NBPCA Teams with Consumer Action for Payroll Guides to Educate, Ensure Compliance (Feb. 20, 2014)
With a growing number of U.S. employers offering their employees the option of payroll cards, the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association (NBPCA) has joined with consumer advocacy group Consumer Action to develop a pair of guides to help companies and employees learn about payroll cards, including how they work, options for accessing wages and how to avoid or limit fees. The publications—“An Employer’s Guide to Payroll Cards” and “An Employee’s Guide to Payroll Cards”—were produced with the input of leading payroll card providers ADP, Commerce Bank and First Data, along with MasterCard and Visa.
Spurred largely by cost saving for employers and convenience for underbanked employees, adoption of payroll cards has flourished in recent years. A 2013 Aite Group report projected total U.S. payroll card loads to grow from $34.1 billion in 2012 to $68.9 billion in 2017. While regulatory guidelines are in place to ensure employees aren’t mandated or pressured to use payroll cards, and that the cards provide free “to-the-penny” access to wages, payroll cards have come under scrutiny from a number of lawmakers and been the subject of negative portrayals in the media. Many industry observers say those depictions do not paint an accurate picture of payroll cards as a whole, and that most employers are compliant with existing payroll card regulations.
“We thought it was important to minimize the noise out there, and the broad brushstrokes labelling payroll cards as bad,” says Mark Putman, senior vice president, prepaid solutions, First Data. “We want to get the message out that it’s a very good product,” he tells Paybefore. Putman characterized the employer-focused guide as a tool for companies to ensure their programs are in compliance with laws and worker-friendly, while the employee guide outlines different types of payroll cards and gives tips on avoiding costs.
Kirsten Trusko, NBPCA president and executive director, said the input of Consumer Action was important to ensure that the interests of workers were incorporated into the guides. “Consumer Action has 1,200 locations where they educate consumers directly, as well as using their own partners to broaden the message,” Trusko tells Paybefore. “We are particularly excited about this partnership and the opportunity to educate both employers and employees on how to best choose and use payroll cards.”