According to the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association, more than 179 million people are at risk of utility shut-offs.
This time of year, hourly workers who live paycheck-to-paycheck are also living with acute financial stress – which affects their cognitive functions, damages health, and compromises the capacity to cope emotionally. These employees are worried about their power, water, or gas getting shut off, making it difficult, if not impossible, to concentrate at work.
We’re living in the worst economic crisis in more than a generation. Millions of Americans are faced with financial struggles. They’re behind on their utility bills, and these debts are quickly growing into amounts that are unlikely to ever be repaid. In fact, according to an NEADA analysis, based on roughly two dozen states’ regulatory filings, electric and gas debts alone are expected to surpass $24.3 billion by the end of 2020.
“The people who were struggling before are struggling even more.” Mark Wolfe, Executive Director, NEADA
When faced with the decision between keeping a roof over your head, putting food on the table, or paying a utility company, it’s not surprising what people go with. Nearly one-third of adults nationally say they have difficulty meeting their regular household expenses, according to a recent survey by the U.S. Census Bureau.
A Washington Post report on the largest local energy companies’ records found:
“You can’t really underestimate the burden of that debt on families. It’s also going to have wider ramifications for our economy and our ability to recover from this crisis.” Khalil Shahyd, Senior Policy Advocate, Natural Resources Defense Council
In desperation, people turn to predatory payday loans and other high-interest traps, but the costs often put workers even farther behind. With interest rates in the hundreds of percentage points in APR, this “quick fix” can end up becoming a never-ending downward spiral of debt.
That’s where PayActiv comes in with Earned Wage Access. PayActiv is a holistic financial wellness platform that provides an alternative to payday loans by letting workers access earned wages which haven’t been paid yet.
Through PayActiv’s Access Choice option, you can access up to $500, or 50% of your earned wages (whichever is less) and transfer them onto any card or bank account for next day availability. For a $1 program fee, you get unlimited transfers within a 24-hour period, and you can use as many services as you want for the day. Never more than $5 in fees during a two-week pay period, or $3 if you get paid weekly. And if you need immediate money, you can always do an instant transfer for just $1.99 extra.
With the Access Freedom model, employers can direct deposit paychecks to the PayActiv Visa® Payroll Card, and the accessible amount that employees can access increases to $1000, or 50% of earned wages (whichever is less). The instant transfer fee is also waived. That’s right – Instant transfers are free.
PayActiv also includes tools to help budget and automate savings at no extra cost. Among the many free financial wellness tools is a bill pay service. When workers set up their PayActiv account, they can start using the free online bill pay service, and they don’t need to have a regular checking account to use it.
The PayActiv financial wellness benefit lets employees access their earned wages to pay bills on time every month and keep the lights on, something every hardworking individual deserves.
With a holistic set of financial tools, workers can get earned wages, improve their financial knowledge, and overcome any challenging financial situation. And when employers improve employee financial wellness, it’s a big win for everybody.