A growing interest among younger workers to access their pay more quickly could create a $12 billion market for payroll providers and earned-wage upstarts that seek to disrupt the traditional idea of pay periods.
Fintech companies see a big opportunity to speed up access to earned wages, especially for hourly employees with tighter cash-flow needs and a greater proclivity to use costly and predatory options like payday loans to make ends meet. The technology, which can allow workers to receive their wages at the end of a shift, may drive the biggest change to the payroll industry in decades following a long stretch of monthly and then biweekly pay cycles.
Companies providing access to on-demand wages say they’re seeing a surge of corporate interest given the current labor market as businesses in sectors like retail and restaurants struggle to recruit workers. One Missouri Arby’s location lists “DAILY PAY” as the first bullet point in its job posting for a team-member position. DailyPay, a startup recently valued at upwards of $1 billion, says it works with some Arby’s franchises to provide this service.
Jason Lee, DailyPay Founder & CEO joins the Yahoo Finance Live panel with the latest on the on-demand pay platform.
In today’s startup spotlight, we’re taking a look at the intense battle that businesses are currently finding themselves in for talent. As a refresher, right now, we’re sitting on what is a record amount of job openings here in the US. When we look at that, in a very intense battle to fill those openings and entice workers. Employers are not just upping what their employees are paid, but how they are paid with flexible new services.
And one of those services, DailyPay, lets users tap paychecks in real time so they don’t have to wait for payday to roll around. The company just closed a $175 million series D funding round. And for more on that, happy to welcome into our starting spotlight segment here, DailyPay’s founder and CEO Jason Lee joins us right now. And Jason, congrats on the round. Good to be chatting with you here. You work with some big names– McDonald’s, Kroger, and some other ones out there. But what are you seeing in terms of those companies and others trying to use your services to attract new talent?
On April 23, 2021 we had a chance to tell CNBC’s The Exchange about how DailyPay disrupts the outdated pay cycle with a new financial system. DailyPay is a New York based technology company and we work with enterprises and Fortune 500 companies in really just about every industry you can name, from healthcare to restaurants to retail. The way it works is that employers leverage our technology to really offer their employees, I mean, truly a life-changing experience. It’s something that we call on-demand pay. Said simply, employees can now access any part of their pay instantly as they earn it without having to wait for a lump sum on a scheduled payday. Through our technology, any employee can now see exactly what her accrued earnings are, and at a tap of a button have access to any part of those earnings 24/7/365. It’s not a payback. There’s not a loan. There’s just your money and we’re delivering that to you on demand.
We see an entirely new financial system where pay is in fact realtime. The catch, however, Kelly, is it’s really hard to do. For my colleagues who work in the payroll industry, it’s very, very difficult to kind of get all the pieces to work together, whether it be the funding or the technology or the risk and compliance. So that’s what we do. We essentially offer the employee the ability to access daily pay without the employer having to run payroll daily. That’s really the concept behind DailyPay.
Research has shown that by changing their employees’ pay experience, companies can maximize efficiency by reducing turnover and decreasing employee absenteeism, while simultaneously increasing productivity and employee satisfaction. If implemented correctly, on-demand pay can save employers and employees millions of dollars every year.
But all on-demand pay platforms are not created equal, as Walmart experienced, and this article reveals the consequences of rolling out a program that lacks features that are critical to its success.
According to research conducted in 2021 by Mercator Advisory Group, the data from millions of employees across every vertical is showing us a very different picture.
DailyPay added capabilities that will allow HCM technology, time management and payroll service providers to offer its on-demand pay services through their product suites. The launch of the product, called ExtendPX, moves DailyPay beyond its traditional offering by opening its services to a range of vendors.
The demand for on-demand pay (an employer-based benefit and payroll process also called earned wage access) has grown exponentially due to its proven ability to reduce turnover, promote worker productivity and boost hiring. Given the triple-digit growth in client demand for on-demand pay, HCM, payroll and TMS companies are quickly realizing the need to embrace this new market.
“Over the past five years, DailyPay has partnered with key HCM and TMS companies in powerful ways,” said Jason Lee, CEO and co-founder of DailyPay. “We have proven that by integrating our gold-standard offering into their platforms, more Americans can enjoy control and flexibility over their pay. After all, it’s their money, and they’ve earned it. This product expansion is just one of the critical steps we are making to move the entire PayExperience industry forward.”
In the digital world we live in, society is moving towards the idea of “giving people what they want”. Many activities like financial services, rides, bill payment, and movies, among others, can be done with mobile apps, and most of them are immediately available. So it is not surprising that employers are following suit by offering their employees on-demand pay to free them from the harms of a rigid pay schedule. On-demand pay stays true to its name and does exactly what it sounds like – a new way for employees to access their pay on demand to meet their financial needs. On-demand payments are generally made through third-party providers, often coordinated by the payroll provider. There are various companies in the payroll industry providing on-demand pay services, but one that stands out from the rest is DailyPay. The company was founded in 2015, and it is based in New York.
