Written by René Bennett – Edited by Brian Beers – 6 minute read
Gig workers — those who provide services for on-demand and temporary jobs to generate their primary income — have unique financial needs that differ from traditional, long-term employees.
In recent years, gig work has become increasingly popular. According to a 2023 survey by workforce payments platform Branch and Marqeta, 61 percent of gig workers and independent contractors said their primary source of income is gig work, compared to 21 percent who said the same in 2021.
Bankrate also found that many workers with full-time jobs are taking on side gigs to pay for everyday living expenses. In 2022, 41 percent of those with a side hustle said they needed the extra cash flow for everyday living expenses, while only 31 percent said the same in 2019.
Because their work may be less consistent, gig workers have less predictable income and a wider source of cash streams to track. They may also lack some of the benefits that come with working for a traditional employer, like health insurance, a 401(k) plan and certain bargaining powers.
To address the financial needs of gig workers, personal finance apps are stepping up to provide solutions. These apps offer features that cater to gig workers, such as budgeting tools, benefits resources and cash advances for gaps between work. They sometimes even provide advice to help gig workers better manage their finances and save for emergencies.
Here are eight of the top finance apps that address different gig workers’ needs.
Moves: Best all-in-one account
Moves come with a spending account that has no minimum balance or fees, making it easy for gig workers to manage their finances. One of the key features of Moves is that it allows gig workers to track their earnings and expenses from over 20 supported gig platforms, such as Uber, DoorDash and Rover, in one place. All the earnings are stored and tracked in a single account that comes with a debit card.
Workers get immediate access to their weekly gig payouts up to two days early, which can be particularly helpful when there’s a larger gap between gig paychecks. In addition to early access to earnings, Moves also offers interest-free cash advances of up to $1,500 for gig workers to help cover business expenses, with no credit check required. This feature can be useful for gig workers who need to purchase equipment or cover other costs associated with their work.
Gig workers who have a Moves account can also earn a percentage of their purchase back in the form of stock.
Finally, Moves has no monthly maintenance fees or overdraft fees, making it an affordable option for gig workers who are looking for a simple and straightforward banking solution.
Instawork: Best for getting local gigs
Instawork makes it easy to find gigs by connecting workers and businesses across a variety of different industries. Instead of having to pore through job postings, with little choice for scheduling, gig workers who want a steady stream of work opportunities can take on shifts according to their availability through the Instawork app.
Shifts and hours aren’t the only element of work that Instawork makes flexible — workers can also choose to get paid instantly after each shift worked (“InstaPay”) or weekly. InstaPay is only available for certain shifts and for workers who meet certain eligibility requirements, however.
The app is available in over 30 cities in the U.S. and two cities in Canada. Jobs that it can connect you with range from hospitality positions to warehouse work to special events.
Fiverr: Best for getting freelance work
Fiverr is a popular online platform that connects businesses and individuals with freelance professionals who offer a variety of services, ranging from graphic design to copywriting, programming and more.
Freelancers can create a Fiverr profile that showcases their skills and experience, set their own rates and promote their services to potential clients. Fiverr also provides freelancers with access to a large pool of clients from around the world, which can be helpful for those who are just starting out and don’t yet have a large network.
One of the most appealing aspects of Fiverr for gig workers is the platform’s payment system. Fiverr manages the payment process, which ensures that freelancers are paid for their work promptly and securely. This can be a major advantage for those who may struggle to get paid on time or who are concerned about fraud or other risks associated with working independently.
Cost: Free to use, but Fiverr takes 20 percent of each transaction
Earnin: Best for cash advances
Earnin is a financial services app that helps gig workers and other hourly wage earners get paid in advance for the work they have already completed. With this app, workers can get access to up to $100 per day of their earned wages, rather than waiting for their next paycheck, which can be helpful in managing expenses during long gaps between gig paychecks.
The app operates on a pay-as-you-go system, where users can access their earned wages in advance and then repay the app when they receive their actual paycheck. Earnin does not charge interest or fees, but instead, users have the option to tip the app if they find it useful. There is, however, a fee for immediate transfers of cash advances into your checking account. This can make it an affordable option for gig workers who may not have access to traditional loans or lines of credit.
One of the key benefits of Earnin is that it offers a flexible solution for gig workers who may experience fluctuations in their income. For example, if a worker has a slow period with less work and income, they can use Earnin to cover their expenses during that time, and then repay the app when they have more work and income.
Cost: Free, with optional tips
Para: Best for transparent driving gigs
The Para app is designed to give gig workers more autonomy and visibility across their gigs. It brings together information from a variety of different types of driving gigs, including ride shares and delivery services, whether those be individual gigs, time-sensitive jobs or shifts with set hours. Drivers using the app can then accept or decline all the gig offerings in one place, with the ability to compare pay, mileage and more — that way, drivers can make more informed decisions about what gigs to accept.
Some of the unique features of Para that benefit drivers include the ability to flag certain individuals or buildings you don’t want to service, auto-accept or auto-decline based on your preferences and getting to see dollars earned per mile.
Flush: Best for finding public restrooms on the go
For gig workers who are on the go and may not have access to a restroom while working, the Flush app can be a lifesaver.
It contains a database of over 200,000 public restrooms and shows users where the closest restrooms are in their area on a map. Users can search for restrooms based on their current location or a specific address. They’ll also see whether the bathroom requires a key or a fee and whether it’s accessible to those who are handicapped.
Catch: Best for getting benefits coverage
Catch is a mobile app that provides gig workers with access to a range of benefits and insurance coverage. One of the biggest challenges for gig workers is that they often don’t have access to the same benefits and protections that traditional employees do, such as health insurance, retirement savings plans and paid time off. Catch aims to address this gap by offering a flexible solution that gig workers can use to get the coverage they need.
Through the app, users can access a variety of benefits options, including health insurance, dental and vision coverage, as well as retirement savings plans. Users can also customize their coverage based on their specific needs and preferences and can make changes to their coverage at any time.
Another feature of Catch is that it allows users to automatically portion a part of their paycheck into savings to cover sick days, vacations or gaps in work, functioning somewhat like paid time off. Catch can also estimate and withhold a part of workers’ paychecks for taxes.
Expensify: Best for record-keeping
For gig workers who often need to keep track of a variety of expenses related to their work, the Expensify app can be a valuable tool for organizing and simplifying the process.
The app allows users to upload pictures of receipts and keep a record of their expenses. Users can categorize expenses based on their type and purpose, making it easier to keep track of different types of expenses, such as gas, equipment or meals. The app can also integrate with a user’s bank account or credit card, allowing for automatic expense tracking.
One of the key benefits of Expensify for gig workers is that it can help them prepare for tax season. The app can generate reports that show a user’s total expenses over a given period, which can be useful for calculating deductions and other tax-related information. This can save gig workers time and money by making the tax filing process more streamlined and efficient.
Cost: Free for up to 25 receipt scans, then $4.99 per month
Using an app is a great way to simplify finances for gig work — especially given that a lot of gig work is already app-based. These apps can help with everything from finding gigs to getting health coverage to keeping track of expenses. Just make sure to check the pricing of each service and evaluate whether any costs are worth it for the benefits provided.
This article originally appeared here and was republished with permission.