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group of people seen from above forming a dollar sign (Photo: Shutterstock)

America is in a savings crisis, with 36% of households being unable to handle a $400 emergency from savings. A Commonwealth analysis of the Federal Reserve Report on the Economic Well Being of Households indicates that the problem is worse for lower-income households making under $60,000, where 58% of people do not have $400 in savings. Within that income bracket, Black (71%), Latinx (69%) and female (61%) employees who are unable to manage that sized emergency indicate that a lack of emergency savings is in fact an issue of equity.

Payroll cards – reloadable debit cards that can be used to withdraw money or make purchases, and eliminate the need for a traditional bank account to get paid – are often the solution of choice for those employees who do not have a traditional bank or credit union account. Payroll card users tend to be younger, lower-income and more likely to be from communities of color, relative to the population of working Americans. In a recent survey by Commonwealth and ADP, low- and moderate-income (LMI) workers said they want and need high-quality emergency savings solutions. And yet, employers surveyed were not aware of the emergency savings features of payroll cards, and did not view them as an employee benefit.

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