Can I benefit from a payroll prepayment system or can I have more debt?

As many people face financial difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic and blockade, it may be tempting to look at the increasing variety of providers offering early access to payments.

A payroll prepayment system allows users to receive a portion of their wages before the payday to assist in the event of a shortage, but often at the expense of either the worker or the employer. I will.

The costs and risks that will be incurred in the future due to the early use of the necessary money are downsides.

However, while this is very different from high interest rate payday loans, payroll prepayments are aimed at facilitating revenue, simulating weekly payments instead of monthly payments and providing access to emergency cash. ..

The payroll prepayment system gives employees early access to wages when they need money.

All apps provide access to some of the wages you’ve already earned, and many apps don’t allow customers to receive more than 50%, and in some cases 25%, of their wages.

Providers have recently been the best light after former Prime Minister David Cameron urged medical services to use a Greensill app called Earnd that allows NHS employees to withdraw salaries that they have earned but have not yet paid. Not thrown into.

Only 450 healthcare professionals from three different trusts started using the app, but it’s unclear where the app is now before the company goes bankrupt.

However, there are many companies that offer similar services, and some claim that they are not costly because thousands of companies have already registered.

This is Money, and we’ll look at some of the major competitors in the payroll prepaid market to see how much it can cost.


Launched this week, Borofree is a payroll prepayment solution that the company claims is “no cost for both employers and employees.” Includes gift cards that can be used at certain retail stores, not cash.

A Borofree spokesman said:

“Therefore, even in the event of daily necessities, grocery shopping, Christmas or birthday gift budgets, or unexpected emergencies, users can take advantage of payroll prepayment to help.”

The company said it believes the service will help retain staff as employees improve their well-being and mental health.

How much can an employee get in advance: With Borofree, instead of having direct access to cash, you can use your salary up to £ 300 before your payday to buy the products and services you need with your gift card without paying any fees or interest.

Sign-ups have access to over 50 high street stores and online retailers, including John Lewis, ASDA, B & Q and National Express, to access their vouchers.

Repayment of the borrowed amount will be done automatically on the payday.

How it makes money: The service is profitable through brand partners who earn small commissions.

Many prepaid apps believe that financial health helps you get paid early


Hastee states that it was launched in August 2017 and is the first Earnings on Demand platform launched in the United Kingdom.

The company believes that traditional payroll cycles no longer meet the changing demands of today’s workforce, and says employees need to make money on demand to meet unforeseen challenges. I will.

Increased liquidity from the app helps workers avoid the use of other high-cost credit options, which means they have more flexibility on demand to access their money without incurring debt. I did.

The app is used by more than 300,000 employees in multiple organizations across Europe, including NHS South London and Moseley, Barcelo Hotel Group, Mitchells & Butlers, and London City Airport.

In addition to the Earnings on Demand feature, Hastee also provides employers with the opportunity to provide employees with financial management tools such as savings, cashback, compensation and budget guides.

How much can an employee get in advance: We provide customers with up to 50% of their salary in advance in cash.

How it makes money: Workers receive their first withdrawal free of charge up to £ 100. You will then be charged a 2.5% transaction fee, but no interest.

In most cases, the fee is paid when the employee withdraws income, but the employer has the option of paying this cost for the staff.

Hastee said this would fund all withdrawals and would not affect the company’s cash flow as the company would repay on normal payday.

Wage stream

Wagestream, another of the first initial wage access companies, was launched in the UK three years ago.

To date, more than 200 employers have provided Wagestream services to employees across industries such as hospitality, retail, security and healthcare.

In addition, about 500,000 employees have the option to use the app through their employers, and hiring rates vary widely from industry to industry.

Approximately 20% of registered users choose to use the wage access acquisition feature less than once a week, which allows them to roughly reproduce the rhythm of their weekly wages.

It adds that within a year of the first transfer of earned wage access, employees are, on average, transferring less than the original amount, less frequently, later in the payroll cycle. I did.

Like other apps, it provides other features that allow employees to track revenue in real time, set reminders for recurring billing, and build savings.

He said the ultimate goal of the service was to reduce reliance on predatory forms of short-term credit, to save more, to have better financial literacy, and to have better overall financial resilience.

How much can an employee get in advance: This allows employees to pre-borrow up to 50 percent of their wages.

How it makes money: Employers pay software fees to offer Wagestream as a benefit, which may also include “implementation” fees.

Employers can choose to subsidize the cost of transaction fees for earned wage access features, as companies are expensive to process these.

Otherwise, employees typically have free access to Tracking, Save, and Learning, and if they use the earned wage access feature, they pay £ 1.75 each time to access earned wages.

Usage and fees are set by each employer, including limits to prevent employees from accessing beyond a fixed portion of the wages earned, in-app notifications to ensure transparency of use, and fees limits. And limited by monitored management.

Most apps charge employees or employers for early access to salaries


So far, the Level app, released in 2020, is open to tens of thousands of employees.

Capita states that it was the first company to deploy Level apps to its employees and is the largest deployment of this type of technology in the UK.

Steve Holliday, CEO of Level, said: “This app aims to help users develop good habits and achieve their personal financial goals and aspirations, especially savings and budgets.”

Asked if such an app could lead to user debt, he said the problem with payroll prepayment schemes arises when people become dependent on them every month-but , I believe this is in conflict with a responsible approach to implementation.

The app also offers a range of services, including budgeting tools, financial education, and above all, savings.

How much can an employee get in advance: The maximum that a person can take each month is £ 500 and the maximum number of prepayments they can take is 3 (check if this is a year / so far)

How it makes money: According to Rebel, the main offer is to charge the employer for each employee who uses the product and to charge the employee a flat rate for each monthly prepayment.

The website states that there is an administration fee of £ 2 for each prepayment.

The average salary for each employee depends on the salary and the working hours of each employee.

However, for full-time office workers who earn more than their real-life wages, the average monthly advance payment is £ 210.

There was an industry review on the scheme, looking to see if the scheme was considered safe

Will prepayment of salary help or hinder?

A recent publication of the Woolard Review, a review of changes and innovations in unsecured credit markets by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), investigated advanced payroll practices.

As part of the review, the FCA will allow employees to use such schemes to “smooth” their overall monthly income, better manage their regular monthly spending, and unexpected or urgent spending. Said that you can deal with.

We have found that their use can be a low-cost, accessible alternative for people who may not have access to mainstream credit.

However, he added that the service must be implemented responsibly and the attached tools should be used to encourage good habits to save money and improve budgets.

Debt charity Stepchange agreed with the results of the review.

Adam Butler, Public Policy Manager at Stepchange, said: ‘It’s clear that people are suffering from debt at work, as 52% of the people who come to StepChange or its partners were hired in some way last year.

“That’s why it’s so important to consider how employers can support the financial well-being of their employees.

A well-designed payroll prepayment scheme can help reduce the demand for high credit, but all forms of borrowing should be carefully considered.

Adam Butler, step change

“A well-designed payroll prepayment system can help reduce the demand for high credit, but at an affordable price, all forms of borrowing need to be carefully considered so as not to hide or cause major problems. there is.

“For employers, one question may be whether the demand for borrowing indicates that employees need more coordinated support.

“Employers help prevent debt and achieve their goals by helping employees build emergency savings pots and build financial resilience, including guideposts for free debt advice. I can.”

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Can I benefit from a payroll prepayment system or can I have more debt?

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