Imagine you have an electric bill due Wednesday, but you don’t get paid until Friday. Then you got a flat tire. You need to fix the car to make it to work for the rest of the week, and you also still need to buy groceries.
That bill payment will have to wait, which means you could end up with a penalty, a ding against your credit score, or even with your lights shut off. You could get a payday loan—a cash advance that comes with a high-interest rate and fees—but what if you could simply access the money you’ve earned, outside of that two-week-pay-period dynamic?
That’s the hope of Immediate, a financial health startup meant to benefit hourly wage workers. Immediate partners with a company to work alongside their payroll systems. The ImmediatePay software platform integrates with a company’s time-tracking system to validate how much an employee has earned in a week, and then gives the worker access to that earned money before their next paycheck. Immediate will fund their account with the desired amount, and then a corresponding deduction will be taken out of the employee’s next paycheck.
Millions of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and Immediate cofounder Matt Pierce says these workers, when faced with an immediate need for money, often turn to one of three options: credit cards, racking up debt; bad checks; or payday loans. Immediate does charge an early access fee, so it’s not a completely free way to get your money early. Pierce likens the Immediate fee to an ATM fee and says it’s never more than $3, and after a certain amount of usage, employees can get free transactions.
After first launching last summer, Immediate now has 10,000 users.