MoneyLion

moneylion bank
moneylion card
  • Free online account
  • Early paycheck
  • Zero ATM fees at Allpoint
  • Price protection
  • Rewards on spending
  • $250 fee-free overdraft
  • $19.99 /mo Credit Builder Plus
  • $1,000 Credit Builder loan
  • ETFs investing

The digital banking arena is heating up, and MoneyLion is one of the top contenders targeting the everyday, hardworking Americans. If you’re one of them, you’ll be interested in hearing more about MoneyLion in this in-depth review. But first, here’s our short verdict:

MoneyLion has knocked it out of the park with its superb all-in-one financial service that has you spending, saving, budgeting, investing, and even building up credit. If you’re still on the fence about getting a mobile-only bank, MoneyLion might just tip you over. 

moneylion bank infographic

About MoneyLion

MoneyLion is a digital banking platform founded in 2013 that’s been offering financial subscriptions and memberships since 2018. 

MoneyLion is based in New York and offers banking, personal finance, and investment services for a monthly subscription fee, leading many to refer to it as the ‘Netflix of finance.’ 

Its founders are Diwakar Choubey (CEO), Chee Mun Foong (CTO), and Pratyush Tiwari (CIO).

As of now, MoneyLion checking accounts are insured just like any other US bank. However, investment accounts are not yet FDIC insured and come with no bank guarantee.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Easy to sign up
  • Low fees
  • No account minimums
  • Cash advances up to $250 with no interest
  • Helps your credit score
  • Cashbacks and other rewards
  • Great for beginner investors
  • Finance tracker
  • 55,000+ ATMs

Cons

  • No physical branches
  • Only small loans available

Fees

  • $1 monthly admin fee
  • Free account opening and Allpoint ATM withdrawals
  • $2.50 for out of network ATM withdrawals
  • $0.25 ACH withdrawal fee
  • $19.99 monthly Credit Builder membership fee
  • 5.99% to 29.99% APR 

We love that MoneyLion has hardly any fees. You might be thinking, how do they make money then? The answer is simple – they make money through their loan business, lead generation, and monthly subscription service. 

You start out as a free user (well, $1 is basically free), and you take out a loan or sign up for a membership. They will also recommend you other financial products from their partners and earn a commission that way. 

Where is MoneyLion available?

You must be 18 years or older and a resident of the fifty United States or the District of Columbia to be eligible for MoneyLion’s services.

How to open a MoneyLion account?

As with other apps similar to MoneyLion, the sign-up process for MoneyLion is as quick and easy as possible. All you need to sign up for is a smartphone or another device that can connect to the internet, along with a valid form of identification. 

Head over to moneylion.com or download the App Store or Google Play app, enter some personal information and an email address. MoneyLion will then have to validate your identity by asking for your SSN, date of birth, and address. 

Signing up to MoneyLion is free. However, some of their financial products have fees, and their membership program is available for a monthly subscription fee.

Mobile banking

RoarMoney mobile bank account is a comprehensive banking account that has some kick-ass benefits and very few fees. 

It lets you track your spending to keep it under control with intelligent tools that will help you monitor the whole financial picture. It gives you your paycheck up to 2 days early via InstaCash, throws money at you with cashback, and get this – refunds you when you find a lower price for eligible products within 90 days of purchase. 

If you’re worried about security when dealing with digital banks, you’ll be happy to hear that all the security features are available. Let’s mark off a few of them:

  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Contactless payments
  • Freezing your card from the app
  • Mastercard’s Zero Liability Policy

How to add funds to MoneyLion account

MoneyLion is a digital bank, which means that they have no physical branches. 

The easiest way to add funds to your MoneyLion account is to set up a direct deposit. You can link your MoneyLion account to another bank account to make quick transfers. 

If you still want to make a cash deposit, 100,000 retail locations offer the Reload@theRegister service. Stores like Walmart, 7-Eleven, or Dollar General. 

Currently, you may also use the Ingo Money app to add checks into your account right from your phone.

MoneyLion Personal Banking App 

The MoneyLion app is a significant part of the financial service they offer. The app works great for this purpose. Visually, the app looks clean and sleek, making each feature easy to access and understand. 

Despite having a website, the MoneyLion app offers lots of extra features that aren’t available on the web browser version, so customers will benefit more by downloading the app. The app’s homepage provides personalized tips and alerts designed to help customers better manage their finances. 

MoneyLion uses data from any linked bank accounts, credit cards, mortgages, and more to make this information as accurate as possible. The MoneyLion app also has a handy feature that alerts users when paying more for their bills than other similar users, encouraging you to find the best deals. 

The app also sends notifications to alert users to upcoming loan payments, helping customers stay on track.

MoneyLion card

When you open the RoarMoney account, you instantly get the virtual debit card. It works like an actual, physical debit card that you can use online or in-store if you connect it to your phone’s digital wallet. 

Your physical debit Mastercard is free and should arrive in 7-10 business days. Before you start using it, you’ll need to activate it by calling the MoneyLion automated activation line (801) 736-2454. At this point, you’ll have to set a 4-digit PIN as well.

