Nearly a third of Americans have less than $100 in savings, making it challenging to navigate day-to-day needs like groceries or bills. And when it comes to paying for more critical expenses like unexpected or emergency medical bills, the paycheck-to-paycheck tightrope walk becomes even more harrowing.
The advent of earned wage access (EWA) has helped many Americans bridge the two week gap between paychecks — but it falls short of addressing the most severe financial challenges they’re facing.
EWA Is Just One Way To Help
Earned wage access comes in a couple of different forms.
Through an employer, workers can access pay for the hours they’ve worked prior to their bi-weekly payday. It’s an increasingly popular lifeline for employees from a wide range of demographics, with one study finding that 34% of U.S. workers want their employer to adopt the practice.
EWA can also be provided through an app for employers, like MoneyLion or Dave. If you’re unfamiliar with EWA particulars, here are a few that are universal:
- Access to funds is limited. Typically, for EWA apps, customers can draw anywhere from $100 to $500, and they’re charged a withdrawal fee that gets rolled into their final repayment. The maximum withdrawal figure is determined by employers, and can hamper spenders from using these apps to cover big-ticket items or needs.
- New users have to prove themselves. EWA app customers don’t have carte blanche from the moment they sign up. New enrollees usually have lower maximum withdrawals or limited access to funds during a given pay period. Apps will give people the funds they need, but with restrictions.
- It’s not always instant gratification. Technology provides convenience, but EWA funds aren’t always immediate. Some have a standard waiting period of 1-2 days before they’ll make a deposit — though the silver lining is there’s no withdrawal fee charged upon repayment.
EWA apps are a great short-term runway source that can be used anywhere at any time. But, they don’t give users much control over their repayment cycles and can leave them at the whim of whichever app (or apps) they choose.
Live Paytient-to-Paycheck Instead
Paytient Health Payment Accounts (HPA) can be used in approved spending categories like mental, dental, vision, and pharmacy care — providing flexibility that empowers members with financial freedom. This is especially critical for employees in need of support paying their healthcare costs, as 25% say they can’t afford the healthcare they need.
HPAs enable employees to be proactive about care for themselves and their loved ones without depleting their next paycheck.
Members can flash their HPA cards at a pharmacist, emergency room, dentist, or veterinarian’s office to pay for what they need upfront and in full. Then, they’re able to repay whatever they spent, interest-free, over a time period they determine.
Where does Paytient have the edge over EWA?
- Access to a revolving line of credit. Paytient HPAs give employees access to a revolving line of credit that can be used again once dollars are repaid — while EWA funds are limited to the hours an employee has worked during a given pay period.
- Equitable access to funds. Paytient HPAs make healthcare equitable by allowing every employee to get the care they need — when they need it. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with EWAs, as employees can only access funds based on their current earnings.
- Space out the payment Paytient HPAs give employees the ability to space out the financial impact to future paychecks over time, so their next paycheck isn't depleted before payday.
- Encourage and protect savings. Paytient HPAs give employees the opportunity to spend and save smarter with benefits like their HSA. By allowing employees to keep more money in their pocket, they can be better consumers of care since they’re paying expenses over time vs a lump sum.
Pave the way with Paytient
Employers can’t shield employees from every financial crisis, but they can ensure they’re prepared with funds that can unlock access to needed medical care for themselves and their families. And the flexible repayment options of Paytient’s HPAs make for great learning opportunities around budgeting and financial literacy.
Paytient can pave the way to peace of mind and ensure high-fee options like Earned Wage Access are accessed less often.