Payroll Cards Come of Age

Everyone has a “mobile technology” these days.  Or so it seems to marketers and Americans under the age of 25.

This fact may doom the paper check industry.  Employers have long used paper as a payment medium, as an audit trail and for employee communications, such as “W2s will be out next week.”

Payroll cards, or employer-issued debit cards, are challenging the paper check habits of many employers.  Debit payments can be instantaneous, and can’t be lost in the wash.  An internet genie will flash the amount of money left on account at any time and any place.  No need to wait for the cashier to inform you–and the entire line behind you–that your purchase is being declined for insufficient funds.  You can look up your balance on your mobile appendage BEFORE you take your place in the check out line.  And you can extract cash at multitudinous cash dispensers.

ABLE has offered free payroll cards to any employee who does not choose direct deposit to his or her bank account.  Our cards are associated with a free account used strictly for our payments and for the employees’ withdrawals.  We email an electronic pay stub to all of our employees just before sending their payments through the Clearing House to their accounts.

Payroll cards are not without their detractors.   Certain automated teller machines may charge fees for cash withdrawals and for balance inquiries.  The payroll industry giants have issued a cautious endorsement of this burgeoning industry,  American Payroll Association, National Consumer Law Center Agree Payroll Cards Make Sense for Unbanked If Proper Guidelines Followed.

The “guidelines” make sense.  Employees should not have to pay a fee for their pay, nor for their balances.  They should be able to access their money in convenient locations.  They must be able to switch to a direct deposit account when they want to.   ABLE is in full agreement with these guidelines.


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