as part of the $79 they charge a month.For core members, you can set up monthly automatic deposits into your portfolio and can change the amount at any time, based on your financial situation.
The Plus investment account is held by MoneyLion partner Drivewealth LLC and all of your money is protected by Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).
Keep in mind that when you decide to withdraw funds from your investment account, it can take up to 7 days before your money is available.
MoneyLion offers 0% APR Instacash cash advances up to $250. Think of this as an emergency option to cover any bills or expenses that may come up before your next payday.
MoneyLion offers a few different personal loan options and loan decisions are generally available within 24 hours. A soft pull on your credit is done to check rates and a hard pull is done once you complete an application.
If approved, the money is deposited into your account within one business day.
MoneyLion has a loan for borrowers with fair credit and a BetterCash loan for those individuals with not so great credit.Those with fair to good credit can borrow anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. Those going with the BetterCash loan can borrow anywhere from $500 to $10,000 (but beware as interest rates will be high).
MoneyLion Plus users can borrow $500 and enjoy a low interest loan (5.99% APR) to cover their expenses without compromising their financial goals. Even if you have fair credit, you’ll still be offered this low interest loan rate.
With this low rate, you could expect to pay about $16 dollars and some change in interest on a $500 dollar loan over the course of 12 months.
Also, as a Plus member, you will have faster access to receiving your loan, without needing to reapply for one every time and your funds become available pretty much instantly.
To qualify for a loan with MoneyLion, you’ll need the following:
- Verified identity
- Provide proof of employment/income
- Meet the ability to pay criteria
- A checking account with direct deposit payments or positive balance
The more you save and the longer you are a member with MoneyLion, the more you will be able to borrow down the road.
Credit Monitoring and Fraud Protection
By enrolling in MoneyLion’s free credit monitoring, you’ll be able to view your credit score and receive credit building tips from MoneyLion. MoneyLion will even give you mock scenarios on ways you can improve your credit score.
You’ll also be rewarded for making payments on time and low credit utilization.
In addition to credit monitoring, MoneyLion offers 24/7 fraud protection. You will receive an alert for any suspicious activity that may pop up on your account. And if you happen to lose your debit card, you can lock it straight from the app or unlock it once found.
MoneyLion has plans to launch a rewards program that lets you earn up to 12% cash back when you shop through the thousands of merchants they will list on the app. You’ll just need to link your debit card or credit card and can then earn every time you shop.
Until then, you can still enjoy perks for accomplishing simple task and earn points that can be converted for cash gift cards.
For instance you can earn 500 points for connecting a bank account to track your spending, 100 points when you sign up for free credit monitoring, and 200 points just for making a payment on time.
Once you reach 2,500 points you can redeem for a $25 gift card to some popular retailers like Amazon, Target, or Walmart.
Since MoneyLion uses data driven, smart technology with their app, you can receive personalized advice based on your financial needs, goals, spending habits and more.
Log into the app daily to receive fresh new directions on how to stay on track with your financial path. You’ll receive alerts if your balance is low, when your next payday is, if you’ve been double charged for something, and how much you’ve managed to save versus spend that month.
For Plus members, logging into the app daily will earn you $1 in cash back rewards.
Pros and Cons of MoneyLion
- Option to sign up for FREE
- Available on IOS and Android
- Quick and easy access to personal loans
- Different loan options available based on your credit (even if your credit is fair)
- Free credit report monitoring (see how your smart financial decisions are paying off)
- Different ways to earn rewards and points to redeem for a $25 gift card to a favorite retailer
- Access to 55,000 fee-free ATMs
- Fee-free managed investing
- Invest when you want and how much you want
- Personalized advice available on the app daily to help you stay on track with your goals
- Quick response from customer service if you have an issues
- MoneyLion Plus membership option offers $1 cashback for logging into the app daily (which would help cancel out the $29 account fee)
- Unless you sign up for the MoneyLion Plus membership, you could see an APR interest rate on loans up to 30%
- MoneyLion Plus membership has its perks, but the $29 a month fee is pretty high
- Some complaints that there have been ATM fees charged when using the debit card
- 5.99% APR when you borrow $500 only, after that the rate is subject to change
- App frequently has bugs and issues that need to be fixed and can be “temporarily” unavailable
- A few complaints of not always earning a $1 for logging in daily
Is MoneyLion Legit?
MoneyLion is definitely a legitimate app and website. With a following of 3 million members and growing, it’s hard not to believe that it’s truly helping people improve their finances.
Several positive reviewers have boasted paying off debt and dramatically improving their credit within a short amount of time. Plus the reward incentives further help keep people on track with using the app and managing their bills.
Is MoneyLion Worth the Download?
Although MoneyLion has two different membership, I would say the app is worth downloading if you decide to stick with the FREE core membership.
Personally I think $29 is pretty high for a monthly fee for the Plus membership, unless you plan on frequently needing access to borrow $500 and therefore the 5.99% interest rate.
While you could realistically earn your $29 back by logging into the app daily for a $1 in cash back….there really won’t be much for you to see when you log into the app as your account won’t change much day to day.
The $1 earned doesn’t seem worth the effort, though in retrospect you only have to swipe through a few things in order for it to count as your login for the day. It really does take only a minute or two tops.
I think the core account offers everything you could need if you’re trying to save more money, monitor your spending, improve your credit, take out a loan when needed or invest what you can, when you can.
The core membership will let you have all the benefits of the app without needing to pay a fee.
Apps Similar to MoneyLion
Below I’ve identified a few apps that are similar to MoneyLion in that they help you track your spending, give you the option to invest or even take out a loan if you need it.
I also threw in a few that are more savings focused, as I know not everyone will be on board with investing money if they don’t feel like they have much of it to begin with. If you’re all about saving money right now, check out this article.
- Acorns – Get $5 when you sign up! Great starting point for those interested in “micro” investing
- Cinch Financial – Analyzes your spending and savings and offers suggestions to help improve your finances
- Twine – Designed for couples, but perfectly okay to use alone, Twine helps you save more money where it counts and invest your money comfortably
- Personal Capital – Helps you track and manage your finances
- Digit – Get $5 when you sign up! This app is handy for anyone simply looking to save more money without worrying about credit monitoring, investments, or loans
Overall MoneyLion is pretty simple in ease of use, plus it’s completely free to sign up for so there is no harm in trying it out. If it doesn’t work for you, there are other apps on the market, like the ones mentioned above, that may be a better fit.
Whether you currently use MoneyLion or have used it in the past, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. For those interested in checking out Money Lion after reading this review, you can comment on that as well.
Thanks for reading and good luck with your financial goals!