Branch, the only challenger bank that partners with employers to help working Americans grow financially, today announced that it has been selected as winner of the “Personal Finance Innovation Award” in the fourth annual FinTech Breakthrough Awards program conducted by FinTech Breakthrough, an independent market intelligence organization that recognizes the top companies, technologies and products in the global FinTech market today.
In partnership with Mastercard and Evolve Bank & Trust (“Evolve”), Branch recently introduced a free, digital checking account and debit card for hourly workers to increase their financial stability. With the new Branch Mastercard debit card and account, Branch is the first earned wage access technology to offer instant paycheck advances at no cost. Branch debit card holders can instantly access a portion of their earned wages ahead of their paycheck for free and users will also have the ability to deposit and receive their funds without any fees or minimum balance requirements.
These additions build on the application’s other features that help hourly workers address their financial challenges including budgeting tools and the ability to boost earnings by picking-up shifts. Branch has already seen meaningful results including a 20% reduction in overdraft fees.
“Filling the gap for low-income working Americans that are underserved, Branch is a powerful mobile-first technology that helps employees grow financially by providing transparent and equitable financial services,” said James Johnson, Managing Director, FinTech Breakthrough. “We are extremely pleased to see the FinTech industry address individuals at all wealth levels, and Branch is leading the way. We are thrilled to award them with our ‘Personal Finance Innovation Award’ in the 2020 FinTech Breakthrough Awards program.”
The FinTech Breakthrough Awards is the premier awards program founded to recognize the FinTech innovators, leaders and visionaries from around the world in a range of categories, including Banking, Personal Finance, Lending, Payments, Investments, RegTech, InsurTech and many more. The 2020 FinTech Breakthrough Award program attracted more than 3,750 nominations from across the globe.
“Once an hourly employee joins the workforce, their employer is their first entry into the financial system, but the unfortunate truth is that most traditional financial services actually make it more challenging for hourly workers to balance their finances,” said Atif Siddiqi, CEO, Branch. “Whether it’s expensive overdraft fees or minimum balance requirements, hourly employees typically experience income volatility and limited access to the support they need. We are proud to offer a compelling solution to provide these workers with a strong start on their financial journey and offer services that help them improve their financial wellness and save.”
Branch initially began providing hourly workers technology to pick-up more shifts and communicate with one another all through their phones. The application also benefited employers, allowing them a way to optimize staffing levels and decrease overtime and administrative costs. In its close work with employers and hourly workers, the Branch team realized how much financial health was intertwined with work satisfaction and productivity.
Learning that about 80 percent of hourly workers experiencing some sort of weekly pay variance, the company expanded its scheduling and communication tools to include financial wellness offerings that could decrease the fluctuations in hourly employee finances and help users find greater financial stability. Especially with the cost of living outpacing wages and so many living paycheck to paycheck, users embraced the feature to afford basic expenses such as groceries and gas to get to work.