Lili Banking App For Freelancers: $100 Referral Bonus

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Update December 2021: Follow-up that I eventually did receive my 90,000 Drop points (see screenshot) but I did have to contact Drop support and send them a screenshot of my account opening e-mail for proof as it didn’t track on its own. Sometime in November 2021, Drop added the restriction “No stacked deals available. Promotion codes found outside of Drop are not eligible for points.” Therefore, stacking is no longer available today, but if you applied through Drop back in September/October 2021 when there was no such restriction, I would encourage you to do the same.

The Drop app itself has also been earning an easy trickle of points via Target and Amazon purchases that I would have made anyway by linking a payment card (plus linking a card gets you 1,000 points a month free), and plan on cashing out again at 100,000 points for $100 in Amazon gift cards.

The Lili referral bonus is still up to $100 and is a more reliable bonus that pays out quickly, with no submission of business docs required. The terms have changed slightly, now requiring a $250 direct deposit instead of a $250 debit card spend. Details below.

Original full review:

Lili is a new banking app that has the core features of popular consumer fintech apps like Chime, but adds features focused on freelancers and independent contractors (sell on Etsy, find projects on Upwork, etc). Highlights:

  • Banking. No minimum balance and no monthly fees. Access your direct deposit up to 2 days early. No ATM fees within the 38,000+ ATM MoneyPass network. Free debit card.
  • Free freelancer features. App helps you easily mark business expenses, find tax deductions, set aside tax withholding. Deposit cash at 90,000 retail locations including Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, and 7-11.
  • Paid freelancer features with Lily Pro at $5/month. This premium paid tier includes $200 in fee-free overdrafts, 1% APY interest on savings, cashback rewards on the debit card, and the ability to create and send unlimited invoices.
  • $100 referral bonus for new users. Details below.

My experience. Thankfully, this account doesn’t hassle you for a bunch of uploaded business verification documents, as it is focused on freelancers. After opening an account, my tip is to double-check your SSN on the application before submitting. If you mistype it, they won’t give you a chance to try again and you’ll have to reach them by phone to correct the situation, which wastes a lot of time. Otherwise, it would have been quite fast. This app does offer special appeal to solo-entrepreneurs (I prefer that term to “side-hustlers”) looking for some help marking business expenses and tracking them to minimize taxes.

After you make a purchase on the debit card, the app will almost instantly ask you if it is a work or “life” expense. You can easily attach a photo receipt if it is a work expense for your records. Incoming deposits can be marked so that you put aside some money for taxes.

I was also interested in the 1% APY savings account, but it requires the Lily Pro subscription at $5 a month. If you maintain high cash balances, this still might be a good trade-off since most other online banks are only at 0.50% APY or so currently. In addition, invoice software can cost $5 a month on its own, so if you can use both features, this can be a good combo.

$100 referral bonus details. If you open a Lili account through a Lili referral link, use JenPing as the referral code, and receive a single qualifying direct deposit of at least $250 within the first 45 days, you will receive a $100 bonus.

As noted in my Turning Small Deals into a $100,000 Nest Egg post, you can motivate yourself by treating these bonuses as a way to max out your annual IRA contribution. $6,000 annual limit = $500 per month = $125 per week. With this bonus, I am now over the $5,000 mark in the MMB Free IRA Contribution 2021 Challenge.

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  1. Wow, this looks great! Thanks for sharing!

    I’ve been looking for a way to keep my freelance income separate from the regular household budget and rentals. This might be just the thing. Bummer on the 1% apr, but 0.05% is pretty normal these days so won’t lose anything.

  2. Hello Jonathan,

    I quickly received my lili bonus but have yet to receive any bonus from DROP, even though I think I am past the 45 day waiting period. Any comments on your personal experience tracking down this bonus from them?

    • I am in the same boat: Lili $100 bonus showed up quickly, Drop bonus still pending. The wording is a bit fuzzy, because it says your points will be delivered with 45 days of completing the offer, but then the offer is to deposit $200 within 45 days of opening the account. So technically, maybe it could take 90 days total (45+45)? I do see that they tracked my click under Points > Offer Activity on 9/13/2021. I probably made the deposit within a week or so of that date.

      These shopping portals are notorious for being slow to post points, but at least they tracked the click. I’ll probably open up a ticket after 90 days. On the positive side, I’ve been getting easy points for my Target and Amazon purchases on my linked card for doing nothing above normal shopping.

  3. Drop bonus still pending and now I see where Lili offer says “No stacked deals available. Promotion codes found outside of Drop are not eligible for points.” I don’t recall seeing that before but it appears now that Lili isn’t going to allow both.

    • I agree, that “no stacked deals” part was not there initially. Unfortunate.

    • I waited past the waiting period for 90 days, and opened a Drop support ticket. They were pretty easy to deal with, they asked for a screenshot of the email from Lili confirming that I opened an account, and after I sent it to them they promptly credited me the 90,000 points owed.

      So if you did this deal back on September/October, I would recommend you to do the same and ask for your points.

  4. Withdrew my fund and closed my Lili account back a month ago. But I still have not received the fund I withdrew. When I email their support I keep getting the same reply “We got your request, but we’re not in the office right now. You’ll receive a response within 3 hours during the business day!” What can I do at this point?

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