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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  • 600% interest rate for LionLoan made to PA customer

    • By PA Borrower,
    • Pittsburgh, PA,
    • Mar 24, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    How can this company claim to help you get your finances in order when they provided a $1,000 loan at an interest rate of 600% (LionLoan) to a Pennsylvania resident where interest rates are capped at 25%? That is exactly what they did to me, and because of this, I am in the worst financial shape as the monthly payments are $540 a month for six months.

    I have begged them to forgive the loan now that I have paid them $1,500, but they refuse to do so. This company has ruined me financially.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    • Apr 9, 2017

      Company Response from MoneyLion, Inc.

      Thank you for your review. Our LionLoan product is meant to be a short-term loan that can be paid off anytime in full, without penalties, in order to avoid additional interest charges. We encourage all our customers to pay off their loans early. Feel free to contact us with any further concerns M-F 8:00a-9:00pm ET: 1-888-399-9770.


  • Stay away!

    • By Ramzan,
    • Los Angeles, CA,
    • Mar 30, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    These guys are crooks. They did not approve my request due to the fact that I was supposedly bankrupt. I was never bankrupt. Lies! I can prove it. They withdrew seven credit points from my credit history and one hard request. Stay away, stay away, stay away!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    • Apr 9, 2017

      Company Response from MoneyLion, Inc.

      Hi Ramzan, sorry to hear there is some confusion regarding your credit history. If you believe there is some fraudulent information on your credit report, we recommend you contact all credit reporting agencies to correct any inconsistencies. The credit report we receive is provided by TransUnion and we would recommend that you contact them as well. Transunion may be reached at 1 (855) 681-3196.


  • Refund

    • By Angela Geer,
    • Janesville, WI,
    • Aug 26, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I paid off my loan with MoneyLion. In the meantime, payment came out of my account via ACH. When I questioned them, they claim they owe me nothing. It does not take 2-3 days to clear electronic fund withdrawal. They purposely waited. Don't do business with this company. They want their money, but refuse to give you what they owe you.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    • Dec 14, 2017

      Company Response from MoneyLion, Inc.

      Hi Angela, we're sorry you had a bad experience with us. Hopefully, your issue was resolved but if not, please contact us at support@moneylion.com and we'll be happy to look into your account and help you.


  • Stay away

    Overall Experience:

    I was approved for a loan for $500. I never received a loan, and every time I would call to talk to someone about it, I just kept being told to wait until tomorrow and call back. I finally got tired of waiting and told them I wasn't hanging up until I got answers, and I was hung up on. Until this day I have still yet to hear from anyone. The worst part is, I was still charged to pay back the loan I never received.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    • Dec 14, 2017

      Company Response from MoneyLion, Inc.

      Hi Donta, sorry you've had a bad experience with us.

      We'd like to help by escalating your issue to management. Please email us at support@moneylion.com and provide us your email address associated with your MoneyLion account and full name and we'll assist you as soon as possible.


  • Very shady

    • By Michael,
    • Los Angeles, CA,
    • Jan 12, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    Besides the very high interest rate for me, it's 159% for MoneyLion loans. I recently asked them for a paper statement showing basic information like my payoff amount and interest accrued, but they refused, stating that they could not provide this information. I asked if they can give me a screenshot of this information. Again it was refused. They only offered to tell me the information verbally.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Fraud

    Overall Experience:

    For a $600 loan, they want you to sign up for a $139 a month membership, credit monitoring, etc. But, you're not guaranteed the $600, so it's a win-win for them. Also, be careful if a company is run under two names; LionLoans and MoneyLion.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Great company

    Overall Experience:

    MoneyLion has helped me so much. Low payments, easy payback and helped me a lot with my finances and keeping on top of my credit. I would highly recommend it to friends and family.

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


  • Rip off!

    Overall Experience:

    They get you a loan at a low APR 5.99% a month for a $600 loan. Good! But then you have to pay a 1-time fee of $130 for the subscription. Which later I found out that it is actually a monthly fee, not a one time fee. Now I am paying more for the monthly subscription of $130 than the actual loan payment of $93 SMH! What a rip off. There was a catch. So that low 5.99% APR is just a myth for you to apply. For a $600 loan, I am paying $1400 once it's paid off in 6 months.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Loan with MoneyLion

    • By George Shannon,
    • Carpentersville, IL,
    • Mar 7, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    This company commits fraud and steals money from your account without your authorization. They did not notify us after a year when our card was deleted from there system, and they stole $1,217.92 from my wife and I, and now they say they never received the money. JP Morgan Chase allowed this transaction to go through as well and did not notify us through their security measures as well. We called Chase and did everything possible to reverse the funds and get the money back, but Chase condoned an unlawful transaction and paid it. MoneyLion also steals your savings account and does an asset research and puts your balances on their website as well. I have all the physical proof needed.

    I am finding a way to sue these people and have their license revoked and imprison parties for committing a fraudulent transaction and robbing our account without authorization. I cannot reiterate enough, do NOT take a loan with this institution! They will rob you blind and steal your assets, and put it out there for everyone else to see!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    • Mar 27, 2018

      Company Response from MoneyLion, Inc.

      Hello George Shannon,

      I apologize if you've ran into some issues, and I'm happy to look into your account. The issue you've described is unusual and definitely not how we operate. In order for me to identify your account, I will need your email. Please email us at mobilesupport@moneylion.com with your account information. Thank you.


  • Supposedly approved and still no funds!

    • By V Moncada,
    • New York,
    • Mar 11, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I have the message stating I was approved and that funding could take up to 1 business day. Well, it is one business day and no funds. They don't answer the phone or emails. At this point, I am not sure I would recommend to anyone. I am a little disappointed as this looked like a great concept.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    • Mar 21, 2018

      Company Response from MoneyLion, Inc.

      Hi V Moncada, sorry to hear you didn't get your funds. Usually, this happens if the provided bank account or routing number has a typo. Give us a call so we can look into your account. Our current wait times are less than 5 minutes. (1-888-399-9770 Mon- Fri 8am - 8pm EST)


  • Hidden fees

    • By Jean Lendall,
    • Boston, MA,
    • Apr 2, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    Look, the bottom line is that MoneyLion requires that you also become an MLPlus member which carries the additional $120-$130 monthly fee referenced above by the previous customer. This “investment” is their investment, not yours. You do not have access to that money. it is their profit. You can borrow money again for a 5.99% interest rate, but it was your money to begin with! I’ve been duped. A $600 loan is a $1400. debt. Never again!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


Showing 1-11 of 206

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