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Empower Review: Automatic Savings, Cash Back, and Free Cash Advances When You Need Them

Review Updated Feb. 22, 2023
Lyle Daly
By: Lyle Daly

Our Personal Finance Expert

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.

Bottom line: Empower has a wide range of features that can help you better manage and save money, including automatic savings, a debit card, and even no-fee cash advances. The monthly fee is reasonable for those who take advantage of all this app's benefits.

Best for: Savings and cash advancesEmpower

Full Empower review


  • Monitors spending
  • Offers debit card
  • Automatic savings
  • Up to 10% cash back
  • Up to $250 cash advance


  • Monthly fee
  • Low APY
  • Foreign transaction fee

At a glance

Rewards Up to 10% cash back
iOS app rating 4.8/5 stars
Android app rating 4.7/5 stars
Cost $8 per month

What is Empower and how does it work?

Empower is a personal finance app designed to help users save more and spend less. When you sign up, you link one or more bank accounts so Empower can track your spending. You can then create a budget and set a weekly savings goal. As Empower learns your spending habits, its AutoSave feature will save money for you.

If you need a quick loan, you can get a cash advance of up to $250 through Empower. There's no interest, no late fees, and no credit check required. When you request an Empower Advance, Empower will review your primary checking account to see if you meet the minimum qualifications.

The Empower app also offers a Visa debit card. There are extra benefits for Empower cardholders:

  • Earn up to 10% cash back through special deals.
  • Get paid up to two days faster than most banks if you set up your direct deposit to Empower.
  • Receive cash advances from Empower up to two days earlier than most banks.
  • Get free ATM withdrawals at over 37,000 locations across the United States.

Top perks

Monitors spending

Empower makes it easy to monitor all your spending in one place. You can connect all your bank accounts and credit cards to the app. Once you've linked an account, you can use Empower to view the balance and recent transactions.

The app also lets you customize your budget, including setting limits on different spending categories. It will then alert you if you get close to a spending limit.

Let's say you're aiming to spend no more than $50 per week on dining. Empower will track your dining purchases, and if you get close to $50, it will let you know. You can do this with any spending category you want Empower to keep an eye on for you.

Offers debit card

The Empower Card is a convenient payment option that works with this app. It's a debit card you can use with your Empower account. There's no minimum balance required to get the card. There also aren't any overdraft fees, as transactions that exceed your balance are automatically declined.

If you're going to use the Empower app, it makes sense to get the Empower Card, because it includes additional benefits. You'll be able to earn cash back through special offers and get paid up to two days early.

LEARN MORE: What Is a Debit Card?

There are a few transaction limits for the Empower Card:

  • Daily ATM withdrawal limit: $500
  • Daily purchase limit: $2,000
  • Daily transfer limit: $2,500 to start, increases to $5,000 31 days after your first transaction

Automatic savings

Saving money can be difficult, especially on a tight budget. Empower can be a huge help here with its AutoSave feature.

All you need to do is set a weekly savings target. Empower will study your income and expenses to see how much you can afford to save. Once it has figured that out, it will transfer money from your spending account to your Empower AutoSave Account.

Up to 10% cash back

If you have an Empower Card, you can earn high cash back rates through special deals. For example, there can be offers for 5% cash back on groceries or 8% back on gas. Empower aims for deals that are easy to use, so you won't be stuck with random offers at merchants you never visit.

It's worth noting that if cash back is your main focus, a cash back credit card would be a better choice. Most of these cards earn cash back on all your purchases, not just purchases in specific categories. That allows you to earn much more cash back than you would with Empower.

COMPARE TOP PICKS: Best Cash Back Credit Cards

Up to $250 cash advance

For quick cash, Empower offers cash advances of up to $250, with same-day delivery if you have an Empower checking account. There are no fees, no interest, and no credit check, but you do need to meet certain requirements to qualify for a cash advance.

SEE MORE OPTIONS: How to Get a Free Cash Advance With No Credit Check

Empower withdraws the payment for the advance from your primary checking account on the date it forecasts that you'll receive your next paycheck. If that date is incorrect or you want to change it, contact Empower to request a new payment date.

Free ATM withdrawals

The Empower Card offers free ATM withdrawals with over 37,000 ATMs in the United States. You can find fee-free ATM locations in the app, so you shouldn't have any trouble withdrawing money free of charge.

What could be improved

$8 monthly fee

After a 14-day free trial, Empower charges an $8 monthly subscription fee. That may not seem like much per month, but it still adds up to $96 per year.

Empower offers useful features, including budgeting tools, banking services, and cash back for that $8 per month. However, it's also possible to get most of those services for free. Here are a few examples:

Empower is a convenient option, because it provides a lot of services in one affordable package. But if you don't need everything in one app, there are other options out there.


If you have an Empower Card or an AutoSave DDA account, you earn a 0.01% APY on your Empower account balance. Several savings accounts offer much higher interest rates than that, including accounts that don't charge any monthly fees or have a minimum balance requirement. You're better off keeping your money with one of those accounts instead of Empower.

CHECK OUT TOP PICKS: Best Online and High-Yield Savings Accounts

Foreign transaction fee

The Empower Card charges a 1% foreign transaction fee. This type of fee applies to transactions that go through a foreign bank or that are in a currency other than U.S. dollars. That means it will apply for purchases you make while traveling abroad. It can also apply to online purchases made with international merchants.

LEARN MORE: What Are Foreign Transaction Fees?

A 1% fee isn't a huge amount, especially since some cards charge 3%. But there are also cards with no foreign transaction fee, and it's worth getting one for trips outside the United States.

COMPARE OPTIONS: Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards

No cash or check deposits

Empower accounts currently don't accept cash or check deposits. While not being able to deposit cash is understandable, mobile check deposits are a common feature in banking apps.

Here are the ways to fund an Empower account:

  • Direct deposit
  • Bank transfer
  • Mobile payment apps, such as PayPal, Venmo, and Cash App


Alternatives to consider

If you want a free app to budget and track spending: Mint is one of the most highly rated budgeting apps, and it's completely free of charge. It connects with all types of financial accounts, including bank accounts, credit cards, mortgages, and loans. This app also includes spending alerts and a net worth tracker. One thing it doesn't offer is automatic savings, so Empower is better for that.

If you want to focus on saving money: Digit lets you set up savings goals with customizable controls, including a daily saving limit. Like Empower, it automatically saves for you, and it costs less at $5 per month. It's more limited than Empower outside of saving, as it doesn't include a debit card or cash back offers.

What are the costs?

Empower has an $8 monthly subscription fee that begins after a 14-day free trial. If you get an Empower Card, it charges a 1% foreign transaction fee.

This app is right for:

Consumers looking for an all-purpose app with automatic savings tools, banking services, and big cash back offers.

Empower can help just about anyone improve their financial situation. It's particularly valuable if you've found it challenging to save money or stay on top of your spending. Since it has an $8 monthly fee, this app is best for those who like all its features and plan to make the most of them.

Our Personal Finance Expert