Branch expands payroll advance app to all hourly workers

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Mobile technology provider Branch is expanding a work scheduling and payment app it makes available to companies, enabling the Pay feature to help hourly workers forecast hours and advance their pay.

The Pay feature was previously available only to employees at specific large companies such Dunkin', Taco Bell and Target. It is now accessible to all Branch app users across the U.S.

“Opening Pay and instant access to earnings to all Branch users continues our mission of creating tools that empower the hourly employee and allow their work lives to meet the demands of their personal lives,” Atif Siddiqi, Branch's CEO, said in a Tuesday press release. “Our initial users have embraced this feature, and we look forward to offering Pay to all of our organic users to better engage employees and scale staffing more efficiently.”

In addition to allowing users instant access to earnings, Pay also provides tools for managing work schedules and personal finances. In effect, Branch says it removes the constraints of the two-week paycheck cycle.

Minneapolis-based Branch says it handles all financial aspects of the payments, so there are no tax implications or pre-payroll funding responsibilities for the companies or the users' banks.

Real-time earnings technology allows qualified users to instantly advance up to $150 per day and up to $500 per pay period, based on hours worked. A wage tracker tool helps forecast cash flow based on wages and scheduled shifts.

In addition, the app allows users to find and add more shifts to their schedule based on work needs to increase pay-period earnings. Initial Pay enrollees have already averaged approximately 5.5 transactions per month and more than 20 percent higher shift coverage rates compared to non-users, Branch noted.

The process is similar to what Visa established with partner PayActiv this month, allowing workers to receive earned wages onto a Visa prepaid card, a system that leverages the push payments of Visa Direct.

The offerings operate on a similar premise in helping companies avoid turnover through helpful employee services, while also helping employees avoid the need for traditional payday loans.

Branch has worked with New Jersey-based Cross River and financial technology platform Plaid to power payments and complete transactions. Branch says it supports nearly all banks and credit unions within the U.S.

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