MoneyLion Checking Account Review
If you're looking for a new checking account, don't count out options other than banks.
MoneyLion is a personal finance company that offers several different products and services. That includes loans and simple investing through the MoneyLion app.
Checking is one attractive product from MoneyLion. Core Membership offers zero-fee checking, with debit card access at more than 55,000 no-fee ATMs.
That might sound good if you're looking for a traditional checking account alternative.
Is it worth making the switch?
Read this review to learn whether a MoneyLion checking account may be a good fit for you.
MoneyLion Checking Account Pros & Cons
Many big banks are moving away from free checking but MoneyLion doesn't follow the crowd. When you open a Core Membership checking account, you pay:
- No minimum balance fees
- No overdraft or nonsufficient funds fees
- No monthly maintenance fees
You also get access to 55,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide.
Core Membership delivers everything you need from checking, without the high costs you might pay at a traditional bank.
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You can use your account to do all the things you could do with a regular checking account. That includes checking your balance, paying bills and using your MoneyLion debit card to make purchases.
Another helpful feature you might like:
The MoneyLion app links up to mobile wallets.
You can add your MoneyLion debit card to Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Google Pay. That makes spending online, through mobile apps or in-store even easier and more secure.
Free Paycheck Cash Advances
Keeping a budget each month can help you stay on top of your expenses. But sometimes, you can come up short.
You might use a credit card to cover the gap. But, you could skip that option with Core Membership.
MoneyLion allows you to take 0% APR cash advances of up to $250. You can get the advance deposited right to your checking account so you can pay bills or cover other expenses.
That's a much better deal compared to a traditional credit card cash advance. When you get an advance from a credit card, it usually comes with a fee of 2 to 5 percent.
Not to mention, you can pay close to 30% APR on advances. And interest starts accruing on cash advances right away; there's no grace period.
The Instacash feature is a nice extra perk you might like if you occasionally run low on funds. It's quick, convenient and inexpensive.
There are a few rules to qualify for Instacash advances:
- You must have a MoneyLion checking account
- You must have a recurring direct deposit of $250 or more into your account
- You must have completed at least two pay cycles of direct deposit into your account before you can start using Instacash
Just don't get in the habit of relying on it too often, since that could make it harder to get ahead with your money goals.
MoneyLion rewards you for completing certain tasks. You perform a task and get a set number of points.
You can then redeem points for gift cards at partner brands, starting at $25.
Some of the ways you can earn rewards include:
- Signing up for a free MoneyLion account
- Downloading the mobile app
- Getting a loan through MoneyLion
- Making bill payments on time
- Signing up for free credit monitoring through MoneyLion
MoneyLion has plans to extend rewards to everyday purchases as well, although this feature hasn't rolled out yet.
If you're looking for more than just points, you could also earn cash rewards. MoneyLion will give you $1 every day just for logging into the app.
This benefit is only available with a Plus Membership, however.
Plus Membership gives you everything that comes with Core Membership. But you also get some extras, like:
- Access to low interest loans
- Weekly credit score updates
- Access to the members-only Plus Facebook group
Plus Membership is $29 a month, compared to free for Core. But, you can pay $0 for Plus Membership if you log into the app daily.
So which one is better?
Value-wise, MoneyLion estimates that Core Membership's features are worth $525 annually. Plus Membership is worth more than $1,000.
The main advantage of Plus Membership is being able to get a low-rate, credit builder loan. And of course, getting $1 a day in cash back isn't bad either.
Free Investing Advice
If you're trying to save and grow wealth while managing spending, you can do both with a Core Membership.
The MoneyLion Investment Account is a zero-fee managed investment account. You can use it to build a portfolio of low-cost exchange-traded funds.
MoneyLion helps you create an investment strategy that's tailored to your goals, needs and risk tolerance. Automatic rebalancing is included so you don't have to worry about your asset allocation straying off-course.
You can automate your investments in a different way if you have a Plus Membership.
When you enroll in Plus, MoneyLion automatically moves $50 a month from your checking account to your investment account each month.
It's an easy way to watch your money grow over time.
MoneyLion bank accounts are provided through Lincoln Savings Bank, which is an FDIC member.
That means the money in your checking account is covered by FDIC insurance, up to $250,000.
Investment accounts aren't FDIC-insured, however.
How to Use the MoneyLion Checking Account
The Core Membership account and the Plus account are completely digital.
There are no checks and no branches. You can manage your money through the mobile app or visit an ATM if you need cash.
MoneyLion allows you to set up direct deposit to your checking account. Mobile check deposit (a convenient way to deposit checks from anywhere) isn't an option right now but it's a feature that's in the works.
You can't make cash deposits at the ATM either (at least, not yet).
You can transfer money into your checking account through a linked account at another bank.
And if you have money in a MoneyLion investment account, you can transfer funds from there as well.
As far as ATM access goes, you can use 55,000 no-fee Allpoint ATMs nationwide.
If you use a machine outside the Allpoint network, you'll pay an ATM fee of $2.50. The ATM owner could also charge you an out-of-network fee too.
The only other fee to know about is the 0.8 percent foreign transaction fee. That kicks in when you use your card abroad.
Free credit tracking
Aside from that, Core Membership really is fee-free. That includes being able to check your credit history at no cost.
It's free to sign up and check your credit reports from Equifax and TransUnion. That's helpful for spotting errors, tracking credit score changes and monitoring for identity theft or fraud.
Compared to Other Checking Accounts
Any time you're looking for a checking account, it's good to shop around. And it's helpful to have a short list of things to compare.
As you weigh a MoneyLion checking account against other checking options, consider:
- What you'll pay in fees
- Whether there's a minimum balance requirement
- If you also need a savings account to go with checking
- How easily you can access your account online or at an ATM
- What features and functions you get (i.e. direct deposit, mobile check deposit, automatic savings)
- Whether the account offers any perks, such as rewards or discounts
- What kind of fraud protection and security features are included
- Whether the bank is FDIC-insured
Finally, consider whether you want a checking account that offers branch access. You might live your financial life mostly online, but if you want to be able to visit a branch now and then that's something to weigh in.
Whether MoneyLion is the checking account for you depends on what you need and want from a banking experience.
This account could be good for someone who wants to pay no fees for checking. And it's also suited to people who are comfortable doing all their banking online.
Upgrading to a Plus Membership might be appealing if you're looking for a low-cost loan. Or, you just want to earn some cash back every day.
But, you might be better off with a different account if you like having branch access or you want to be able to write checks from your account. The lack of mobile check deposit and ATM cash deposit could also be a stumbling block for some people.
Overall, MoneyLion is a good option to consider for fee-free checking. But of course, take time to look at all your checking choices before making a final decision.