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”.
If you’re an employee and your employer works with Wagestream, you can be “paid as you earn”. Wagestream allows you to withdraw earned wages when you need the money, in return for a flat fee that’s among the cheapest available on 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 makes employees more productive because it improves their financial wellbeing.
Wagestream also offers a help-to-save option – part of an employee’s salary is put aside automatically, making it easier to save and taking away the temptation to spend the money meant for a rainy day.
However, it doesn’t do employee loans. These are loans in which the repayments are automatically taken from the employee’s salary. Unlike salary advance, employee loans have an interest rate (that should still be lower than with a traditional loan) but they also let employees borrow more. Many of Wagestream’s competitors offer this option.
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 it. Once you’ve made the request, the money will be instantly transferred to you and you’ll be charged a flat £1.75 fee for each “stream” when you receive your remaining pay. You’ll also be able to access tips and articles on financial wellness that Wagestream has created with the Money Advice Service.
- For employers. Wagestream says that setting up the service typically takes 7–10 working days and that it’ll provide training to all your staff who need it. It costs between £1 and £2 per employee per month (depending on how big the company is) and it won’t affect your cash flow because Wagestream will be covering 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.
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
- 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
Our verdict: Is Wagestream any good?
Given the alternative for many employees 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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