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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  • It works as advertised! But people need to know what they sign up for!

    • By Morgan G.,
    • Houston, TX,
    • Dec 7, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    So let me start off by saying that I'm terrible at saving money and also have the ugly credit score of 615 from my college days. All the collections and bad marks are going to drop off soon and I figured MoneyLion would be a good way to help my score even more. In the beginning, I only got this account to get the $500 loan, but the investment account is a huge plus.

    So here's the part where people seem to be confused about. When you join MoneyLion Plus, there's a $79 fee per month, BUT $50 of that going directly into your investment account AND if you log into the app every day, you get $1. So that means that you are paying NOTHING. You are still getting charged $79 per month, and it's going into an account that's not immediately liquid, so if you can't afford it, DON'T GET IT.

    The payment, if you get a $500 loan, is completely separate from your membership fee. That an EXTRA $42.86 per month for 12 months. So the total coming out of your account if you get the loan will be $121.86 per month.

    I'm personally using the loan because they report it to the bureaus, and the small interest they charge is worth it for me.

    So is it worth getting a Plus account just to get a $500 loan? No, it's not.

    But the investment account in addition to the loan is completely worth it.

    Also, I saw some people complaining that they couldn't move money out of the investment account. The dollars you see in the account is not all cash, it's a combination of stocks/bonds/cash. So it'll take some business days but you most definitely can move money out, assuming you have no outstanding loans of course.

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


  • Good App. People need to learn how to read before they sign up for things

    • By Mario V.,
    • New York,
    • Sep 30, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    Okay, I've had no problems with Moneylion aside for a few minor things but it comes with a new up and coming company who is just starting out.

    So first off, everyone here who is giving them bad reviews and calling them a scam really need to know what you sign up for before you actually sign up. Meaning, read all the terms and all that other stuff.

    They explain everything about how they operate and how the app works if you just look.

    Secondly, whoever says they're a scam please explain to me how with a good reason. You take a $500 loan, you pay back a determined amount based on your pay cycle. This actually helps you because it breaks up the monthly payment.

    The Membership now – Yes, you pay $79 a month, but if you pay attention or read the terms before you sign up it tells you that $50 of that payment goes towards your investments/savings account. Again that is broken up according to your paycheck cycle. Mine is weekly so $11.52 goes into each week.

    Then they tell you that you have the opportunity to actually get the membership free if you also log into the app everyday and just swipe through the cards and will give you $1 a day for that. So, in reality, you pay NOTHING.

    People need to realize that the money is going into an investment account. They are not liquid accounts, meaning, they have to sell the shares to liquidate them before they can fund the money back. Also, they say in the terms that if you pay back your loan you can get another one BUT you have to keep $150 in your investment account at all times as COLLATERAL to your loan. The loans are SECURED loans.

    The only thing you really pay for is the loan plus very little interest. The whole purpose to the app is to help you save money, so they offer you 500 bucks if you need it so you don't have to dip into the savings account.

    If you want all of your money back, you have to make sure the loan is paid off and cancel the membership entirely. Yes, their Customer Service is a little shaky but they are a new company, glitches and errors or whatever is going to come with any new company

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


  • Scam!

    • By Edward K.,
    • Morgantown, WV,
    • Nov 5, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    My wife stupidly opened an account with these thieves thinking that it would improve her credit score. They didn't do a thing for her other than suck membership fees out of our bank account, causing the account to be overdrawn and me having to pay my hard-earned money to pay the overdrafts and bank fees. This happened twice. She even called them to stop her membership, but today they took TWO membership fees. I went to the bank this morning to close that account. Now I'm going to file an Attorney General consumer complaint. Scam!

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


  • Liars

    • By Michael B.,
    • Florida,
    • Nov 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    These people are FULL of it. I've paid my loan off, I never missed a payment, never was late, I even paid it off early, but once I requested my investment money back, all I got was the runaround. I've been waiting over a month and still haven't received my money. Do not borrow from them, they are not right. When I call I sit on the phone and all of a sudden it hangs up.

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


  • Payday lender - don't fall for it!

    • By Kyle C.,
    • Sacramento, CA,
    • Nov 19, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    They make you think you're becoming a "member" by providing you with some canned credit tips every day after you accept a $500 loan from them. You will pay a $79 "membership fee" each month in addition to a $42.93 payment on your loan. I received my $500 loan in July, and at the current rate, I will not have it paid off in full until June of 2019, at which point I will have paid them $1219.30!

    STAY AWAY from this company!

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


  • Won't let you cancel

    • By Dorothy B.,
    • Tennessee,
    • Aug 6, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    MoneyLion gives you basic info you can get from Google, and MoneyLion Plus is just an excuse to push loans on people. I tried to cancel my MoneyLion account today because I noticed they were still trying to charge my bank account even though I hadn't used the service in two months. I don't and never have had a loan with them. I contact customer service to cancel with them, and the rep tells me I have to pay $143.79 in order to cancel. $143.79 to cancel a membership I couldn't use already. I honestly would avoid MoneyLion. It's not worth the hassle.

