From contactless transactions to faster payments, the pandemic has accelerated a number of major trends and transformed countless industries. A burgeoning industry on that list: the gig economy. Gig growth has set new expectations and increased job competition, making it increasingly important to understand what workers look for in a platform and what payment methods they desire. Thanks to the gig economy, more employees than ever hold the belief that if they can set their own work schedule, they should have the option to schedule when they get paid, too.
That’s why we’ve teamed up with our partner Marqeta to publish the Branch x Marqeta Gig Payments Report — a look at payments and platform preferences of today’s gig workers. The report surveys over 1,000 gig workers across various platforms and fields. We dive into how the pandemic has impacted their preference for gig work, what they look for in a platform, how and when they preferred to get paid, and top financial concerns, among a range of other topics. Findings include:
- Cash Flow Concerns Drive Gig Pick-ups: The pandemic and cash flow concerns spurred 85% of gig workers to pick up additional work. Nearly 80 percent had less than $500 saved for an emergency and more than 40 percent of gig workers would not be able to access another source of funds outside of their primary bank account.
- Faster Pay = Top Incentive and Peace of Mind: Nearly 90 percent of workers were more likely to choose one gig platform over another if they could pay them instantly without fees, and even more associated faster pay with greater financial peace of mind (94%).
- Flexibility is Key: Approximately 4-in-5 (82%) wanted greater flexibility in when they were paid for work, with most only turning to one or two platforms to supplement their income (73%), as the majority held a full-time job.
- Digital Wallets > Credit Cards: Workers were also 5x more likely to prefer online/mobile app payments or digital wallets over a physical credit card.
“Given the significant loss in hours available at many jobs throughout the pandemic, many employees have turned to gig and contract work to quickly boost their income,” said Branch CEO Atif Siddiqi. “But competition among platforms will only increase as the gig economy and independent contract work continue to grow and reopenings widen. Workers already limit the number of platforms they use, so ones that can offer faster, flexible payouts at no cost will gain the greatest competitive edge.”
“This survey shows how the new experiences powered by modern card issuing are directly empowering better financial outcomes for those that need it the most,” said Vidya Peters, Marqeta CMO. “When looking to gig work, people want to maximize their cash flow. The idea of being able to access your earnings immediately, and without fees, is hugely motivating. We can see that not only are these demands creating a new relationship with our money, they’re bringing greater peace of mind and financial security for those that need it the most.”