MoneyLion Review: What You Should Know

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff
Updated on: Dec 6, 2019

MoneyLion gives you fee-free banking, investing, cash-advances and credit monitoring in one web and mobile platform, with the option of paying a monthly fee for access to credit builder loans.

The fact that you can get your banking and investing needs met from one company is a big benefit. There are dozens of online banks and investing platforms. Choosing the right ones takes a lot of time. MoneyLion saves that time by offering multiple financial services in one.

Plus, if you’re someone who has bad credit, MoneyLion’s offer of cash advances, credit builder loans, and credit monitoring is a convenient way to get our finances back on track.

Understanding how MoneyLion’s various services work and how they’re all tied together can be overwhelming. We will simplify all of it for you and help you see MoneyLion’s strengths and weaknesses.

What MoneyLion Offers

MoneyLion’s main services are banking, investing, loans, cash advances, rewards, and credit monitoring.

Banking

MoneyLion’s gives you a fee-free checking account with the following features:

  • MoneyLion debit card
  • No fees for monthly use, overdrafts, transfers, minimum balance or ATM withdrawals
  • Direct deposit
  • Security alerts for big purchases
  • Transfers between bank accounts
  • 55,000 fee-free ATMs
  • Debit card use in foreign countries
  • Check deposit

MoneyLion will charge you a fee to use an out-of-network ATM. They have a $510 daily ATM withdrawal limit and a $3,000 daily debit-card spending limit.

Also, you can’t deposit cash to MoneyLion, nor can you deposit checks without downloading a third-party check cashing app.

Finally, you must have a smartphone to use your MoneyLion checking account.

Investing

MoneyLion uses what’s known as a “robo-advisor” to manage your investments. Basically, you tell MoneyLion what level of risk you’re comfortable with, how long you plan to invest and what your goals are.

MoneyLion takes that information and puts your money into a group of stocks and bonds called an “ETF.” They use their algorithms to manage the ETF, automatically adjusting it to eliminate underperforming portions. MoneyLion does not let you choose which stocks and bonds go into your ETF.

You can deposit money into this account whenever you want via one-time or recurring deposits.

While the management is free, you’ll pay $0.25 per withdrawal from your investment account and a $1 quarterly administration fee.

Also, most ETFs charge various small fees for management, which the company deducts from your investment.

Loans

MoneyLion offers two types of loans: personal loans and Credit Builder Plus loans.

Its personal loans are between $1,000 and $3,000. To be eligible, you have to:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Earn at least $24,000 a year
  • Live in CA, DE, FL, IL, MO, NM, TX, UT or WI.

Your interest rate depends on your credit history, income, and other factors.

Credit Builder Plus loans have an APR of 5.99% and are as large as $500. What makes this “credit builder” loan different is how you pay it back. Instead of getting the money up-front and repaying the money after, you repay the loan first and get the money when your payments are done.

MoneyLion reports your payments to the credit bureaus. This means your credit scores will increase as long as you make your payments on time.

You get two clear advantages through Credit Builder Plus loans. First, you know your APR ahead of time, which most lenders don’t do. Second, applying for these loans won’t affect your credit scores.

You make payments for both loan types via your MoneyLion checking account or a checking account from another bank. If you set up automatic payments from a checking account, MoneyLion will lower your interest rate by 0.50%.

Cash Advances

MoneyLion’s cash advance program is called Instacash. Through it, you can get cash advances of $25 and higher each month.

While a standard cash advance is free, you can pay more to have it delivered instantly via a “Turbo” payment:

  • Regular delivery to your MoneyLion account (takes up to two days): Free
  • Regular delivery to an external checking account (takes up to five business days): Free
  • Turbo to your MoneyLion account: $3.99
  • Turbo to your external account or debit card: $4.99

The cash advance is free, but MoneyLion will ask for a tip after they process your advance.

The drawback here is that their cash advance amounts are low and won’t be able to bail you out of most expensive emergencies.

To repay your cash advance, MoneyLion withdraws what you owe from your connected checking account on the repayment date they set. If you don’t have enough funds, they’ll withdraw what you have and then attempt another withdrawal the following day.

If that doesn’t work, they’ll make a withdrawal from the alternate account they require you to give them when you sign up for Instacash.

Rewards

MoneyLion will give you cash rewards through multiple programs: Quests, Local Deals, and “Shake N’ Bank.”

Quests are goals MoneyLion sets for you. If you meet those goals, they give you cash rewards. Goals include:

  • Raising your credit score by 20 points
  • Activating a MoneyLion debit card
  • Connecting a bank account to your MoneyLion checking account

Local Deal rewards are what you earn when you use your debit card at retailers in your area. These rewards go as high as 12%. You must select “Pay with credit” at checkout to get the rewards.

