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Beyond Paycards: Financial Inclusion through Branch

December 15, 2021
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Greenshades and Branch: Employee Empowerment

Earlier this fall, we announced the Greenshades and Branch partnership with Branch, a workforce payments platform that empowers workers (read the press release here). This announcement is our first major step in promoting greater financial inclusion and employee empowerment. Through Branch, Greenshades offers employees fee-free debit cards, checking accounts, and digital wallets. In addition, the Branch Wallet and Card offers employees a faster and more convenient direct deposit option to receive their pay. More than a paper check or paycard alternative, Branch includes built-in financial wellness tools as well as access to Apple Pay and Google Pay on day 1. Greenshades believes in the empowerment of employees through financial inclusion as part of our mission. That is why we believe that our joint offering with Branch is so compelling and delivers tangible benefits to employees.

More than a Paycard

Built with employees in mind, Branch offers a full-fledged checking account rather than just a traditional paycard. Traditional paycards do not truly empower workers or create financial inclusion. Most paycards are positioned as an alternative to paper checks, enabling employees to get paid faster via direct deposit. However, these cards typically charge significant, often hidden fees and do not run as DDA bank accounts and means they may not be FDIC insured. In addition, traditional paycards often do not work with modern payment platforms such as Apple Pay, Venmo, or Google Pay; more importantly, they do not allow the employees to gain access to credit or start building a credit history. The Branch card provides all these benefits and more.

Employee-centric experience

Beyond offering a non-discriminatory, fee-free checking account, the employee experience is crucial. Since we already know the employee and have validated their personal information, we can share this information with Branch through a secure API call with their consent. In a matter of seconds, the due diligence (KYC) and enrollment process are complete. The employee then opens a bank account, enables a digital wallet on their mobile device, and updates their direct deposit information to send their wages to the new account. Fast and free upstart provides an important opportunity for employees.

Save Time and Money

Consider this: most of the employees using Branch are hourly workers who need to take time out of their day, gather their documentation, visit a bank, hope that the bank approves their application to open a bank account, get a plastic debit card, and then figure out how to update their direct deposit information so they can get paid. Depending on transportation time, this errand could take a precious 4 hours out of their workday, for which they would not be getting paid! And even then, they may not get approved—and if they do, they might end up with a bank account that requires minimum balances and charges hefty fees, which can be a burden for the employee.We have replaced this process with a few clicks, sparing the employee from having to enter their direct deposit information manually. This step usually results in errors/typos that delay pay for the employee during pay cycles and cause additional steps for payroll. Additionally, this process is optimized for a mobile experience, which is already familiar and accessible to most workers.

No Fees, Less burden

This offering constitutes a no-fee, burden-free alternative to costly, manually-printed-and-delivered checks for HR and payroll administrators. Our solution does not require them to do any setup or administrative work‚ there are no plastic cards to order or hand out. The Branch account replaces paper checks and helps HR departments effortlessly tackle scenarios like distributing tips (common in the restaurant industry) and handling termination pay (particularly sensitive in California). As we continue to evolve our employee offerings, we will leverage our partnership with Branch to provide compelling benefits that help employees get ahead financially. Learn more about the new product and offering with Branch here.

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