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


  • Hostage situation

    • By Trevice A.,
    • Dallas, TX,
    • Nov 18, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I signed up for the service and I thought it was a good idea initially to upgrade my account. I completed the initial investment payment and then the monthly $39.50 fee. I then had a medical issue, and I was no longer going to be able to afford the service. I attempted to cancel via email. They stated I had to call to cancel. I did this and the representative stated, in short, that if I cancel I they would not be making any money. I requested in writing where I was not able to cancel the service. Please note, I do not have an outstanding loan with them. I was told to email the request. I did...crickets. So I call back and speak to Elario. He stated that he would cancel my service. Well, they did not cancel.

    They are wretched. I'm glad that they worked out for others, but all I want is my two payments back and my $25.00 from the investment account and we both walk away. Instead, they are trying to hold my money hostage.

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


  • MoneyLion loans are a scam

    • By Susan G.,
    • Beloit, OH,
    • Jul 19, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I will never get a loan from them again! I was very satisfied with my previous loans until a new company took over. I borrowed $500.00 on 3/1/18 and on 7/13/18 I still owe $303.50 even though I made an additional $200.00 payment on 7/2/18. That payment was never credited to my account. Although they take the payment out of your bank account on the due date, they hold the payment until the day before the payment is due, meantime accruing daily interest. I have repeatedly asked for an account statement, but they will not send or email one.

    I am on a mission to get these crooked predatory lenders shut down. I have filed a complaint with the attorney general's office. Would anyone be interested in starting a class action lawsuit? I have already contacted an attorney for myself.

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


  • Run away from this scam lender

    • By Will,
    • Charlotte, NC,
    • May 2, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    So first I want to say I am a MoneyLion Plus member. Second I want to tell you to run before you think of joining this because of the $500 loan offer, every single positive review on here was paid for by MoneyLion for $5. The funny thing is they refuse to even pay members the $5 they promised for leaving a positive review on here! They will lie to you from the beginning, and the customer service is horrific. No one speaks fluent English, so unless you can speak Spanish, you are out of luck.

    The investment portion of the MoneyLion Plus account is also a scam and in no way do you really participate in stock market gains. Nor can you get your money back or close the account until the loan (if you have one) is paid back in full. You are better off investing with a transparent and honest company like Acorns or Stash. This is simply a payday lender in sheep's clothing who will lie to you from day one and not deliver on any promise they make. Therefore, I have changes the fake positive review I left on here because I was promised $5, which they never even paid.

    Do not join, you will regret it. I certainly have, and that is a free, honest review.

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


  • Do not engage with MoneyLion Plus!

    • By Alex R.,
    • California,
    • Jul 11, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    First, I will say that I really wanted to believe this was a legitimate operation. Now I know otherwise.

    I attempted to cancel my MoneyLion Plus membership today, before my stated due date. However, I was told I could not, and the fee was already being pulled from my account, despite the fact that I did not authorize any payment. In fact, I was told I needed to cancel the fee three days ago to stop it, which makes no sense at all.

    Amelia, the call agent helping me, was able to put the cancellation form through eventually. However, she did say I might still get charged $79 regardless because she was unable to stop it on her end. Considering it hasn't even been a full month since I signed up, and it was supposed to be pulled on my payday of 7/10, this is five days earlier than I initially agreed to. I am going to report this charge to my bank.

    I will say that this whole process doesn't feel legal.

    1. Call center staff should be able to cancel a membership no matter what stage in the pending process as long as it is before the agreed upon date.

    2. Pulling money from someone's account before authorized is not legal.

    3. This whole thing is ethically reprehensible. As someone who works with marginalized communities, those with low incomes are more likely to sign up for these services. Which means they are disproportionately targeted when scams like this happen.

    I definitely didn't agree to be charged today and may have to take legal action if they continue to charge me for subscriptions and do not refund the fee.

    Please don't open an account with them! It's all fake promises! They don't let you out, and it's a terrible process.

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


  • Unbelievable

    • By Jonathan R.,
    • New York,
    • Jun 5, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I took out a $500 loan with no problem. Really misleading terms. You have to pay $72 a month for a membership fee ON TOP of paying back your loan. I literally pay more for the membership fee every month than I do my loan.

    It is disguised as a cool, young, hip millennial app with those flash cards and giving you a dollar every day you get through them.

    The only option is to pay off the loan in full. Next paycheck I am paying it off in full and withdrawing all of my funds, deleting the app and never using it again.

    The five star reviews on here cannot be real.

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


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