Branch, which offers paycheck advances and other financial services, has introduced a debit card and fee-free digital checking account to clients.
The new services are in partnership with Mastercard and Evolve Bank & Trust.
The debit card clients will receive payday advances with no fee. Branch claims to be the first of several “early wage access” competitors to offer the advances at no cost.
“We’ve seen that once an hourly employee joins the workforce, their employer is their first entry into the financial system,” said Atif Siddiqi, CEO of Branch, which used to be Branch Messenger. “Most traditional financial services actually make it more challenging for hourly workers to balance their finances, whether it’s expensive overdraft fees or minimum balance requirements. Given their income volatility and limited access to the support they need, we want to provide hourly workers a strong start on their financial journey and offer services that help them improve their financial wellness and save.”
Branch works with employers to extend its benefits to hourly workers. That way, the company knows the schedules of potential clients, and those clients can receive pay soon after their shifts end.
The alternative to the Branch-issued debit card and account is for workers at those employers to give Branch their bank account information. For a fee, Branch takes out the amount of the advance on payday.
The idea behind Branch and other new-generation payday advance companies — including New York startup DailyPay, which has opened a Minneapolis office it plans to grow to 100 workers — is to help workers, many younger, who are more likely to live paycheck to paycheck and less likely to use traditional banking services.
The new Branch bank account would be full service accounts, not just to deposit paychecks.
Clients can sign up for the debit card and bank account through the Branch app.