For a fee, a pay advance service lets you borrow money before your next pay. Like getting an advance on your wages that you pay back next payday.
They are also known as pay-on-demand or wage advance services.
How pay advance works
When you use a pay advance service, you can borrow money before your next payday. You use the service through an app or online portal.
You get a limit on how much money you can access each pay cycle. This can vary from a limit on the amount, for example $50 per pay cycle, to as much as a quarter of your pay.
Typically, you get the money in your account straight away. Your repayment is automatically deducted from your next pay. Or you may have the option to spread your repayments across several paydays.
You generally don't pay interest on the money you borrow. Usually, you pay a fee of up to 5% each time you use the service. This means you pay $5 for every $100 advance on your wages.
Pay advance providers include:
- CommBank AdvancePay
Some employers also offer pay advance arrangements as a benefit to employees. This is through providers such as Earnd, Employment Hero (InstaPay) and Paytime. Ask your employer or provider what it costs to use the service.
Before you sign up to pay advance
Pay advance services can be convenient when you need money in a hurry.
But the money you take today means you'll have less money next pay. If you over-use it, it can be hard to manage repayments with other financial commitments.
Before you sign up, keep in mind:
- It’s easier to over spend – you can over-commit to spending today what you can’t afford to repay next payday
- Small amounts can add up – you pay a fee every time you use the service
- It might be hard to manage – if you sign up for several pay advance services or loans at the same time, it can be hard to keep track of payments
- Late or missed repayments could cost you – pay advance providers have limits on what they can charge you. But your bank might charge a fee if you don’t have enough money in your account to cover your repayment. It could also affect your ability to borrow money in the future
Tips for managing pay advance
To use a pay advance service:
- Stick to one pay advance service at a time, and limit how much and how often you borrow from them.
- Make sure you’ll have enough money left to live on next payday.
- Stay in control by budgeting for bills, loan payments and pay advance repayments.
Avoid borrowing to pay off another loan, buy now pay later or credit card. There is help available if you’re having trouble with money.
What to do if you get into trouble
Contact your provider if you have a complaint or are having trouble making your repayments.
If you need help to get your finances back on track, talk to a financial counsellor. They offer a free and confidential service to help you sort out money issues.
National Debt Helpline – 1800 007 007
The free National Debt Helpline is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.
When you call, you'll be transferred to a financial counselling service in your state.
Mob Strong Debt Helpline – 1800 808 488
Mob Strong Debt Helpline is a free legal advice service about money matters for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from anywhere in Australia.
The helpline is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.