MoneyLion savings

MoneyLion does not offer a specified savings account; however, it does provide a MoneyLion investment account and automated features designed to help customers save. 

Firstly, the MoneyLion app encourages users to budget their spending and helps them stick to it with notifications and alerts. Next, it enables users to set up an automated monthly deposit into their MoneyLion investment account, allowing them to make savings before spending it. 

The service offered by MoneyLion prioritizes turning customer financial goals into a reality, helping them save while also not charging bank fees.

MoneyLion loans and Credit Builder

MoneyLion offers a Personal Loan through their Credit Builder Plus Membership Program, with a minimum loan amount of $500 and a maximum of $1,000. 

The APR for a Credit Builder Plus loan varies from 5.99% to 29.99%. When you apply for Credit Builder Plus, you will be able to review your loan amount and rate before deciding whether to accept the loan offer.

The minimum credit score applicable for a personal loan is 640, making this a valuable option for borrowers who currently have a lower credit score.

Credit Builder

What is a credit score, and why should you build it up? The credit score is a way that lenders, banks, and credit card companies, among others, assess the risk of lending you money. It’s a quantifiable measurement of how likely it is that you will be able to pay off your debts and return them their money. 

Because the credit score affects so many aspects of your life (think housing, loans, insurance…), it is crucial to have a good credit score.

MoneyLion is offering a Credit Builder Program that lets you rebuild or establish credit while you save. The Credit Builder Plus membership costs $19.99/month. 

You can apply for it if you’re a US citizen or a permanent resident over 18 years of age and have an SSN and a bank account, debit card, or a prepaid card. 

When you apply, MoneyLion will do a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. You also don’t need good credit to use and can even apply if you don’t have any credit history at all.

Credit-building membership includes:

  • Credit builder loan up to $1,000
  • Credit monitor
  • Progress monitor
  • Cash advances up to $300
  • Admin fee waiver if you open an investment acc
  • Cashback 

How the Credit Builder Program works?

The way that it works is that you apply for a loan of up to $1,000 and set up automatic loan repayments that are easy and manageable, so you’re able to pay it off over 12 months. 

MoneyLion will report your on-time payments to all three credit bureaus each month to help you boost your credit score.

Investing

Why not put your hard-earned money to work? MoneyLion offers you a low-bar, easy-to-understand investment account with zero management fees and no minimums. You don’t even have to have their RoarMoney account, although they do recommend it. 

What are the benefits of investing with MoneyLion? Well, not everyone is an expert in the stock market, and MoneyLion is aware of that. That’s why they have a fully managed and diversified core portfolio in a single investment account, with no management or trading fees.

When you open your investment account, you’ll be asked questions about your investment objectives and expectations, as well as your risk inclinations. 

In association with Wilshire Associates, MoneyLion has developed five ETF-based (Exchange-Traded Funds) asset allocation portfolios. An ETF holds assets such as stock, commodities, or bonds.

You can adjust your asset allocation and risk-based portfolio to be more conservative or more aggressive than recommended after your account has been invested. Just use the Risk Slider in the MoneyLion app.

What is Auto Invest, and how to set it up?

It’s actually easy to save for the future on autopilot with Auto Invest. Set it and forget it, or adjust it and even turn it off entirely if you’re in a tight squeeze with money at some point. 

Simply pick an amount and frequency of the deposit, and MoneyLion will invest it for you regularly. 

You can easily set it up from the MoneyLion app. Here are the steps:

  1. Tap on the Finances tab
  2. Open your Investment account
  3. Scroll down to find the Auto-Invest feature
  4. Choose an amount you’d like to auto-invest
  5. Choose how often you’d like to invest
  6. Hit save, and now you’re all set

Crypto investing

Better late than never – MoneyLion is jumping on the speeding cryptowagon.

Although crypto-investing still wasn’t available when writing this review, here’s the info I could gather. 

You’ll definitely need a RoarMoney account to buy, sell, or earn cryptos through the MoneyLion app. They’ll most likely be offering Bitcoin and Ethereum, with more cryptocurrencies coming in the future. 

There’s an option to earn cryptos through a rewards program or automatically redirect your round-up change to crypto. 

You can join the waitlist to reserve your spot and find out as soon as it launches.

MoneyLion Cashback Rewards

All MoneyLion users are welcome to take advantage of their Cashback Rewards Program. The app has a ‘Rewards’ tab that allows you to link your MoneyLion debit and credit cards. 

They offer an exact list of eligible merchants, including a wide array of popular shops, cafes, and restaurants, and continually update this list with exciting new deals. Each cashback percentage depends on the merchant, but you’ll automatically receive your cashback reward once you spend with an eligible merchant.

All the cashback that you earn will go into the investment account. You can then decide to withdraw it or let it grow. They also have a promotional Cashback of the Month feature that allows you to earn extra cashback at a specified merchant or in a specific category like gas or retail. 

Shake ‘N’ Bank

Shake ‘N’ Bank is a rewarding opportunity that nets you cashback after every purchase of $10 or more. When you use your real or your virtual debit card, you’ll get a prompt saying, “You just earned cashback! Start shakin’”.

