New Study: Earned Wage Access Puts Consumers in Control of Finances, and Life

A prevailing 92% of consumers given Earned Wage Access (EWA), a service that allows you to get paid as you earn, reported it helped them to pay bills on time, avoid overdraft fees and payday loans, and become less dependent on credit cards – empowering them to achieve at least one of their financial goals in 2020. According to a new survey from FTI Consulting, consumers experienced less-stress and increased financial & emotional health with the help of EWA.

The research study, conducted by Earnin with multiple industry partners, concluded that breaking the traditional two-week pay cycle gives workers the tools they need to manage their finances, and found that without EWA, 44% of users would otherwise consider not paying certain bills and more than one-third of consumers would deliberately overdraft or use a payday loan.

“Financial empowerment and building a more equitable financial system starts with ending the traditional paycheck cycle,” said Ram Palaniappan, Founder and CEO of Earnin, an EWA provider focused on building products for a more equitable financial system.

“This data confirms what we hear everyday from our users: giving people access to their paycheck helps them pay bills on time and avoid overdraft fees, payday loans, and reduce reliance on credit cards."

The study of 4,735 earned wage access customers aims to understand how consumers use and benefit financially from Direct to Consumer (D2C) Earned Wage Access services that provide people access to their income soon after they earn it.

Overall, the study found that by receiving access to their wages through EWA services, consumers felt more in control of their finances and experienced better financial well-being. The majority (roughly 88% of respondents) believe that having access to their wages as they earned them during the pandemic was essential to their financial well-being.

Additional key findings include:

1. Ninety-two percent (92%) of EWA consumers felt that the service helped them to achieve at least one of their financial goals in 2020, which were to pay bills on time, avoid overdraft fees and payday loans, and become less dependent on credit cards.

2. An overwhelming majority of consumers (91%) said they understand how the EWA service works and understand the associated fees (89%).

3. A strong majority of EWA users reported a boost in their overall well-being after using the service. Eight in 10 reported feeling less stressed about their financial situation (82%), having higher self-esteem (81%) and an improvement in their mental health (77%).

4. Without access to an EWA service, 44% would consider not paying certain bills on time, 38% would consider going into overdraft and 35% would consider using a payday loan.

5. The majority of respondents (60%) reported that they do not have tools from their employer to better control their finances.

When it comes to better understanding EWA users, the study found that half are non-white and the majority are Millennials aged between 25-40. The average annual household income of users is $50,700 and more than half have some level of college education. The majority of respondents use EWA every two weeks and access an average of $100-$149 in order to pay bills on time (61%), avoid overdraft fees (52%) and buy groceries (52%).

For more information on this study and its findings, check out the full story here.

This research was conducted online by FTI Consulting’s Digital & Insights team, on behalf of Brigit, MoneyLion & Earnin.

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