How Does the Prepaid Payroll Card Solution Work?

This guest post is by Niklus Vetter, who has been Sales Manager at TSYS smartOne Prepaid Solutions and has been in the payment industry for 6 years, and focused on the prepaid pay card industry for 3 years. smartOne Prepaid Solutions has offered prepaid products since 1997, and created a business unit focused on this product in January 2004. TSYS, now the owner of smartOne Prepaid Solutions as of 2011 has been processing prepaid applications for over 10 years in 17 different countries with 90 million accounts globally.

Red Wing Software is proud to offer payroll customers the ability to pay employees with debit cards, thanks to a partnership with TSYS Merchant Solutions?.Red Wing Software payroll customers, who are using direct deposit, can now pay their employees without bank accounts electronically with a smartOne Pay Card®. Red Wing Software customers have been happy with the service, and we caught up with Niklus from TSYS Merchant Solutions to learn more about how the system works. Here are my questions, along with answers from Niklus about the smartOne Pay Card® solution.

  1. Paying employees with debit cards is becoming more and more popular. How does payment via debit card work?

    Even with the invention of direct deposit, there has been a gap for employers to be able to pay all employees electronically. Some employees do not have bank accounts or do not wish to have their pay checks direct deposited into their bank accounts, resulting in employers continuing to pay their under banked group of employees with the more manual, costly, and time-consuming paper checks. The pay card closes this gap acting as the receiver of the electronic direct deposit, so regardless of whether an employee has a bank account or whether he or she wants to use his or her bank account to receive their pay, anyone can receive pay electronically with a pay card.

  2. Why would an employee want to be paid by pay card, instead of simply a pay check or direct deposit?

    If someone has direct deposit, they will more than likely not wish to change to a pay card. They are already receiving their pay electronically. Pay cards are an alternative to paper checks, with great advantages over the traditional paycheck for both the employer and employee. I have an example of these advantages that most people can relate to in one way or another. Years ago before joining smartOne and before the pay card was available, I worked a job in college but since I did not have a bank account, I did not have direct deposit for my paycheck. There were times I was not be able to get anywhere to cash my check on pay day (maybe my shift wouldn't end until after the banks closed), so if I needed money that evening - too bad. I just had a piece of paper in my pocket (my paycheck) that didn't do anything for me, until I took it somewhere to turn into cash. Usually I would have to wait until the next day and would go to a check-casher, pay a percentage of my total check, and get my remaining pay-day money all in cash. When I was finally able to cash the check, I was carrying around my entire pay in cash, which made it easy to lose or even get stolen. And because it was cash, I couldn't buy anything online or over the phone without purchasing and sending in a money order. The pay card would have solved all of this. I would not have even had to do anything on pay day. My pay check would have been loaded to my pay card that morning and I could have used pay card to make purchases anywhere accepting cards. I would have saved the 3 - 4% of my paycheck that I paid to the check-casher with each pay period. I could also have made a withdrawal from an ATM or at an accepting bank for free during business hours if I did need cash, regardless of having an account there. And, with a pay card, I could have replaced the card and protected my money if lost or stolen. I could have also paid for things online or over the phone without the hassle of a purchasing and mailing in a money order.

  3. I know some employers worry about lost or stolen pay cards. What features are in place to protect against that?

    First of all, the pay card tends to be more of a fixture in the wallet than a paper check, so losses of a prepaid card are statistically a lot less frequent than the loss of a paycheck. If the card is lost, the cardholder calls our 24 hour customer service and reports it as lost or stolen for a replacement. The employee works directly with our customer service to resolve the issue. A new card is issued to the employee and all back-end information (account and routing numbers) stays the same. The employer does not have to deal with the hassle of cancelling payment to a check and reissuing a paycheck to its employee, or even need know of the problem. Also, the zero liability policies for the card companies apply to prepaid cards, resulting in peace of mind for both the employer and employee if a card is lost or stolen.

  4. What else should employers know about paying employees with pay cards?

    Various states have different rules on employers mandating electronic pay, but whether you mandate electronic payment or offer both electronic and paper check payment options, pay cards are a great alternative for electronic payment. An employer should check on their state’s position on electronic payment. Also, if implementing a pay card program, employees can sometimes be resistant to the initial change, but the satisfaction rate once a pay card program is in place is very high. We have developed best practices for rolling out such programs that will reduce this resistance, and I would be more than happy to help walk any employer looking to implement a smartOne pay card program for their company and employees through the process.

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