Earned Wage Access

Recent studies have found that almost one in five households report that their expenses regularly exceed their income,1 and over two in five report worrying about and having difficulty paying their bills.2 Nearly 80% of workers live paycheck to paycheck.3 An essential problem common to all workers is that expenses do not align with paydays, which drives people to high-cost payday loans.

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Today, earned wage access (EWA) programs have moved from the early adoption phase to become a more established business practice and part of the benefits package offered to employees. When EWA programs are used effectively, employees can gain greater financial security. These programs can help employees with the misalignment of expenses between paydays but are not a complete solution to employees’ financial problems.

The American Payroll Association (APA) set out to understand the advantages and disadvantages of EWA technology and potential impacts on payroll management. The Understanding Earned Wage Access and Payroll report contains everything you need to know about employer-integrated earned wage access. This EWA report helps to breakdown the information for payroll professionals and government decision-makers.

Key topics include:

  • A step-by-step guide to selecting an EWA provider
  • The legal and regulatory framework for EWA


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1 U.S. Financial Health Pulse: 2019 Trends Report, Financial Health Network (2019); Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2019, Featuring Supplemental Data from April 2020, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (May 2020); The State of U.S. Financial Capability: The 2018 National Financial Capability Study, FINRA Investor Education Foundation (June 2019).

2 “Most Americans Say the Current Economy Is Helping the Rich, Hurting the Poor and Middle Class,” Pew Research Center (Dec. 11, 2019).

3 “Living Paycheck to Paycheck is a Way of Life for Majority of U.S. Workers,” CareerBuilder (Aug. 24, 2017).