Shake your phone and get the cashback that will get deposited into your Investment account. 

Lion’s Share Loyalty Program

Besides cash backs, there’s another rewards program – the Lion’s Share Loyalty Program. To be a part of the program, you need to have a RoarMoney and Investment account and be a Credit Builder Plus member. 

The Lion’s Share Loyalty Program has five levels or tiers: Mint, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. 

lion's share

MoneyLion for travel

MoneyLion aims to be transparent when it comes to fees. This is no different when it comes to using your MoneyLion debit or credit card overseas. However, MoneyLion still charges international payments and withdrawal fees, which may not be ideal for frequent travelers. 

Although MoneyLion currently charges a $2.50 fee for using an out-of-network ATM, there is no fee to use the card anywhere where Mastercard is accepted. 

There are two points to remember, though:

  • You have to contact MoneyLion before traveling abroad to retain the full functionality of the card, and
  • If you lose the card, the replacement card can only be shipped to an address inside the US and not internationally. 

Mastercard Price Protection

Price protection is a feature that will help you get reimbursed if you find a product you bought at a lower price. You have 90 days to file a claim and 180 days to submit the supporting documentation like receipts and adverts. 

How is MoneyLion regulated?

MoneyLion is not a bank but a fintech company, or a so-called neobank, or even a challenger bank. That doesn’t mean that it’s not regulated; in fact, according to the SEC, MoneyLion “is regulated by the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission and incorporated in the state of Delaware.”

ML Wealth LLC, a subsidiary of MoneyLion, which handles your investments, is an SEC-Registered Investment Advisor regulated by FINRA and the SEC. 

And MetaBank, MoneyLion’s partner bank that issues your MoneyLion Debit Mastercard and holds the funds in your RoarMoneySM account, is Member FDIC. 

Is my money safe with MoneyLion?

The money in your checking account is covered by FDIC insurance, up to $250,000 as part of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). 

On the other hand, brokerage service is provided by Drive Wealth LLC, a member of FINRA/SIPC. All cash and securities held in DriveWealth LLC client accounts are protected by SIPC up to $500,000 with a limit of $250,000 for money.

Unlike FDIC insurance, SIPC does not protect against loss of principal due to movements in the market value of your securities.

Moreover, MoneyLion uses TLS technology to encrypt your username and password as well as other personal information. Some other security features include virtual debit cards for maximum security while shopping online, the ability to freeze or unfreeze your debit and virtual cards, and others. 

MoneyLion debit cards also have a Zero Liability policy for purchases you didn’t make and price protection. If you find a lower price for a product within 90 days of purchase, you can submit a claim to Mastercard to get a refund for the difference, up to $250 per claim and up to four times a year.

Who owns MoneyLion?

MoneyLion was founded in 2013 by former Wall Street banker and CEO Diwakar Choubey, CTO Chee Mun Foong, and CIO Pratyush Tiwari. It’s headquartered in New York with offices in San Francisco, Salt Lake City, and Kuala Lumpur.

The company raised more than $200 million from five rounds of funding, with the last Series C round bringing in $100 million in July 2019.

Its investors include Edison Partners and Greenspring Associates as lead investors, but also Fintech Collective, Grupo Sura, and Sanhua Capital.

Customer reviews

MoneyLion has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 from almost 14,000 reviews on Trustpilot. 82% of reviewers rate the service as excellent and only 6% as bad. That is actually an excellent rating for a digital bank. 

People rave about the Credit Builder and InstaCash that apparently helped many people out in an emergency. 

As with any digital or non-digital bank, some customers have issues with their accounts getting blocked and their money stuck in limbo. Still, it’s not as bad as some other banks from my experience.

MoneyLion Competitors

Chime

chime bank

With more than 12 million users and $14 billion raised from investors, Chime is the most popular challenger bank in America. Other than meeting the age requirement, anyone can apply and get approved. You don’t have to have an excellent financial record or a credit score above a certain amount to get started banking with Chime. 

Sofi

sofi

Sofi is a jack of all trades; a cash management account that earns interest. It also does stock, ETF, and crypto investing and offers all kinds of insurances and loans, including mortgages. You name it, Sofi has got it. 

Current

current bank

Current is a mobile-only bank account, offering a checking account service designed to add speed and ease to the banking experience. It also allows customers to manage their money more closely. You can deposit checks, track your spending, manage your budget, plan expenses, and transfer money from their app.

Varo

varomoney

Varo offers its customers a no monthly fee bank account, placing every customer on an even playing field with access to all of their services and features. Their checking account has no minimum balance, offers no fees on overdrafts, no fees on transfers, and no fees at Allpoint ATMs. There are also no fees to replace your debit card.

The bottom line

Overall, this review shows that MoneyLion will appeal to a range of potential customers, especially those familiar with the neo banking scene, keen to try a new service that offers saving, borrowing, and investing in one place. 

MoneyLion will also appeal to people looking for a quick loan turnaround. Their convenient service also helps customers pay their loans back on time. MoneyLion is continuing to improve its service and offer new features rapidly, allowing new customers to benefit from the latest innovations in fintech.