Banking

What Bank Is Empower

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 6 minute read

The credit system shouldn’t be rigged against regular people, and that’s the idea behind Empower, a financial empowerment software with a catchy name. The main product offered by Empower is a reverse of the conventional credit system, a paycheck cash advance. 

As you make timely payments toward your loans, your credit history and score will improve. An Empower Card account can shorten the time it takes to get your paycheck by two days. Intrigued? Keep reading to find out all the ways in which Empower may help you.

Characteristics of Empower

Empower goes beyond the scope of a typical payday loan software. It has two tiers of cash advance strength and a convenient debit card that can get you paid up to two days early if you qualify. Let me fill you in on the essentials of Empower.

Advance Cash Empower

Empower Cash Advance is the service’s main offering. If you need money before your next paycheck, you can use this to borrow up to $250. There is no need to worry about your credit history while applying for or taking out an advance with Empower Cash Advance. 

There is no interest charged on cash advances, and there is no late fee if you are late with a repayment. Empower Cash Advance offers a 14-day free trial, after which it costs $8 per month. 

However, Empower will share your payment history with the three major consumer credit bureaus. Also, if you have a high credit score, you may qualify for lower interest rates on future loans and credit cards.

Empower Card

Empower provides its customers with a Visa debit card called the Empower Card. Although not required, Empower advises using one so that you can receive your funds quickly. As soon as you request an advance on your Empower Card, the cash will be loaded onto the card.

Your Empower Card can be used anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted, and you can load it with money through automatic payroll or government benefit deductions. If your employer is one of the ones who participate in early payment, you could receive your paycheck on Wednesday instead of Friday.

Additional Empower Card perks include:

  • Free access to nearly 40,000 MoneyPass ATMs
  • Up to 10% cash back on eligible purchases
  • Automatic repayment of instant cash advances when you get paid

Empower Thrive

The new Empower Thrive service level doesn’t cost any more than Empower Cash Advance, but it provides access to far larger amounts of cash in a much shorter amount of time.

Starting with a $200 advance on your next salary, you can gradually grow your credit line up to a maximum of $1,000. Receiving and repaying loans or other forms of credit helps build a positive credit history.

When repaid on time, advances from Empower Thrive don’t incur interest charges, just as those from Empower Cash Advance. If not, you’ll have to deal with an interest rate that fluctuates with the market.

Associated Bank Accounts

You are under no obligation to apply for an Empower Card account. If you have external savings or checking account with a U.S. bank that is securely linked to your Empower app, you can get cash advances there.

There won’t be any extra charges, but your external account will need to be patient while the money transfers across. This is not great if you need the money quickly because it can take a few working days.

Empower AutoSave

With the help of your income and expenditure data, the Empower AutoSave function discreetly deposits small sums into a savings jar as often as four times per week.

At any moment, you can make adjustments to your savings strategy or continue to rely on Empower to handle everything automatically. You may keep more of your hard-earned money at the end of each month by imposing a spending cap on yourself.

Your savings balances won’t accrue interest, but they’re isolated from your available funds, so they won’t be touched unless you specifically request their withdrawal.

Empower Fees

With the exception of the $8 monthly cost, the taxes and fees associated with Empower are minimal.

 The following are not included in any of Empower’s fees:

  • Minimum balance fees
  • Overdraft fees, although Empower generally denies transactions if they’d result in a negative account balance
  • Insufficient funds fees
  • ACH transfer fees
  • Card replacement fees
  • In-network ATM fees

There will be a 1% foreign exchange fee charged to your Empower Card for any purchases made with it outside of the United States.

Benefits of Empower

The benefits of Empower are numerous. There is no need to worry about a credit check when signing up, you can get a cash advance right away without any fees, and with responsible use, you can really start establishing credit.

  • Payday Loans in a Snap! Instant cash advances are available to Empower Cardholders. The advance is activated immediately, so you can use the money to pay your bills as they come due.
  • Empower Cash Advance doesn’t charge interest or late fees. If you can’t pay your loan back in full when your next paycheck arrives, that’s okay; Empower Cash Advance won’t penalize you. The greatest approach to increasing your credit with Empower is, of course, to repay your advances on time.
  • Empower Cash Advance offers advances of up to $250, while Empower Thrive offers advances of up to $1,000. With Empower Cash Advance, you can request a cash advance of up to $250. As you use Empower responsibly, you may be eligible for advances of up to $1,000 through the Empower Thrive program.
  • There is no need to worry about your credit rating when signing up. In order to open an Empower account or receive a cash advance, a customer’s credit history is not checked. That’s why it’s perfect for people who might have credit limitations or problems.
  • Possibility of Responsible Use Leading to an Increase in Credit Score. There is a chance that, with careful use of Empower, you can improve your credit history and score over time. Payback cash advances on time, and be responsible with any other credit you seek, for the greatest results.
  • Attempt it risk-free for 14 days. During Empower’s 14-day free trial period, you won’t have to worry about the regular subscription cost. This should be sufficient time for you to complete one cash advance cycle before you are under any further obligation to Empower.

The Drawbacks of Empowerment

There are flaws in the Empower system. Consistent with other services, there is a monthly fee after the initial 14 days, and users who want to advance in their credit adventures are left without access to a credit card.

  • After the initial trial period ends, you will be required to pay the regular monthly fee. The $8 monthly price for Empower isn’t outrageous if you use the platform regularly, but there is no way to get around it.
  • Without a Charge Card (Yet). Empower is a fantastic way to improve your credit, albeit advances must be paid back on your next income, making it slightly less flexible than a secured credit card. While Empower’s debit card, the Empower Card, is convenient, the company does not yet issue a credit card.
  • There will be no savings interest. Empower is not a high-interest savings account. Choose a different low-fee financial account if you want a better return on your savings.

How Empower Measures Up

There are more apps available for payday cash advances besides Empower. It immediately competes with Brigit, an additional user-friendly, reasonably priced, and iOS and Android-compatible app.

Here is how the two compare:

EmpowerBrigit
Monthly Subscription Fee for Instant Deposit$8$10
Maximum Advance$250 with Empower Cash Advance; $1,000 with Empower Thrive$250
Late Fees?NoNo
Budgeting Tools?YesNo

Bottom Line

If you have the Empower Card and your payer is eligible, Empower is a handy method to get a portion of your upcoming salary days in advance—and to get paid in full as early as two days before that.

If you’ve had trouble doing so through other methods or you’re simply unfamiliar with credit in general, Empower is a terrific tool for building and boosting credit. It will, however, only function as stated if you use it sensibly and refrain from other actions that could lower your credit score.

Although Empower is an excellent tool, it cannot perform miracles.

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