PayActiv Review 2022: Access Your Money Earlier


GOBanking Rates Score

Quick take: PayActiv is a unique app and prepaid debit card that aims to serve the country’s estimated 7.1 million unbanked households with a variety of financial tools, including cash advances of up to 50% off their paychecks . PayActiv is billed as the first payday early access program approved by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • Costs
  • Features
  • Security
  • Customer service

How did we calculate this?


  • Send and receive money
  • Pay the bills
  • Access your paycheck up to 2 days in advance or get a cash advance even sooner
  • No activation or monthly maintenance fees
  • Get financial insights and access money management tools through the app
  • Funds up to $250,000 protected by Central Bank of Kansas City FDIC approved

The inconvenients

  • Some features may have associated fees
  • Can only access 50% of your net salary as an advance
  • Some features are only available if your employer is part of the PayActiv EWA program

Introducing PayActiv

PayActiv is the first Early Wage Access program approved by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. As such, it allows employees to access up to 50% of their salary before payday. PayActiv is not a credit card or payday loan company. There are no fees or interest associated with your payday cash advance.

Described as an all-in-one digital wallet on the PayActiv website, the service offers users a free Visa prepaid card, money management tools and the ability to access 50% of your money as you go. as it’s earned instead of waiting for your pay period to end when you receive your check or direct deposit.

Main characteristics

PayActiv got its score of 4.7 from GOBankingRates based on the following characteristics.


At a time when so many consumers are looking for no-fee banking services, many also expect other financial services to be offered without fees or interest charges. And PayActiv comes close, which is why it scored a 4.9 in this category.

There are no fees to load money onto your Prepaid Visa card or to use your card in many places, including 37,000 MoneyPass ATMs nationwide.

There are no monthly maintenance fees for having a PayActiv account and no activation fees. Perhaps most importantly, you can take a cash advance of up to 50% of your earned salary with no fees or interest charges.

However, you will pay a fee of up to $1 per day, capped at $5 per month, each time you use the program to make a bank transfer, load your card, pay a bill with your prepaid Visa card or use the money for Uber or Amazon. You will also pay a $1.99 fee if you receive a cash advance at a Walmart Money Center.

However, compared to the high interest rates of a payday loan or cash advance on a credit card, the PayActiv fee is minimal.


PayActiv is a robust financial app, with features that include automated savings – if your PayActiv Visa card is linked to a bank account – low balance alerts, and capabilities to send money to friends and family who also have PayActiv cards for free.

What stands out from PayActiv is the possibility of receiving up to 50% of your net salary earned each period as a cash advance. However, this access to earned wages – the main selling point of the PayActiv app – is only available if your employer also participates in the program.


Of course, a key consideration when using fintech or carrying a new debit card is: how secure is it?

There are two levels to consider when reviewing PayActiv’s safety and security features: protecting your money and protecting your financial information. PayActiv gets high marks in both areas.

First, since the money in your PayActiv account is held by Central Bank of Kansas City, an FDIC-insured institution, your money up to $250,000 is protected.

The PayActiv debit card is backed by Visa’s Zero Liability Fraud Protection, which can protect you against fraud and unauthorized use of your card. You can also easily lock lost or stolen cards.

The PayActiv app uses encryption and secure transmission technology to protect your data.

Customer service

PayActiv offers a toll-free customer service phone number to call for assistance and also has online live chat and email for those who prefer not to talk on the phone. Live support is available 24/7/365 online or by phone, according to the PayActiv website.

PayActiv is accredited by the Better Business Bureau with a B, which is generally an indication of good customer service. But it also has 116 complaints on the website and only received 2.63 stars from BBB customer reviews. However, it got a TrustPilot score of 3.3.

The app is highly rated on App Store and Google Play Store. Customer complaints are largely related to technical issues that prevent people from accessing their funds or managing their money.

How PayActiv stands out

PayActiv is the first CFPB-approved Early Wage Access program and is used by many employers across the United States, including Walmart, Uber, Pizza Hut, Subway, and Neiman Marcus.

It does not require any credit checks to access the funds, and the amount you can withdraw is based on the salary you have earned. It’s free to use PayActiv for many services, including withdrawing funds from a partner ATM.

Comparable cash advance options

There are many popular cash advance apps today that can help people avoid high-interest credit card cash advances or predatory payday loans. If your employer does not use PayActiv, it may be better to choose another option.


The Empower app offers free cash advances between $25 and $250 to users, as well as a cashback debit card.

One downside is that Empower charges a monthly fee of $8. However, there are very few additional costs. A $12 fee applies if you need an immediate cash advance; otherwise, your money will be available in your linked bank account within a few days.

Dave App

The Dave mobile banking app is another app that allows cash advances of up to $500 with no credit check required, no interest charges, and no late fees. You can withdraw funds using your Dave debit card at any of the 32,000 MoneyPass ATMs nationwide.

Dave charges a membership fee of $1 per month, which is much lower than Empower. You may even pay less for Dave than you would with PayActiv, depending on the PayActiv services you use each month.

Like Empower and PayActiv, Dave also offers money management features. Dave has a unique feature that helps you find side gigs to earn some extra cash, which can help if you’re constantly missing out before payday.

How to register

Applying for PayActiv is easy. If your employer is already a member, you will need to ask them to create a PayActiv account for you. If you want to join PayActiv on your own, all you have to do is download the app and create an account with your name, phone number and email address.

PayActiv works best with a linked bank account, but you don’t need to have a bank to have funds preloaded onto your PayActiv Prepaid Visa and use your Visa card for bill payments, purchases and more.

Who is PayActiv for?

PayActiv is best for workers whose employers already use the service because it’s a free and easy way to spend your paycheck as you earn it, without waiting for your next paycheck.

Final take

PayActiv is a revolutionary fintech company that provides a much-needed service to many workers who need a little help transitioning from paycheck to paycheck. With low fees and no interest charges, plus robust features that help you manage your money, PayActiv can help you take more control of your financial future.


  • How long does it take to get money from PayActiv?
    • If you transfer money to your PayActiv Prepaid Visa, you should receive the funds instantly. Transfers to bank accounts and other debit or prepaid cards will complete within 48 hours, or you can pay a $1.99 fee to receive the money instantly.
  • How does PayActiv work?
    • PayActive interfaces with your employer’s time and attendance system to make your pay available as it’s earned, rather than waiting until payday. You can receive a cash advance of up to 50% of a day’s pay. Money accessed through PayActiv will appear as a deduction on your next paycheck.
  • Does PayActiv give a cash advance?
    • Yes. Workers whose employers are part of the PayActiv EWA program can receive a cash advance of up to 50% of their earned wages. Payroll check direct deposits may also appear on the PayActiv debit card up to 2 days before they are normally processed.
  • How many times can you use PayActiv in a pay period?
    • You can perform up to three cash advance transactions per pay period.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by PayActive, Empower or Dave. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise endorsed by PayActive, Empower or Dave.

About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketer with interests in finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. His long list of publishing credits includes Bankrate, Lending Tree and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of, a travel, technology and entertainment website. She lives in Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten and three lizards of different sizes and personalities – plus her two children and her husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.


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