Finally, if you have an investment account you can earn Shake ‘N Bank rewards. Any time you spend at least $10 with your debit card, you’ll get a notification that will unlock cash rewards. Tap on the notification, shake your phone and the app will display the amount of the reward you unlocked.

You can redeem your rewards for $25 gift cards at well-known retailers like Amazon, Starbucks, Target and Walmart.

Credit Monitoring

You can access your credit score at any time by logging into your MoneyLion account. This feature gives you access to your credit history, all your open credit accounts, and your TransUnion credit score.

MoneyLion Membership Structure: Core, Plus and Instacash

In each of the membership tiers below, we include details about Instacash, as the requirements are different for each tier and can be confusing.

Core (Free)

MoneyLion’s Core membership is free and includes:

  • Checking account
  • Investment account
  • Instacash
  • Rewards
  • Credit monitoring

Core members get Instacash if you have at least $250 of direct deposits. You’ll need to complete three direct deposits before you’re eligible. MoneyLion will allow you to advance 10% of your average monthly direct deposit amount.

This membership is a good fit if you have a handle on your finances, don’t need to build your credit and want one platform for your investing, banking and credit monitoring.

Plus ($19.99/mo)

You get all the features of Core plus Credit Builder Plus loans.

Also, the Instacash requirements are more flexible. You don’t need monthly direct deposits but to get more than $25 at a time, you need to connect your Core account to an external bank account.

If you connect an external bank account, how much Instacash you get is based on how much you deposit to your account every pay period.

This membership is right for you if you want to build or rebuild your credit because only Plus members get access to Credit Builder Plus loans.

Instacash ($9.99/mo)

This membership is meant for you if all you want from MoneyLion is cash advances, as that’s all this tier provides.

You’ll get $25 to $75 in cash advances per month sent to a non-MoneyLion checking account. How much you get is based on how much money comes into your checking account each month.

Analysis of Customer Reviews

More than 200 MoneyLion customers have left reviews here on HighYa for a combined rating of 4.2-stars. 79% of readers would recommend the company’s financial services to a friend. MoneyLion has many reviews on other websites as well. Here are the main takeaways:

Common Compliments

  • Smooth Borrowing Process: Many reviewers pointed out that it was easy to get a loan through MoneyLion. Approval and funds depositing is fast and the required payments are manageable.

  • Effective Credit Building: Multiple people noted that MoneyLion’s various financial products helped them rebuild their credit scores. Through the Credit Build Plus loan, customers were able to raise their credit scores enough to open up new opportunities like getting an unsecured credit card or buying a car.

  • Comprehensive Money Management: People enjoy how they can have their checking, investing and lending on a single platform.

Common Complaints

  • Poor Customer Support: Many customers complained that MoneyLion’s customer support is slow and unhelpful. We saw multiple cases of frustration about how long it took for the company’s customer service department to respond to requests sent via the app or website.

  • Credit Reporting Issues: Customers have complained that MoneyLion incorrectly reports delinquent and overdue accounts to credit bureaus.

MoneyLion vs Traditional Banks, Online Banks, and Robo-Advisors

Joining MoneyLion’s Core or Plus programs enrolls you in checking and investment accounts, and this may have you wondering why you’d need them if you’re focused on building credit.

MoneyLion vs. Traditional Banks

MoneyLion’s fee-free checking will save you $25 to $35 in fees you’d pay if you overdraft a traditional checking account. If you overdraft twice a month, on average, this saves you up to $70. That total could eliminate the need for a cash advance.

MoneyLion vs. Online Banks

While popular online banks like Chime can match MoneyLion’s no-fee checking, they don’t offer credit builder loans or an investment platform. Chime lacks the holistic approach you need if you’re rebuilding or building your credit and financial health.

MoneyLion vs. Robo Advisors

And, on the investing side, well-known robo-advisors like Acorns and Betterment don’t focus their products on people with bad credit. While they offer investment and checking accounts, they don’t have cash advance and credit-builder loan options.

The Takeaway

What each of these three alternatives lack is a comprehensive platform that can help you through your long-term financial journey from bad credit to financial responsibility.

If you’re struggling with bad credit, MoneyLion’s platform can help you by offering low-interest loans to build your credit and then assisting you in building your financial future through their checking and investment accounts.

Additionally, you can go through this journey without ever joining another bank, investment site or going to a payday lender. MoneyLion’s all-in-one approach offers a level of convenience and integration you can’t find with your local bank or on online platforms like Chime and Acorns.

The Bottom Line: Should You Try MoneyLion?

