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Tools that support employee financial wellbeing: Wagestream’s product principles

See Wagestream's product principles that ensure we live up to our mission of making money simple.

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Three years ago, Wagestream set out to solve the problem of locked pay cycles, which hold employees back from covering costs when and as they need. We know that 70% of workers are stressed about money and half of those individuals are stressed because they fall short on expenses between pay periods. 

“It’s known that extended locked pay cycles – a newer concept than many realise – lead to irregular spending patterns and liquidity problems for workers,” says Carl Packman of Fair by Design. “This compounds an underlying access to affordable credit, experienced by much of the working population.”

Our social charter holds us accountable to improving the financial lives of employees and prohibits us from offering unfair financial products that do not measurably contribute to their financial wellbeing:

“The company’s objectives is to advance for the public benefit technology solutions that help workers including those on low-incomes to escape cycles of debt and build towards financial wellbeing (‘social purpose’) and as a secondary object, secure a reasonable return to its shareholders while having regard for the need to achieve its social purpose” 


We’re seeing the positive impacts of flexible pay

While EY estimates $1tn of accrued pay is locked in employers’ treasures across the OECD, employees are left waiting to be paid, which can lead to many having to rely on credit to plug the gaps. But flexible access to earned wages, through Wagestream’s responsible financial wellbeing app, is making a positive difference.

Our latest impact assessment has found:

  • Stress reduced for 77% of workers who have access to flexible pay
  • Financial resilience improved, with 72% feeling more in control of their money
  • 12 months after their first withdrawal, individuals make fewer transfers each month


A product suite that supports the financial wellbeing journey

While being able to meet expenses and have some money left over is one key pillar of financial wellbeing, it’s only the start of the financial wellbeing journey

Financial wellbeing is also about being and feeling in control of money and feeling financially secure, not only in the short-term but under adverse circumstances and in the future. 

To keep us accountable, we build, pilot and launch products based on the following principles. These are behaviourally-informed, with a focus on making financial fitness feel easy and attractive – to ultimately help employees feel empowered to take proactive and positive steps as they manage their money.


Principle 1: We keep things simple

We strive to make what’s happening with an individual’s earnings clear at a glance, so there’s no need for complicated mental maths. This means:

  • We don’t overwhelm users with too many numbers or calculations
  • We write in plain English and to a reading grade of 8
  • We use clear information hierarchies to highlight what matters most.


Principle 2: We are transparent and fair

We strive to be transparent about our fees and charges and aim to price products fairly and affordably. This means:

  • We review transactions against income levels to make sure our pricing is fair and affordable
  • We clearly display the cost of fees and how fees add up for our users.


Principle 3: We are impact-led

We create products for the needs we’re uniquely positioned to meet through connecting with payroll, such as payroll savings and financial guidance based on individual financial health scores. This means:

  • We dedicate time to current research, are experts in our fields and measure our success
  • We consider potential detriment as we develop our products and consider how to mitigate this
  • We use publicly-available data, user research and feedback to solve problems through our app


Principle 4: We make money feel good

We strive to offer encouragement, and positive feedback for users to help transform their personal ideas and beliefs around finance and make engaging with money feel good. This means:

  • We celebrate an individual’s success, no matter how small
  • We make it easy for users to see positive changes in their financial lives


Principle 5: We make financial fitness feel achievable

We strive to make it easy for users to see, access and use their money how best works for them. We’re not paternalistic or judgemental about how anyone manages their money. This means:

  • We give users controls that allow them to choose how and when they access their earned wages
  • We make it easy for users to understand their financial fitness and take steps to improve
  • We support a positive relationship with money and strive to help people to feel comfortable talking about their true financial position. 


Principle 6: We offer contextual help and support

We strive to build contextual help, support and messages that offer the right help and the right time. This means:

  • We consider the circumstances a user might be in and what resources are most appropriate
  • We’re sensitive about how support is offered so it’s delivered in a way that will be well-received
  • We make it easy to get help, support and 1:1 money coaching.


Check out our product impact framework for more information.

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