Cash advance apps

SoLo Funds 2024 Review: Peer-to-Peer Cash Advances

SoLo Funds provides peer-to-peer cash advances that may be suitable for small, non-urgent expenses.
Annie Millerbernd
By Annie Millerbernd 
Edited by Kim Lowe

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SoLo Funds
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Affordability

Structure

Transparency

Underwriting and consumer protections

Customer experience


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SoLo Funds is a mobile app that provides peer-to-peer cash advances through its feature called “The Marketplace.” Borrowers request an advance, and lenders — who are other consumers rather than financial institutions — choose which requests to fund.

The app gives users more control over the loan than some of its competitors, including the ability to choose a loan amount and repayment date.

The biggest drawback with SoLo Funds is funding time. Lenders decide whether to fund your loan, which can take three days. Other apps tell you instantly whether you can get an advance and how much. About 55% to 60% of requested SoLo Funds advances are fulfilled, says co-founder Rodney Williams.

Pros

Advances up to $575.

Does not overdraw accounts.

Allows users to choose repayment date.

Cons

Advance requests have a 55% to 60% chance of approval.

Approval can take up to three days.

Does not offer help budgeting or saving.

Requests an optional tip and a donation.

Multiple alleged state and federal regulatory violations.

SoLo Funds cash advance basics: Amounts, fees and funding time

How much can I borrow from SoLo Funds?

  • $20 to $575.

What fees does SoLo Funds charge?

  • Optional tip: Up to 15% of advance amount.

  • Optional donation: Up to 9%.

  • Instant-withdrawal fee: 1.75%.

  • Late fee: 10%. Additional late fees may apply.

How do you repay SoLo Funds?

  • You choose a date and manually repay the advance on that date.

How long does it take to get a cash advance from SoLo Funds?

  • Once a lender accepts your request through the SoLo Funds marketplace, funding takes minutes.

  • Loan requests that aren't funded within three days are removed from the Marketplace.

A word of caution: Users of cash advance apps, including SoLo Funds, may risk becoming dependent on loans to cover regular expenses — a cycle of debt that’s difficult to break. It’s a good idea to consider affordable alternatives before getting an advance from SoLo Funds.

Who SoLo Funds is best for

  • Consumers with thin or bad credit.

  • Those who maintain a positive bank account balance.

  • Users who can afford to repay the advance on their chosen date, or within 35 days, to avoid a late fee.

  • Those looking for occasional help paying for a small purchase.

  • Consumers who don’t need the funds fast.

What you need for a SoLo Funds advance

Like most cash advance apps, SoLo Funds reviews your bank account information to determine eligibility, and it does not check your credit.

Unlike most apps, SoLo Funds doesn’t deny users an advance. It gives a score that lenders use, along with information about the request, to decide whether to fund a loan.

Here’s what you need to get an advance with SoLo Funds.

  • Government-issued ID and Social Security number.

  • Phone number.

  • Bank account with a debit card.

  • Positive bank account balance and sufficient transaction data.

How to get a SoLo Funds cash advance: Step-by-step instructions

The process for borrowing and repaying a SoLo Funds cash advance may vary by state, but here are the typical steps to get a SoLo Funds advance:

  1. Create a profile in the app, including your name, birthdate, address and Social Security number.

  2. Link your bank account and get your SoLo score, which is between 20 and 60 for first-time users. Users can see their scores in the app.

  3. Request an advance, including an amount, reason for borrowing, optional tip to the lender and optional donation to SoLo Funds. First-time borrowers have a $100 borrowing limit that increases by $75 with every on-time repayment.

  4. Choose your repayment date. 

  5. Submit the request and wait for funding. Once funded, the advance will transfer to your bank account within minutes. If your loan isn’t funded within three days, it will be removed and you can request another.

  6. Repay the advance. Unlike other apps that withdraw funds on your repayment date, users manually repay SoLo Funds advances. If you don’t repay the advance within 35 days after the loan is funded, you’ll incur a late fee that’s 10% of the advance amount and a smaller transaction fee.

Frequently asked questions about SoLo Funds

How do tips and donations work?

The tipping process can vary by state, but typically when you submit a request, SoLo Funds asks if you want to include a tip for the lender. The app also asks if you want to make a donation to SoLo Funds. Both are optional. Lenders may see this information, and it may influence their decision to fund your loan.

What if I don’t repay my SoLo Funds advance?

If you don’t repay the advance within 35 days after getting it, SoLo Funds will try to collect the money for 90 days. Then it will send the loan to a third-party collections agency. Even if the loan is sent to collections, SoLo Funds says it won’t affect your credit score.

Does SoLo Funds check credit?

No. SoLo Funds does not pull your credit to qualify you for a cash advance.

Can I change my SoLo Funds due date?

Technically, you can’t change the date your payment is due, but there aren’t consequences for missing a payment until the 35th day after the loan is made, according to the company’s website. Your SoLo score is based on repayment history, so late payments may lower your score and make it difficult to get advances in the future.

Will SoLo Funds cause an overdraft fee?

SoLo Funds only withdraws money from an account if the payment is late, and the company says it checks the bank account before debiting to avoid causing an overdraft.

How do I contact SoLo Funds customer service?

You can contact SoLo Funds customer service via email, a contact form on the website, the app’s chat feature or text message. You can’t call SoLo Funds customer service.

Is SoLo Funds Legit?

