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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Enabling Same-Day Access to Earned Wages and Tips Helps Employers Attract and Retain Top Talent

Earned Wage Access Helps Employers Attract Talent
Andrew Allen

Written by: Andrew Allen

Andrew Allen
Andrew Allen

For nearly 20 years, Andrew has worked for financial institutions ranging from regional investment organizations to some of the largest banks in the world. At Wells Fargo, Andrew was a Consultant within the Insight and Innovation division. A graduate of the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, Andrew’s goal has been promoting personal financial wellness and solid money decisions. As a Staff Writer for CardRates, Andrew seeks to inform readers of solutions to help them on their path to financial freedom.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro
Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience to the CardRates team. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Florida. Today, Lillian edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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Our experts and industry insiders blog the latest news, studies and current events from inside the credit card industry. Our articles follow strict editorial guidelines.

In a Nutshell: Earned wage access can help employers attract and retain essential employees. Workers can use earned wage access programs to manage their finances responsibly. Instant Financial provides solutions for earned wage access at no cost to employers or employees. The company offers payment cards that allow workers to access their wages without a bank account.   

People entering the workforce for the first time may encounter some unpleasant surprises regarding their paychecks. First, the impact of taxes on an individual’s paycheck can be more significant than an employee anticipated.

New members of the workforce may also be surprised to learn of the frequency of their paychecks. Employers, sometimes shackled by the practices of third-party payroll processors, may only pay their employees twice per month.

Instant Financial provides solutions that enable employees to access their wages the same day they earn them. Based in Alpharetta, Georgia, the company also maintains offices in Pensacola, Florida, and Vancouver, British Columbia, where Instant Financial originated in 2016.

Instant Financial logo

Tal Clark joined the company’s board in 2018 and became its CEO in 2021. We spoke with Clark to learn more about how Instant Financial enables employees to access their wages and empowers them to take charge of their finances.

Instant Financial’s founders started the company to facilitate early access to wages and tips for employees. 

Clark said Instant Financial has an established history of providing services to restaurants, along with many other industries. Some of the largest restaurant brands in the U.S. use the company’s solutions to help their employees access tips at the end of their shifts.

Instant Financial offers a payment card allowing employees to access their wages without using check-cashing services.

“When you take those three things together — earned wage access, access to tips, and the ability to pay out on a card — no one else brings all of that together under the same roof,” Clark said. 

Instant Financial’s versatility helps it stand out from its competitors.

“Anyone else in this space or an adjacent space is dependent on one or more partners to be able to do all of the things we do,” Clark said. “Providing seamless access to earned wages and tips, and the option to provide payments on a card, continue to be a priority for us.”

Solutions Suited for the Underbanked

Instant Financial is a leader in its industry. Clark said the company is one of the top four or five providers in its space in terms of market share.

“There have been quite a few new entrants into this space over the last three or four years, but I think many of them are probably only around 10% of our revenue and size,” Clark said. “We have a very significant presence in terms of both market share and share of voice.”

Tal Clark
Tal Clark is Instant Financial’s CEO.

Instant Financial can serve all of a company’s employees, including those without access to a bank account. Clark said many of Instant Financial’s competitors stipulate that program participants maintain banking relationships to access their services.

The company provides payment cards that don’t require employees to link them to a bank account, which makes the cards attractive to markets with underbanked communities. 

Instant Financial serves employees in the staffing industry. Clark said the company provides services to several staffing businesses, including one of the largest staffing agencies in the world. 

Instant Financial also partners with organizations in the healthcare, hospitality, logistics, and transportation industries. The company works with businesses of various sizes. 

One of Instant Financial’s clients employs nearly 200,000 people, and the company also serves branded franchisees of larger organizations it works with.

“We look for and target employers that have 1,000 employees at a minimum,” Clark said. “We’re able, in some cases, to provide solutions to smaller employers as well, but our sales team mostly focuses on institutions with more than 1,000 employees.”

Cards Allow Convenient Access to Wages

Instant Financial’s Instant Cards allow employees to access their wages immediately after completing their workday. In addition to physical cards, the company offers virtual cards to employees who prefer a digital payment tool.

With Instant Financial’s Instant Cards, employees gain immediate access to their funds and can make purchases using their payment cards. Instant Financial offers its card services for free to employers and employees.

“The entire transaction occurs at no cost to the employee or employer, which is unique in this industry,” Clark said. “And we’re proud to continue to do that. We think it’s needed in this space.”

Instant Financial's card and app
Instant Cards provide employees with convenient access to their wages.

Instant Financial generates revenue from the interchange of card transactions employees conduct using the company’s payment cards. 

Clark said Instant Financial built a financial model around interchange that allows the company to avoid relying on fee-based services that can prevent workers from retaining more of their tips and wages.

Many employers have found hiring and retaining employees in the post-COVID environment more challenging than in the recent past. Clark said employees are increasingly seeking workplaces that offer earned wage access.

“We know that workers are 79% more likely to apply for a job if it offers daily access to their pay, whether that be tips or wages,” Clark said.

Employee absenteeism can decrease when employers offer earned wage access. Clark said 69% of employees are more likely to work additional shifts or optional days if an employer provides immediate access to a portion of their earned pay after a day’s work at no cost.

“Employees that have earned their wages should be able to access them,” Clark said. “And what we’re doing is making sure we’re providing that. I think employers that haven’t chosen to implement a solution offering earned wage access will have a difficult time hiring going forward.”

Financial Education Leads to Employee Wellness

Earned wage access can help employees who need fast access to cash avoid pursuing less desirable options. 

Instant Financial conducted a survey that revealed that workers who don’t participate in a program for earned wage access turn to family members for loans or sell items online that they would rather keep.

The survey also indicated that workers without earned wage access are more likely to work when they are ill and engage with payday lenders that charge exorbitant fees. 

“When you start to talk about an employee’s financial health, it really starts with just having access to their earnings,” Clark said. “Earned wage access is a financial wellness tool for employees because it prevents them from having to take actions they don’t want to take.”

When Instant Financial works with an employer, its goal is for every employee of the company to have the opportunity to enroll in its solutions for earned wage access. The company prefers employers to educate employees about its solutions during the hiring process.

Instant Financial is committed to providing employees with financial education that can help them make safer and smarter decisions with their money. The company offers employees an app that provides them with financial education and wellness tools. 

Clark said Instant Financial educates employers about the value of offering earned wage access and how it can help their business attract and retain employees.

“Employers, in some cases, can underestimate the value of providing earned wage access to their employees,” Clark said. “Employees have earned those wages, and we want to make sure they have access to them when they need them. That’s our focus as we move forward.”