The Rise of Access to Earned Wages – What You Need to Know

Complete Information About The Rise of Access to Earned Wages - What You Need to Know

With the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating business trends, it’s time to explore how your company can benefit from earned wage access (EWA). Also known as on-demand and instant pay, EWA allows employees to withdraw money they have already accrued.

This powerful recruiting and retention tool for hourly workers has gained significant interest from employers outside the gig economy.

What is EWA?

Rather than making employees wait for the funds they’ve earned, companies that offer access to earned wages provide them with an early option to spend some or all of their wages. To obtain the funds, workers download an app from the wage access provider that collaborates with their employer and link a bank account or debit card. They can also send the money directly to their bank or use a payment card (like a pre-paid credit card). The amount they can request will vary from app to app, with most offering only up to half of what an employee earns in a given pay period.

Once an employee requests the money, the company will transfer it to their account within one to three business days, and they can withdraw the funds when needed. They can set up direct deposit, which may help qualify them for lower transfer fees. 

Benefits for Employers

As we enter a post-pandemic workforce, it’s more important than ever for employers to be able to attract and retain talent. That’s why offering employees a way to receive their wages quickly and easily is becoming a key differentiator for many businesses. Earned wage access (EWA) is an innovative payment solution that allows employees to get an advance on their paychecks before the scheduled deposit date. This service is offered by companies that work directly with employers and also through apps designed for consumers. Unlike payday loans, these advances are not credit and do not charge interest on funds accessed early.

EWA is a convenient way for employees to manage their finances and help them build savings. In addition to the peace of mind that comes with knowing they have a safety net, employees can use these funds to pay bills, cover expenses, and meet other financial obligations. EWA can also help improve the overall financial wellness of your workforce, reducing stress and improving productivity by decreasing the need to rely on high-interest loans and overdraft fees for everyday purchases.

A survey conducted by Ceridian found that employees who have EWA are more likely to remain at their current jobs, which is great news for your organization. If you want to learn more about implementing an EWA program at your business, contact our team today!

Benefits for Employees

In a competitive job market, it is more important than ever for employers to offer their employees competitive benefits. One such benefit is earned wage access, a way for hourly and salaried employees to receive a portion of their paycheck ahead of schedule. While it does not increase wages, this on-demand payment option allows workers to address the financial stress caused by having to make their paycheck last until payday or rely on costly alternatives like overdraft fees or payday loans.

This on-demand pay option becomes a powerful tool for improving employee well-being when paired with a full suite of financial wellness tools. 

EWA is a popular choice for hourly and salaried employees because it helps them avoid dealing with the high cost of overdraft fees and payday loans. It also eliminates the burden of waiting until their scheduled payday to address unexpected financial expenses like car repairs, medical bills, or rent.

Studies show that millennials and Generation Z are more interested in EWA than previous generations, but workers across all income levels and educational attainment support the concept of early pay. 


For employees who live paycheck to paycheck, on-demand access to earned wages can mean the difference between getting a bill paid on time and paying a late fee or a high-interest predatory payday loan. These services, also known as e-wallets, enable employees to reduce their stress and pay bills on time while reducing the billions of dollars paid each year by less well-off Americans for overdraft fees, late charges, and predatory payday loans.

Many EWA providers offer an online or mobile application that links to an employer’s payroll system to access an employee’s earnings data. These applications can either push an advance of up to 80% of earned wages into an employee’s bank account via the automated clearing house (ACH) or instantly credit a pre-paid or debit card. Employees pay a small fee to use the service, which varies by provider.

According to our 2022 Payments Pulse survey, seven 10 middle-market companies offer or plan to offer earned wage access. This is a major shift in the payments industry, which typically only offers consumers advanced and immediate payment solutions. In the post-pandemic economy, employers respond to workforce expectations of being paid quickly. It is part of a wider cultural shift that demands empowerment and dignity for workers. And for employers, it is a way to retain and attract talent in an environment where labor-force participation remains near record lows.

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