Dave App Review: Is it Worth $1 a Month?

By Dustyn Ferguson •  Updated: 12/04/18 •  7 min read
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The biggest contradiction in banking: you have no money, go into the negative, and get charged a hefty overdraft fee for it.

Overdraft fees kick you down when you are already down, and the Dave app is fighting back against the banks and their overdraft fees.

In this review, we cover how Dave works, what it costs, and basically everything you’d want to find in a review of the Dave overdraft app.

What is the Dave App

The Dave overdraft protection app is all about avoiding overdraft fees.

They use AI to analyze overtime what your spending habits are, when you are paid, recurring charges (e.g Netflix), and various other factors to then determine when you might be prone to incurring an overdraft fee.

If you are approaching a potential overdraft, they allow you the option to apply for a cash advance of up to $75 to avoid the fee. You’ll then have to repay that back on (or before) a predetermined date to apply for another cash advance. However, if you don’t have the money in your account, Dave is smart enough not to withdrawal any money – however, it is on you to repay and stay true to a big thing they rely on: the honor system.

Overall, the app is quite clever, and is truly helping people avoid overdraft fees and save money. They’ll even text you an alert if you hit what they call a “7-day low”, which is useful information to know where your finances stand.

According to Dave, over 25% of Americans have overdrafted at least once in the last month. And 10% have at least 8 times. This app can help all of those people, which is a ton of people, steer clear of hefty overdraft fees.

Fun fact: Banks in the US made $33B in overdraft fees in 2016 alone. This is projected to grow to $40 billion by 2020. Staggering!


How Does Dave Work

Dave App Get Started Screen

Getting started with Dave is easy, here are the steps to get started:

  1. Sign up for Dave. Currently only available in the US on Apple (here) and Android (here) devices.
  2. Enter and verify your phone number (no email required!)
  3. Enter personal information (SSN, name, etc), along with your bank information, debit card, and drivers license.
  4. You’ll be required to provide proof of income. This can be done by uploading a pay stub.
  5. Wait approximately 2 days to be approved.
  6. Once approved, Dave will get to work monitoring your spending and alert you when needed.
  7. Enjoy the app month to month, monitoring your finances and giving you cash advances when you need them most.

Signing up is super simple, and the app looks great. They really made the signup process easy and intuitive to do.

Sadly, if you need money now and aren’t yet signed up – you won’t be able to do that. It takes time for Dave to approve your account, which takes a couple days.

If you are already signed up and need money today, you’ll need to pay $4.99 to use their express delivery service. Basically, the express delivery feature funds you a cash advance through your debit card instead of your bank account, which takes up to 3 business days. However, going through your bank is entirely free if you can wait those 3 days.

Other than that, the app is easy to use and understand (and will save you a ton of money)!


Dave App Fees

Dave App Fees
That’s great and all Dave, you can save me from getting charged overdraft fees. But what do you cost?

Surprisingly, it’s extremely cheap.

It’ll cost you just $1 / month to have Dave monitor your finances, alert you if you are nearing an overdraft, and lend you money if you need it.

If you do get a cash advance, it costs you nothing extra (you heard me right, nothing extra). In fact, it’s interest free! And, there is no credit check. It’s basically like a good friend that loans you money, which is exactly what they are going for.

They do, however, ask for tips when you get a cash advance. For example, you could tip 5% of a $75 cash advance, which would come out to $3.75. But keep in mind, this is entirely voluntary and not required. I don’t think Dave will have hard feeling if you don’t decide to tip.

It gets better: if you do decide to tip, each percent you tip will result in Dave planting one tree through an organization called Trees for the Future. For example, a 5% tip would result in 5 trees being planted! It’s a clever way for sure to incentive Dave’s users to tip, but again it’s entirely up to you.

Is it Worth the Cost?

Consider the costs of a typical overdraft fee – approximately $35, give or take.

An entire year of Dave, assuming you tip nothing and don’t use their express delivery function (which costs $4.99 and gets you money within 8 hours), will set you back $12.

Even if you overdraft just once a year, this app would save you money.

And if you’re a chronic overdrafter?

You’ll end up savings hundreds from their alerts and cash advances.

Heck, you might save so much you’ll feel guilty NOT tipping!

So yes, if you overdraft often, it’s most certainly worth it.


Is Dave Safe?

Dave wants access to your SSN, bank info, drivers license, debit card, pay stubs, and other personal info; what are they doing to secure it?

According to their website, they use 2048-bit encryption to protect the transmission of your data. As for data that they store (like your password, SSN, other sensitive data), it’s encrypted to prevent any prying eyes from reading your data. And apparently they don’t store bank login information, it’s only required to connect your account and verify you are the owner of it. They also hire external security teams to run assessments and discover and fix flaws that could lead to your data being stolen. Lastly, they have traditional security on the grounds of their data centers 24/7 to prevent physical attacks.

Oh, and they have investors like Mark Cuban backing them (and on their board). If that counts for anything.

Sounds like the people at Dave are keeping up with industry standards and keeping your data safe.


Apps Like Dave Saves

Dave is awesome, their mission is great and they really seem to “get” the people who need their app the most.

While it seems like Dave is the leader in cash advance and overdraft apps, the main alternative to Dave is Earnin.

Earnin’s focus is more on getting you paid today, rather than the focus on avoiding overdraft fees (like Dave is). However, it’s still another great service that is worth considering to get a cash advance on your paycheck without incurring hefty fees that traditional payday loan companies might charge.


Dave Overdraft App Review Summary

By this point in the review of Dave, you’re probably sold on the idea of Dave, especially if you chronically find yourself getting charged overdraft fees. It’s certainly a great app if that is you. To wrap it up, here are some of the pros and cons of Dave:

Dave App Pros

  • Prevents hefty overdraft fees
  • Offers cash advances up to $75
  • No interest on your cash advances
  • Just $1 a month
  • They donate to a good cause (if you tip!)

Dave App Cons

  • It can take a couple days to get approved for an account, which won’t be useful if you need an advance today
  • Getting a cash advance can take up to 3 days to get and costs $4.99 if you want it the same day
  • Support is via email only, no phone support as of now
  • Cash advances technically put you debt, and although Dave probably won’t sue for $75, be careful and have a plan to repay it if you want to continue using their service

If you find yourself encountering overdraft fees regularly, the Dave app is a good solution. Even if you never utilize their cash advances, their insight on your budget and 7-day-low alerts is powerful in itself to help you avoid overdraft fees.

Fight back against those hefty overdraft fees by getting Dave (currently available on Apple and Android)!

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Dustyn Ferguson

Dustyn is a personal finance aficionado and the founder of Dime Will Tell where he writes about the experiences he's had with saving money, being debt-free, and building side hustles. He's been featured as an expert resource in publications like Huffington Post, Go Banking Rates, & Reader's Digest.