Getting paid twice a month is pretty well ingrained into the minds of American workers. But startup Instant Financial thinks that paying lower-wage workers, like those in restaurants, daily paychecks may be a better way to increase financial flexibility and avoid monetary pitfalls.
Business Insider reports that Instant currently works with franchisees (not corporate) of companies such as McDonald’s and Outback steakhouse to reach roughly 150,000 people across the US. Once connected to the Instant mobile app, employees can ask for up to half of that day’s pay within an hour after their shift, and that money is accessible via an Instant debit card.
According to Instant Financial website, there is no fee for users to access their money via Instant Pay. There is an inactivity fee if no money is loaded or spent for 90 continuous days, and repeats monthly for the length of inactivity.
As the article points out, this shift to daily pay fits more with the millennial mindset. This is a generation raised on instant access to everything, so adding pay stubs to that makes sense. According to the people at Instant, getting a daily paycheck not only helps people avoid predatory lenders should a sudden money issue arise, but it also aids in employee satisfaction and retention.
And for Instant, there is a sizeable market in the food industry for its services. In April of this year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported
The industry with the highest percentage of workers earning hourly wages at or below the federal minimum wage was leisure and hospitality (about 13 percent). Three-fifths of all workers paid at or below the federal minimum wage were employed in this industry, almost entirely in restaurants and other food services. For many of these workers, tips may supplement the hourly wages received.
It might be easy and cliche that this is another example of millennials ruining everything, but this actually makes sense. Minimum wage is not a lot of money, especially in expensive cities such as New York, San Francisco or Seattle. For restaurant workers who don’t get cash tips to bring home at the end of the evening, getting paid within hours could literally mean getting home that night.
At the very least, Instant’s approach is an interesting one, and I’m curious to see how many restaurants sign on — or if this idea of daily pay spreads out to other industries.