In our opinion, MoneyLion’s financial platform has advantages that can benefit people with good and bad credit.

If you’ve got good credit, you’ll appreciate the fee-free checking and investing MoneyLion offers. However, if you’re looking for an investing platform that gives you the freedom to pick individual stocks, MoneyLion is limiting.

If you’ve got bad credit, then MoneyLion’s easy-to-access lending options can help you rebuild your credit and your financial skills. Their Credit Builder Plus loan can boost your score. Then, when you’re ready to increase your financial literacy, you can leverage MoneyLion’s investing, rewards and credit monitoring.


Customer Reviews

Start your review of MoneyLion:
  • 206 Customer Reviews
  • 78% Recommend This Company
4.1 out of 5
5 star: 73% 4 star: 5% 3 star: 0% 2 star: 1% 1 star: 18%

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  • MoneyLion loan

    • By Larry Becker,
    • Derby, KS,
    • Jan 12, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    Such an easy experience; A++++. I love MoneyLion. Everything from the app to the customer service is very exceptional. I would highly recommend. If you have any questions throughout anything, they will get back to you super fast.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Few flaws in an app that helps you track and control your personal finances

    Overall Experience:

    I have been using MoneyLion for a month, and I do like what they do and try to accomplish. I am not a big fan of their traditional loans since the APR for those with poor credit is excessive.

    But MoneyLion Plus is where I think they hit it out of the park. Guaranteed loan of $500 for 5.99% interest and how they "charge" you monthly but in reality, that charge goes into an investment account and forces the user to understand how the market grows and how you can be an investor with not much money. A fix here would be to show the exact amount in your account on the overlay instead of having to search for it in the finance tab.

    I like the cards that give neat articles about how to better control your finances and daily living.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Best loan company ever

    • By Ivy Williams,
    • Bellwood, IL,
    • Jan 12, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I had looked at many different loan companies and came across MoneyLion loans, and they came through in the time of need. I really like this site and would recommend it to my friends and family if they ever needed a loan.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Very god service

    Overall Experience:

    I love MoneyLion loan and savings in one. They're helping not only now but in my future. A company that really cares about the customers, plus a loan anytime I need one at 5.99%. No bank does that.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Great so far

    Overall Experience:

    I have no complaints yet about MoneyLion. So far everything has been smooth. My first payment is due Friday, so I hope all goes well with that. And if things don't go smoothly, I will definitely get a hold of this company.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Fast, accurate, and wise

    Overall Experience:

    I love the platform. Not only do they help you getting an emergency loan, they provide learning to enrich your financial future. With free credit monitoring, money and credit coaching and rewards for participation, this is a great tool to learn about personal finance. The app is very user-friendly. Don't hesitate and give MoneyLion a chance. The worst that can happen is you end up with a $25.00 Amazon gift card. Great platform!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • MoneyLion saved the day!

    Overall Experience:

    I literally was in default with money and bills and MoneyLion SAVED ME! I was able to make up bills I needed to have paid, and the payments I need to make are completely doable. I also love earning money while just logging into an app! I am really thankful for MoneyLion, I am watching my money better and feel more responsible. I am also learning great tips and because of this review earning points to a gift card (cha-ching)!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Convenient, simple, and reliable

    Overall Experience:

    MoneyLion is a great tool to quickly perform an analysis of your spending, credit and obtain tips to adjust it. On top of all the good advice and simple way to present information, they offer a reliable loan service with fair interest that makes it easy to repay but also helps you save.

    Definitely a must have app and service.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Awesome company

    • By Tanya Weir,
    • South Carolina,
    • Jan 15, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I have the MoneyLion app and love it. I joined because as a single mom I wanted to get ahold of my finances. MoneyLion helps me do just that. I have gotten a $500 loan low interest, and my credit is bad. They are also helping me invest my money. I love this app and would give 10 stars if I could. Also, I love earning free gift cards. You gotta try it, and you too will love it, I am sure.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Review

    • By Sonja Hill,
    • Milwaukee, WI,
    • Jan 16, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I was very pleased and satisfied with the great service I experienced when I applied for a loan. My experience was fast with convenient service. I was able to get the funds needed the next business day, which was great. What a great service to use when you are in need of immediate cash for emergencies. I would highly recommend this service to all friends and family. My experience was top of the line. Yes, I would use this service again in the future.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Great information

    • By Shannan Smith,
    • Covington, LA,
    • Jan 21, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    MoneyLion is very informative. I started using the app, and I look forward to logging into the app every day. I like the advice that is given daily and the opportunity to take out a small loan and pay it back. This product is good for anyone looking to learn about finances and create good spending habits.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


Showing 1-11 of 206

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