In 2020, the ability to access your income as you earn it has shifted from a nice benefit to have to an essential one. Amid the global health crisis, the antiquated way employees have been paid for decades is changing thanks to advancements in technology. With a surge in on-demand pay providers, government agencies are weighing in on which models are optimal for consumers.
On November 30, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) finalised its advisory opinion process and simultaneously issued its first advisory opinions, including one which concerned Earned Wage Access (EWA). The advisory opinion process, similar to a private letter ruling from the IRS or a no-action letter from the SEC, is specific to a certain set of facts and circumstances, and each opinion has narrow applicability.
In the EWA opinion, the CFPB explains how a new technology called Earned Wage Access, by enabling workers to get paid as they earn money, rather than wait weeks at a time for their employer-scheduled payday, has provided a critical and more consumer-friendly alternative to payday loans and other predatory alternatives.
On December 30, 2020, the CFPB issued a follow-up order in response to its November 30, 2020 EWA advisory opinion, which provides guidance on certain earned wage access (EWA) programs. AS a matter of fact, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Dec. 30 issued two compliance assistance sandboxes: one for dual usage credit cards and another for employee access to earned but unpaid wages. CFPB compliance sandboxes provide a safe harbor for banks to test products or services that have been approved by the bureau.
One of the Earned Wage Access providers (Payactiv) received a compliance sandbox for its program that facilitates employee-requested transfers of wages that an employee has already earned, capped at no more than 60% of the accrued cash value of the earned wages.
Under the CFPB policy, EWA providers had the right to request clarity on specific points that deal with regulatory uncertainty. Because the Bureau’s November 30 opinion identified specific at-risk models that might be considered extenders of credit, this provider requested a review of their at-risk set of facts. This was the reason PayActiv requested this follow-up order, because it was at risk of being deemed non-compliant with the CFPB’s initial advisory opinion on earned wage access.
The opinion does not grant any approval of the specific model itself. In fact, the CFPB follow-up order states that the “Approval Order does not constitute the Bureau’s endorsement of the PayActiv EWA Program or any other product or service offered or provided by PayActiv.”
DailyPay has never required any form of employee payback, debiting or payroll deduction that would implicate the extension of credit. The November CFPB opinion and the December CFPB EWA Approval Order were narrow issuances of guidance, to provide clarity around which practices of other providers are problematic. Particularly, the December order notes that wage deduction programs still face restrictions and prohibitions under state wage and hour laws. The safe harbor under the order excludes this key risk. Providers with wage deduction methods can expose their partner employers to this and other legal risks, and are not covered for these risks under the November opinion or the December order. Furthermore, employers relying on wage deduction-based programs must now contend with additional restrictions and concerns regarding this practice.
On 11/30/2020 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued an advisory opinion regarding certain types of earned wage access (EWA) providers. In the document, the CFPB also provided an opinion on a legally ambiguous form of earned wage access that requires an employee to repay advances from a vendor.
In the opinion, the CFPB indicates that programs that require an employee to pay back an on-demand transfer via a payroll deduction and charge fees may be considered extensions of credit. The CFPB has noted that there is no extension of credit in the case of wage deductions only if there are no fees or other restrictions. As noted, DailyPay’s proprietary technology and use of the Non-Payback Model do not and have never relied on employee payback of funds via a payroll deduction or debiting of bank accounts (the CFPB’s analysis only clarifies information around these models — our model is and has always been in full compliance).
By way of background, there are two types of on-demand pay models. The difference between the two is the presence or absence of an employee-directed payback, i.e., an employee obligation to repay.
How Does the Opinion Apply to DailyPay?
The CFPB opinion does not apply to or impact DailyPay’s model, as DailyPay does not require any form of employee payback. As such, it does not require DailyPay, or any of its employer partners, to make any changes in response to the opinion. The opinion does not provide an “approved” or “endorsed” model. Its sole purpose is to clarify a legally questionable model used by some providers in the marketplace, solely from a federal consumer finance perspective.
Why is it that those with the least wealth are often required to front the money for the essentials needed to perform their jobs?
That’s a question that struck me one night when ordering pizza. At the time, I was working as a financial engineer on Wall Street. As I folded my slice in half, I started chewing over an idea. Low-wage workers like pizza delivery drivers — who are essential to our economy and lifestyles, as evidenced by the COVID-19 pandemic — are expected to not only have enough money to sustain themselves and their families but also to front the costs of gas, car insurance, repairs and auto registration.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Our outdated payroll system wasn’t designed to address the needs of today’s employees. An on-demand pay model, however, can give employees access to earned income, ultimately enabling them to change their socioeconomic status — while improving the bottom line for employers.
Understanding the debt cycle
Due to the nature of the biweekly pay model, workers are required to work for weeks without pay when they start a new job — and they typically must pay for certain essentials and supplies from their own pockets while they wait for their first paycheck. Because they often lack significant savings, this system negatively impacts low-wage and entry-level workers the most.
Restaurant cooks must pay for the public transport or gas required to get to their jobs, in addition to chef’s shoes and other necessities. Teachers are too often tasked with paying for their school and cleaning supplies. Even entry-level white-collar workers must purchase corporate wardrobes, and interns are often asked to use (and therefore pay for) their own laptops.