Where is the Dave App Getting all that Cash to Lend?

Who is financing the cartoon bear?

Andy Spears
3 min readDec 30, 2022

I’ve written before about the triple-digit interest rates charged by fintech short-term lender Dave.

Dave’s mascot is a friendly-looking cartoon bear and the app provides small dollar, short-term loans that they claim are cheaper than payday loans. Need $100 fast? Dave will transfer the money in an app on your phone and you can pay it back in a few weeks, plus a “tip.”

Here’s more on the tip-based lending model used by apps like Dave:

A story from the L.A. Times digs deeper, explaining just how bad the fees associated with friendly, cartoon bear apps can be.

Here’s how the Times broke down the fees associated with a loan from Dave:

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 compare the relative cost of loans. If he tipped $6.93, the company’s average in the first quarter, it would

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Andy Spears

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