One of the most crucial processes of running a business is paying employees accurately and on time. Many employees opt to use direct deposit to receive their paychecks because of its convenience and reliability. However, there are other digital payment methods employers can use to pay their staff. With 21.6% of employers offering only electronic pay to their employees, paperless wage payment is increasingly more common.
There are many advantages to employers offering electronic payment methods, especially for underbanked or unbanked employees. In this article, we’ll discuss the different types of electronic payment methods available for employees. We’ll also provide some benefits of offering these payment types to help you decide which options are best for your employees.
What are Electronic Payment Methods?
Electronic payment methods are contactless, paperless, and cash-free ways to pay a person or a business. Electronic payment options are quick, safe, and convenient. More individuals and companies are moving away from traditional payment methods like cash and paper checks.
Types of Electronic Payment Methods
Many employers that decide to offer electronic payment methods opt for direct deposit and paycards. However, there are other options to consider for your employees. We’ll talk about the two most common types first and then provide some additional paperless payment methods to consider.
Direct deposit is the process of transferring funds into a bank account electronically. Direct deposit is by far the most popular method of electronic wage payment, with over 99% percent of employers offering this option.
Employees who are paid via direct deposit receive their wages faster than those who still receive paper checks. Employers can use electronic funds transfer (EFT) or Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfer for direct deposit.
What’s the Difference Between EFT and ACH?
EFT and ACH payments are both types of electronic payments. However, ACH is a type of EFT payment. There are pros and cons to both types of payments, so it’s vital to do your research and determine what is right for your business.
A paycard, also known as a payroll card, is a type of reloadable prepaid card that is not linked to a bank account. Employers can use paycards to load workers’ wages every payday.
Paycards have become a popular method of pay with underbanked and unbanked employees. A paycard can be used as a debit card to buy groceries, receive cash back from purchases, and make ATM withdrawals. Some cards also allow employees to pay bills with them.
Curious About Paycards?
Download our Essential Guide to Paycards so you can decide if this is the right payment option for your employees.
Earned Wage Access
Earned wage access (EWA) is a relatively new payment option. EWA provides employees with access to a portion of their accrued wages before the end of the pay cycle. Same-day access to earned wages reduces the need to live paycheck to paycheck and rely on predatory payday loans.
Earned wage access is not a loan, and the accessed funds are deducted from an employee’s pay at the end of the pay cycle. EWA gives employees the ability to cover unforeseen expenses without worrying about overdraft fees or payday loan interest.
A digital wallet, or e-wallet, is an online system that stores an individual’s payment information and passwords for various websites and payment methods. Users can store funds, make transactions, and view payment histories from their computers or mobile phones.
With younger generations entering the workforce, electronic pay is preferred and expected. In fact, about 150 million Americans have used a digital wallet at least once. Offering paperless payment via digital wallet is also an excellent option for both banked and unbanked employees.
What Are Some Benefits of Offering Electronic Payment Methods?
There are many benefits of offering electronic payment methods to employees for receiving wages. Employers can decrease time spent on payroll, reduce operational costs, pay out benefits, and prevent employee pay delays.
Decrease Time Spent on Payroll
Issuing printed checks to employees is a time-consuming process. You have to process payroll, print paychecks, pressure-seal them, and distribute them. Electronic payment methods are automated and paperless. This automation saves time on paperwork and reduces bank transaction times, enabling HR to process payroll more efficiently.
Reduce Costs of Check Processes
Standard checks not only take time to prepare and distribute but contribute to added costs for businesses. According to the Association for Finance Professionals survey, it costs an average of $3.00 to process each paper check.
This expense can add up quickly each pay period. Paperless payment methods eliminate check printing expenses, including fees for postage and reissuing lost, damaged, or stolen checks.
Pay Out Employee Benefits
Employers can distribute anything that requires cash compensation electronically, such as bonuses, mileage, and meal allowances. Another example of this process is employee tipping in the restaurant industry. Many restaurants have moved away from traditional cash tip disbursement because of the pandemic and are now using electronic tipping.
