Pay Check Advances Asks For “Tips” Not Interest/Fees

Jonathan Raines needed money. An app promised to help. He searched online for an alternative to traditional payday lenders and came across Earnin, which offered him $100 on the spot, to be deducted from his bank account on payday.“There are no installments and no really high interest,” he told me, comparing the app favorably to a payday lender. “It’s better, in that sense.” Earnin didn’t charge Raines a fee, but asked that he “tip” a few dollars on each loan, with no penalty if he chose not to. It seemed simple. But nine months later, what was originally a stopgap measure has become a crutch.

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