Startup Immediate speeds earned wage access via Visa's push payments

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Immediate will use Visa Direct to provide real-time access for employees to collect earned, but not yet paid wages before scheduled payday.

The Birmingham, Alabama-based startup offers a lower-cost alternative to payday loans. According to The PEW Charitable Trusts, 12 million Americans borrow from payday lenders each year and spend more than $7 billion on payday loans. Immediate works through employers, integrating with a company’s time and tracking payroll software in order to determine the wages an employee has accrued during a payroll cycle. Immediate has built integrations with ADP, Kronos, Paychex, Paylocity, UltiPro, Prism HR, as well as other payroll platforms.

While many EWA providers such as PayActive set a limit, such as $500, on how much an employee can access early, Immediate works with each individual employer to set customized limits.

The employee can access and request wages by using the company’s mobile app called ImmediatePay. Any eligible Visa card can be linked to the ImmediatePay app and requests can be made at any time of the day, including weekends and holidays. The cost of accessing real-time wages is normally paid by the employee and goes up to a maximum of $3 per transaction, similar to an ATM fee. However, the fee can be partially or completely offset by an employer if they choose to do so.“Workers who request early access to their earned wages often need the money quickly, especially if it’s for a health emergency, car repair, or other unforeseen expense,” said Matt Pierce, co-founder and CEO of Immediate, in a press release.

Immediate was founded in October 2018, then won a $100,000 prize from the Alabama Launchpad pitch competition in 2019 and completed a seed round of financing in February. Investors in the seed round included the Alabama Capital Network and several angel investors from Boston, Atlanta and Birmingham.

Immediate is approaching all industries, gaining traction in manufacturing, health care and retail sectors and has almost 100 live customer sites. Customers include Gulf Coast Panama Jack (Florida), Heritage Senior Living (Wisconsin), Pack Health in Birmingham.

"Now more than ever, hourly workers want and need more flexible tools to help them better manage their money as the pandemic continues to strain the workforce," Cecilia Frew, senior vice president with Visa Direct, said in the release. "Visa is proud to be working with Immediate to help provide individuals with more control over when they receive access to their funds, getting them their already earned money faster during this challenging time.”

Other earned wage access firms include Earnin, DailyPay, Even and Branch. Additionally, Ceridian, a human capital management firm that provides payroll software also jumped into the EWA market in May. The field is also expanding to overseas markets that include recent launches or capital raises by U.K. firms Wagestream and Orka Technology Group as well as Minu in Mexico and Xerpa in Brazil.

PayActiv was one of the first firms in the market, and has added to its profile through partnerships with Walmart and Even. PayActiv services 500,000 Walmart employees out of an available pool of 1.5 million, and has almost 1 million active users across its entire client portfolio. However, one notable new entrant, Square, has taken a different approach of tying the EWA funds accessed by being sent to its Cash App, which has more than 30 million users.

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