Earned Wage Access

PayCaptain’s mission

Our mission is to help people handle their wages in the best way they can.

We do this by focussing on interventions which improve financial resilience, by providing easy ways for employees to build their short-term (rainy day) and long-term (retirement) savings.

This includes helping people be aware of how their income aligns with their outgoings. Doing this allows people to understand what they can realistically be saving each month. For some people we understand they will not be able to save, but we encourage those that can to make regular savings contributions - no matter the value.

Enabling people to build savings is the best way to support them in becoming more financially resilient. As Employer’s this is something that is most effective when combined with payroll for a frictionless, 100% inclusive savings experience.

Where does Earned Wage Access fit in?

Earned Wage Access (EWA) is the option for an employee to be able to access their accrued earnings before payday. It can be incredibly helpful for people with no free cash and low financial resilience especially when it avoids them having to access high-cost credit or use loan sharks. It can offer a way of covering unexpected expenses safely without the danger of having to meet expensive loan repayments on already stretched budgets.

At PayCaptain we believe EWA needs to evolve though. Too many suppliers offer EWA as their main feature; used alone it does not solve the underlying issue of supporting people to build greater financial resilience.

Having provision for EWA on it’s own is not enough to meet the needs of employees who require more support to build financial resilience and enjoy the peace of mind that goes with it. EWA in standalone form is sticky plaster for the financially vulnerable and for some people it can become a serious problem if they get caught in the trap of relying on it.

There are many negative examples from people using EWA which have either caused or exacerbated difficult financial situations.

Reliance on EWA is not good – especially when employees are charged per transaction. At a broad level it indicates that people don’t have any free cash or savings to fall back on (i.e. they have very low financial resilience). Regular use forces people to stay in a cycle of spending income immediately. This makes it difficult to break the habit and build a buffer between what they earn and what they spend.

People paid variably or on zero-hour contracts need to be particularly mindful that drawing a percentage of what they’ve accrued so far in a month without the confidence they will receive the same the following month could be the beginning of finding themselves in a problematic budget deficit and debt spiral.

PayCaptain would recommend someone should seek support from Debt Charities or The Citizen’s Advice Bureau if they are regularly struggling to make ends meet.  

How does PayCaptain work?

PayCaptain is not an Earned Wage Access supplier.

We are a payroll solution for responsible, modern companies to pay and reward their people.  

PayCaptain has a controlled feature to allow limited access to accrued earnings called ‘Emergency Cash’ allowing employees to access money in a financial crisis.

What makes PayCaptain’s approach different?

• Accessibility - all employees paid by PayCaptain use the PayCaptain app to view and manage their pay already. This means that 100% of your workforce has the option to be able to access Emergency Cash immediately in a financial crisis without worrying about waiting for their account to be activated or worse not even knowing that you offer this as a benefit when they need it.

• No charges - employees are not charged for using Emergency Cash.  PayCaptain will not profit from financially vulnerable people. PayCaptain is a certified B Corp and is fully committed to having a positive impact on the people we pay. Impact is measured carefully and reported transparently.

• Safeguarding- PayCaptain has strict safeguarding around the number of times an employee can access Emergency Cash and the amount they can access. The limit of Emergency cash can be set by the Employer (we recommend £200 per month which is roughly the same as a large item of kitchen white goods).

• PayCaptain is focussed on building the financial resilience of employed people. This means our core focus alongside payroll is to help people build a short-term savings buffer and ensure they are saving appropriately for the retirement they hope to have. Access to accrued earnings is a small, but vital part of what PayCaptain provides to support employees whilst they build their savings up.

For a full list of features available in PayCaptain for employees please get in touch.

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