Mastercard partners with financial wellness platform to provide instant wage access

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MasterCard Inc. credit and debit cards are arranged for a photograph in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014. MasterCard Inc. is expected to release earnings data on Jan. 31. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Mastercard has teamed up with a voluntary benefit company and banking institution last week to help hourly employees make ends meet by providing easy access to their wages before payday.

Minneapolis-based financial wellness benefit company, Branch, was founded as a scheduling platform for part-time jobs. Now they provide early wage access to hourly workers at no charge, budgeting tools and suggestions for shifts to pick up when bills are due. Partnering with the credit card giant, and Evolve Bank & Trust, grants Branch users easy access to their paychecks through a new debit card and account.

“We are thrilled to further extend our partnership with Evolve and Branch in order to ensure that workers can receive their hard earned pay on their terms in a means that works best for their personal financial management approach,” says Sherri Haymond, executive vice president of digital partnerships for Mastercard.

Employees at companies that provide Branch benefits are able to access half of their next paycheck through their platform banking account. The funds can be transferred to another bank, but Branch’s executives say they hope employees will take advantage of the financial wellness perks that come with their accounts, the firm said in announcing the partnership last week.

“Most traditional financial services actually make it more challenging for hourly workers to balance their finances, whether it’s expensive overdraft fees or minimum balance requirements,” says Branch CEO Atif Siddiqi. “Given their income volatility and limited access to the support they need, we want to provide hourly workers a strong start on their financial journey and offer services that help them improve their financial wellness and save.”

Branch is currently providing these financial wellness benefits to individual Taco Bell and McDonald’s franchises, in addition to Border Foods. Retail customers currently using Branch’s scheduling platform — not its financial products — include Target, Foot Locker, Lifetime Fitness and Kum & Go.

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