Payday Loan Opponent App Raises $20M

Inside Subprime: Oct 22, 2018

By Nikolas Wright

An app that gives workers early access to earned but unpaid wages, has raised $20 million in a Series B investment round.

The app is a way for employers to provide workers with an alternative to costly payday loans. It also helps workers avoid overdrafting accounts or bouncing checks (and the corresponding fees). Essentially, the app lets you take a paycheck advance from your employer instead of turning to a lender.

By partnering with financial technology companies offering similar services, employers are helping their employees avoid predatory lenders. A typical use case for these apps: Say a worker needs cash today, but they don’t get paid until Friday. The app lets workers draw on pay they’ve already earned.

This San Jose, California-based firm made headlines in December 2017 after Walmart tapped the company, along with another personal finance app, to give the retailer’s 1.5 million-plus U.S. workforce access to their salary ahead of payday. Even helps users budget, save, and manage their money.

“Traditional approaches to workforce well-being often focus solely on physical health, but we know from listening to our associates that financial well-being is just as important,” Walmart Chief People Officer Jacqui Canney said in a statement.

With nearly three quarters of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, many people turn to payday loans for emergency cash. But this puts borrowers at risk of falling into the financial black hole known as the debt trap.

Are paycheck advances a solution to workers’ financial problems? On one hand, by avoiding APRs, fees, and a never-ending cycle of compounding debt upon debt, individuals have a chance to financially catch their breath. However, if workers routinely need to fill the gap between paychecks beyond the occasional emergency or unexpected expense, then it’s a sign of failure to budget and live within your means.

For information on predatory payday loans, check out all of our Subprime Reports.