SoLo Funds is a real company based in Los Angeles. It has provided cash advances since April 2018. The app has 4 stars across more than 14,000 reviews on Google Play and 4.4 stars across more than 23,000 reviews on the Apple Store.

Many recent reviews on the Better Business Bureau and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) websites are from borrowers who could not change their repayment date and lenders who weren’t repaid.

SoLo Funds has had run-ins with state and federal regulatory agencies. Most recently, the CFPB sued SoLo Funds for allegedly using false advertising and a lack of transparency around the costs of its advances, not ensuring that consumers’ “SoLo score” was accurate, providing loans without a license and other violations.

In a press release, SoLo Funds accused regulators of stifling its innovation as it attempts to provide alternatives to predatory products such as payday loans. The app did not directly address the bureau’s accusations in the release, but said the company was “blindsided” by the lawsuit after it spent more than a year negotiating regulatory guardrails with the CFPB.

  • To continue operating in Connecticut, SoLo Funds was required to pay a $100,000 penalty and refund all tips, donations and fees to Connecticut borrowers. SoLo Funds also told the state’s banking commission that it would change its marketplace and tipping systems.

  • SoLo Funds stopped operating in California when the state’s Department of Financial Protection and Innovation began investigating the app in 2021. The agency issued a consent order in 2023 with findings that the app violated California’s interest rate limits, brokered loans in the state without a license and claimed that the loans had 0% annual percentage rate (APR) in violation of the Truth in Lending Act.

  • To continue operating in D.C., the app must prevent lenders from seeing whether the borrower has added a tip before making a loan decision, and it must clearly disclose to borrowers that tips are optional and the decision to tip does not affect a borrower’s ability to get funds, according to the Washington, D.C., attorney general’s office.

A closer look at SoLo Funds star rating

Affordability: 3/5 stars

An affordable cash advance has low or no fees, caps tips and protects users from overdraft fees caused by the app’s withdrawals.

Structure: 3/5 stars

A well-structured app has a large enough maximum borrowing amount to meet users’ needs, can provide funds quickly without charging a fee and allows users repayment flexibility.

Transparency: 4/5 stars

A transparent cash advance app notifies users before withdrawals, discloses fees clearly to borrowers on their website or in the app and shows the total amount the user needs to repay before providing funds.

Underwriting and consumer protections: 2.5/5

This category assesses how well an app helps borrowers avoid borrowing an advance that will overextend their finances. A consumer-first cash advance app reviews more than a couple months of borrowers’ expenses, requires regular bank account deposits and lets borrowers choose how much to borrow.

Customer experience: 3/5

A well-rated cash advance app with multiple ways to contact customer service representatives and a thorough FAQ on its website will do well in this category.

Discretionary additions or deductions

Cash advance apps can earn a higher star rating by offering features that help borrowers build savings or credit. Apps’ star ratings are lowered if they are accused of engaging in deceptive or predatory practices by reputable sources.

Expert take on Solo Funds

"SoLo Funds is unique among cash advance apps. Because it’s a peer-to-peer platform, you’re at the mercy of other people, who may or may not fund your loan request. Some apps take a few days after approval to send an advance, but at least you know it’s coming.

Plus, the app requests both a tip and a donation in a way that may pressure you to tip or donate more than you otherwise would just to get an advance. This effectively defeats the purpose of calling them “tips” and “donations.”

SoLo Funds gives users more control over their advances than competitors. Borrowers can choose their repayment date and try to appeal to lenders in their reason for borrowing. There are also no mandatory fees to use the app.

This app may work better if you want to make a small purchase, but may not be useful in an emergency if you need funds fast."

Annie Millerbernd, Assistant Assigning Editor, Personal Loans

Explore more cash advance apps

Brigit

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

Advance amounts

$50 to $250.

Fees

  • Monthly subscription fee: $9.99 or $14.99.

  • Optional fast-funding fee: $0.99 to $3.99.

Repayment

Withdrawn from your bank account on the date Brigit determines to be your next payday.

Time to fund without express fee

1 to 3 days.

Time to fund with express fee

20 minutes.

Empower

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

Advance amounts

$10 to $250.

Fees

  • Subscription fee: $8 per month, or $0 if you opt out.

  • Optional fast-funding fee: $1 to $8.

  • Optional tip: Up to 20% per advance, capped each calendar year at your eligible advance amount.

Repayment

Withdrawn from your bank account on your predetermined due date.

Time to fund without express fee

One business day.

Time to fund with express fee

Within one hour.

Methodology

NerdWallet reviews and rates cash advance products from financial companies that provide cash advance apps. We collect over 24 data points from each company, verify the information with company representatives and compare the app with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar cash advance product. NerdWallet writers and editors conduct a full fact check and update annually, but also make updates throughout the year as necessary.

The maximum allowable rating for cash advance apps that we review is four stars. Our star ratings award points to cash advance apps that offer consumer-friendly features, including: caps on voluntary tips, protections from overdraft fees caused by app withdrawals, low cost of borrowing and an assessment of the user’s finances before providing an advance. The system also rewards points for features that a consumer seeking an advance would find useful, such as: fast funding without a fee, allowing users to borrow less than they were approved for and customer ratings. Additional points are awarded to apps that provide pathways to budgeting and saving, which are features that can help prevent a user from habitually reborrowing. We weigh these factors based on our assessment of which are the most important for consumers and how they impact consumers’ experiences.

NerdWallet does not receive compensation for our star ratings. Read more about our ratings methodologies for personal loans and our editorial guidelines.

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