Prevent Employee Pay Delays
Employers can eliminate payday delays by distributing wages electronically. In the past, natural disasters or other events prevented workers from accessing paper checks, causing significant delays.
Paperless payment methods provide a reliable way of getting paid no matter what the circumstances. Electronic payment methods are also beneficial for paying contracted, remote or telecommuting workers on time.
Other advantages of offering paperless payment methods include:
- Removing bank service charges, payroll fraud, and headcount costs for payroll administration
- Improving productivity, as employees won’t have to spend time at the bank during business hours
- Implementing paperless payroll at little to no overhead, as many payroll software providers offer to set up this process at zero cost
Are Electronic Payment Methods Safe?
Electronic payment methods have different security measures depending on which option an employee uses:
- Direct Deposit: Since money is directly transferred into a bank account electronically, there is no risk of wages being lost or stolen.
- Paycards: Payroll cards are FDIC insured and provide many of the same security features as debit cards.
- Earned Wage Access: All personal data is encrypted during any transaction into a bank account.
- Digital Wallet: Many digital wallets utilize security protocols like two-factor authentication and one-time-use PINs to prevent information from being stolen.
Ensure Compliance With Paperless Payment Methods
It’s essential to remember that even though you are using electronic payment methods, recordkeeping is still involved in maintaining compliance. Let’s take a look at some steps to remember to avoid penalties and fines.
Provide Pay Stubs
Depending on where your business is located, you may be required to provide employees with a pay stub. This requirement applies no matter what payment method employees use.
Pay stubs provide a detailed account of wages paid to employees, including:
- Gross wages
- Taxes and deductions
- Net wages
Maintain Payroll Recordkeeping
Employers must keep accurate payroll records for at least three years, regardless of payment methods offered to employees. Information should include, but is not limited to:
- Employee’s full name and social security number
- Regular hourly pay rate
- Total wages paid each pay period
Know Your State Laws
If you decide to implement paperless payroll for your employees, make sure you offer more than one method of wage payment. For example, if you choose to provide direct deposit and paycards, federal law prohibits employers from mandating employees to receive wages via a paycard only.
Furthermore, any paid employee wages are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). It’s also essential to check your state’s legislation to ensure your company is compliant.
Do You Know Your State’s Wage Payment Law?
Find out if your state allows employers to mandate electronic receipt of wages.
How APS Can Help
APS’ paperless employee payroll software helps businesses achieve a paperless payroll process. You can eliminate manual payroll processes, automate your employee time tracking, and provide paperless forms of payment methods. Our paperless payroll software can also increase your efficiency in the following ways:
- Our document management tool stores essential payroll reports in the cloud, so they are always readily available.
- Employees have 24/7 access to their pay stub history with our employee self-service app.
- Analyze and audit differences between payrolls quickly with our online payroll comparisons.
Taking these steps towards a paperless payroll process will reduce operational costs and improve employee satisfaction.
Gain a Competitive Advantage with Electronic Payment Methods
Electronic payment methods are an increasingly popular alternative to paper checks because they are flexible, secure, and convenient. Employers can gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace by offering paperless wage payment options to their employees. You can attract and retain higher quality workers with on-time and guaranteed pay.
Electronic payment methods like paycards and digital wallets are beneficial for employees with and without access to a bank account. Having digital and instant access to wages is crucial, especially when emergencies arise. Furthermore, many digital payment apps offer money management tools that allow employees to control their finances better. When your employees are more financially stable and secure, they are much easier to retain.
By offering a variety of electronic payment methods, you’ll be able to help your business transition to an entirely paperless system. A paperless process provides a cost-saving solution to check printing and shipping. It also reduces the time spent processing payroll. For employers, the benefits of offering paperless payment options outweigh the disadvantages. With APS, we can help make your paperless payroll implementation process easy and hassle-free.
For more information, schedule a demo with us to see how paperless payment methods can make HR and payroll easier for your team.
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