Varo Cash Advance 2024 Review

Varo’s cash advance may be useful for Varo bank customers who need cash fast and want more than two weeks to pay it back.
Annie Millerbernd
Last updated on February 6, 2024
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed
Kim Lowe
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed

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Our Take


NerdWallet rating
The Nerdy headline:

Varo offers cash advances to customers only. Though the app offers more repayment flexibility than most other apps, the advance is more expensive, too.

Jump to:Full Review
Varo Cash Advance
Varo Cash Advance

Loan amount
$20 - $500
Min. credit score
on Varo's website


  • No option to tip.
  • Up to 30 days to repay.
  • Funding is instant.
  • Saving and credit-building tools.


  • Fees are mandatory, and high compared to some other apps.
  • Must have a Varo bank account.
  • Users cannot change repayment date.
  • Repayment may cause users to overdraw their Varo accounts.
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Full Review

Varo cash advances are a fast-cash option for Varo bank customers who need a small advance before payday. Unlike most cash advance apps, Varo allows borrowers to choose their own repayment date, which can be up to 30 days after borrowing.

Varo also doesn’t ask for an optional tip, which is a common request from other apps, and instead charges a single flat fee per advance. The fee is high compared with other apps, charging up to $40 for a $500 advance, so it’s worth your time to compare other apps in search of a more affordable advance.

Table of contents

Varo cash advance amounts, fees and repayment terms

Advance amounts

$20 to $500.


  • Advance fee: $1.60 to $40.


Payment is due between 15 and 30 days after borrowing. Borrowers can choose from a list of available repayment dates when they borrow.

Time to fund


Should you use Varo’s cash advance feature?

When used occasionally, Varo’s cash advance can be useful if you:

  • Are a Varo bank customer.

  • Need to cover an emergency expense.

  • Have a plan to repay the advance, plus the fee, and cover other expenses.

  • Are paid by direct deposit.

Varo’s advance might not be a good solution if you:

  • Regularly spend more than you earn.

  • Are a freelance or gig worker.

  • Can find a loan or advance with a lower fee.


Nerdy Tip

Though cash advances from an app are generally cheaper than payday loans, they may encourage users to rely on borrowed money to bridge income gaps, which can lead to a cycle of borrowing. In 2021, the Financial Health Network released a study that included multiple years of usage data and found that app users frequently take advances consecutively — behavior that is consistent with payday loan borrowing.

Is the Varo app legit?

Varo Bank is based in San Francisco and has offered cash advances since 2020. The app offers several other products, including checking and savings accounts, a secured credit card and free tax-filing services. The app has 4.7 stars across more than 200,000 reviews on Google Play and 4.9 stars across more than 188,000 ratings on the Apple App Store.

Recent customer complaints with the Better Business Bureau focus on unexplained account closures and difficult-to-reach customer service representatives.

How to qualify for Varo’s cash advance

Like most other cash advance apps, Varo doesn’t do a soft or hard credit check to determine eligibility, but borrowers must have a Varo bank account. The app reviews Varo customers’ accounts, including any checking, savings and secured credit card accounts, to determine eligibility.

Here’s what the app says is required to be eligible for an advance:

  • Qualifying direct deposits of at least $800 during the current or previous month. Qualifying deposits may include income from employment, pension or government benefits. Tax refunds, government stimulus payments and payments via peer-to-peer money transfer services like Venmo don’t qualify.

  • A Varo bank account that isn’t negative, suspended or closed.

  • No previous late or missed advance payments.

  • If applicable, no missed payments on the Varo secured credit card.

The company says it reviews information like whether the user maintains a positive bank account balance, and whether they pay bills on time, to determine the advance amount.

How Varo’s cash advances work

Here are the steps to get an advance from Varo.

  1. When a Varo customer requests an advance, the app asks them to confirm their name and address and input their monthly income and employment status. 

  2. Users are shown how much they’re eligible to borrow. At first, the amount will be between $20 and $250. The user will confirm the advance amount and the advance fee (between $1.60 and $20) and choose a repayment date.

  3. The advance is deposited into the user’s Varo bank account immediately.

  4. On the repayment date, Varo withdraws funds from the account where the advance was deposited. If there are insufficient funds at the time of withdrawal, Varo will overdraw the account and the user won’t be eligible for another advance until the balance is positive again.

  5. Users may be able to increase their eligible advance amount to $500 over time by borrowing and repaying advances on time and keeping other accounts in good standing.

Can I change my Varo advance repayment date?

No. When a user gets an advance, the app prompts them to choose a repayment date within 15 to 30 days. Once the date is chosen, it can’t be changed.

Will Varo’s cash advance cause an overdraft fee?

No. If there aren’t sufficient funds in your bank account at the time of repayment, the bank will overdraw your Varo bank account. However, Varo doesn’t charge overdraft fees, so an overdrawn account won’t cost extra.

How do I contact Varo’s customer service?

Most customers are asked to reach out to Varo via an online form. The bank has a phone number for customers, but that channel is only for a few specific issues, according to the website.

Other Varo features

Build your savings

Varo has two features that users can opt into to save money, which can come in handy when an emergency strikes or you need to bridge an income gap.

Automatic savings: Users can have the app automatically deposit part of their paycheck into a Varo savings account on payday. This is a helpful feature, but it’s also a common one. Even if your bank doesn’t offer this feature, consumers who are paid by direct deposit may request their employer deposit part of their paycheck into a savings account.

Rounded up savings: A slightly less common feature, Save Your Change tells the app to round up each purchase and deposit the extra change into your savings account. For example, if you buy a coffee for $3.50, Varo will round the purchase up to $4 and deposit the extra 50 cents into your savings account.

Secured credit card

Varo offers qualifying users a secured credit card and reports payments to the three major credit bureaus, which can help consumers build credit. The card has a 0% APR, which is lower than most secured cards, but you’ll never pay interest on a secured card if you pay the balance in full each month.

Compare Varo with other cash advance apps

Varo’s cash advance touts instant funding for existing Varo Bank customers. Its advances may have longer repayment periods than other apps, which can help consumers avoid reborrowing quickly after payment, but there’s no option to change the due date.

If you’re an eligible Varo customer, it may still be worth your time to find an app with lower fees for an advance and use Varo’s savings and credit-building features to bolster your emergency fund and credit.

Varo vs. other cash advance apps

Loan app

Loan amount

Speed without paying a fee

Fast-funding fee

Other fees

NerdWallet rating


1 to 3 days.

$0.99 to $3.99.

$9.99 or $14.99 monthly subscription fee.

Up to $100 per day, $750 per pay period.

1 to 3 days.

$1.99 to $4.99.



1 day.


$8 monthly subscription fee unless you opt out.

Up to $500.

Up to 3 days.

$3 to $25.

$1 monthly membership fee.

Up to $500.

1 to 5 days.




Approval takes up to 3 days.

Funding takes minutes.




3 business days.



NerdWallet rating




$1.60-$40 flat fee.






on Varo's website

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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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