There’s a Pot of Debt at the End of This Rainbow

If you’re really lucky today, Dave won’t trap you in a cycle of debt

Andy Spears
2 min readMar 17, 2024
Promotional email from the Dave App

The email marketing team at the Dave App is at it again.

This time, they’ve turned the “luck of the Irish” into a reason to go into debt.

Dave is an app-based, fintech lender that offers short-term, low-dollar loans.

The company’s mascot is a friendly-looking cartoon bear.

Dave’s business model is simple. Offer short-term loans at high interest rates and make big money.

Dave started offer by “spotting” people $50 until payday offering “no interest” loans but asking for “tips” for the favor.

Dave pitched the product as cheaper than a checking account overdraft.

Simple concept, nice to know someone is there to spot you in a tough situation that $50 could solve.

Now, though, Dave offers a subscription service and access to higher loan amounts (up to $500).

The L.A. Times broke down Dave’s evolution into payday lender territory:

Given that the money had to be repaid in 12 days, the $5.99 fee and $2 tip, if considered as interest, cost Goad 122% on an annual percentage rate basis — a metric that helps



Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .