A startup founded in 2018, Wagestream is putting up a tough fight against payday loans by offering cheap and easy-to-set-up salary “streaming”.
What is Wagestream?
If you’re an employee and your employer works with Wagestream, you can be “paid as you earn”. With Wagestream, you can access your earned wages whenever you need them in exchange for a fixed fee of £1.75 per transfer, making it one of the most cost-effective choices in the market.
In practice, this means that if your washing machine suddenly breaks and you need to replace it ASAP, you don’t need to take out a loan that could potentially cost you a fortune in interest. And since it isn’t a loan, you’re not technically going into debt, and it doesn’t impact your credit score – your credit report isn’t even checked.
If you’re an employer, you get to offer a nice perk to your employees in return for a reasonable price and not too much effort. Wagestream says its service boosts financial well-being and productivity, contributing to employee satisfaction and performance.
Wagestream also offers a “rainy day pot” where part of an employee’s salary is put aside automatically, making it easier to save and taking away the temptation to spend the money saved for emergencies.
However, it doesn’t loan out money to employees. Many of Wagestream’s competitors offer loans as an option where repayments are automatically taken from the employee’s salary. These employee loans have an interest but are typically lower than traditional loans.
How does it work?
It’s fairly simple – enough to make you wish you’d thought of it:
- For employees. Once you’ve registered with the service, you can download the app and see how much you’ve earned so far for the month. If you need to, you can withdraw up to 50% of your monthly earnings. Once you’ve made the request, the money is instantly transferred to you, and you’re charged a flat £1.75 fee for each “stream” when you receive your remaining pay. You can also access tips and articles on financial wellness that Wagestream has created with the MoneyHelper (formerly the Money Advice Service).
- For employers. Wagestream says that setting up the service typically takes 7–10 working days and it provides training to all your staff who need it. There are 3 plans you can opt for with Wagestream, with pricing between £1.50 and £5 per employee. It won’t affect your cash flow because Wagestream will cover the payments from the moment they’re taken out and payday. Your company’s credit score will be checked (Wagestream says that this is “for compliance reasons”), but the service is interest-free.
- Costs £1.50 per enrolled employee per month
- Income visibility
- Flexible pay
- Build pots
- Financial education
- International transfers
- Costs £3 per enrolled employee per month
- Includes everything in the entry plan
- Pre-funded account
- Live financial coaches
- Supermarket discounts
- Costs £5 per enrolled employee per month
- Includes everything in the entry and standard plans
- No transaction fees
- Premium discounts
Pros and cons
- One of the cheapest salary advance options available for employees
- It helps you avoid an expensive payday loan
- You’re not going into debt, and it doesn’t impact your credit score
- It doesn’t matter if you have bad credit
- No impact on the company’s cash flow
- Also provides financial education resources and a help-to-save option
- Up to 6% discount at leading supermarkets
- Up to 30% discount at leading retailers
- You can only take out relatively small amounts as Wagestream only does earned wage payments and not employee loans
- You may be tempted to overspend during the month
- Employers need to spend more per month for employee discounts and other perks
Our verdict: Is Wagestream any good?
Given the alternative could be an expensive payday loan, this seems like a neat solution for people to access what they’ve earned when they need to (for a small fee each time). Because of the limit on the amount employees can withdraw, it may not work for big-ticket emergencies, but it is likely to save some users from interest payments and debt.
Frequently asked questions
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