A paycard (or payroll card) is an alternative to a traditional bank account or paper check that allows an un- or underbanked employee to be paid electronically via direct deposit.


25.2% of the US workforce is un- and underbanked. The FDIC defines an unbanked household as one in which “no one in the household has a checking or savings account,” while an underbanked household is one that may have a bank account, but also uses alternative financial services like money orders, check cashing, payday loans, rent-to-own services, and other subprime products. Use of these services can indicate that, while the household may have a bank account, they are not using it.

By implementing the Fintwist® Paycard program, employers offer their un- and underbanked employees easier (and cheaper!) access to their hard-earned money. The American Payroll Association states that paycards are “80% less expensive than check cashing services.”

How does a paycard work for the employer?

Employers can simplify payday (and say goodbye to the cost of paper checks!) by providing paycards as an option to un- or underbanked employees. Fintwist® Paycards work like any direct deposit – all the employer has to do is distribute the cards and update payroll by entering in each paycard’s routing & account number. The only difference is, when a new employee starts, or a current employee loses their card, Fintwist® supplies employers with an inventory of temporary cards or a personalized card can be ordered. We recommend ordering personalized cards, as these cards arrive with the employee’s name embossed.

Benefits of paycards for employers:

  • Save money by implementing our free paycard program, which allows companies to avoid check printing and shipping costs
  • Spend less time on payroll by eliminating paper checks and other traditional payroll woes like escheatment
  • Save the planet – Fintwist® will plant a grove of trees in each company’s honor who switches to 100% direct deposit
  • Protection from check fraud

DID YOU KNOW: Some states allow employers to authorize full deployment of direct deposit. See what your state’s paycard compliance laws are!

How does a paycard work for the employee?

A paycard works just like any other card! Cardholders can swipe their paycard as either debit or credit at no cost, but we recommended swiping as credit. When swiping as credit, Fintwist® cardholders are protected by Mastercard’s Zero Liability Policy and Mastercard Fraud Protection. Though employers implement the Fintwist® Paycard program, the card belongs to the employee (or cardholder) once they activate their card. This means that employees can take their card with them to their second job, or to their next job, regardless of whether they still work for the original employer. Additionally, cardholders can have government benefits or tax refunds deposited onto their paycard by using the routing and account number.

 Benefits of a paycard for an employee:

  • Save money by avoiding check-cashing fees and money orders 
  • Save time by cutting out standing in line at a check-cashing store and paying bills in person
  • Benefit from direct deposit without the risk of overdraft fees or monthly account maintenance fees that unbanked employees may associate with traditional bank accounts
  • Access to modern conveniences like Netflix, Lyft, Venmo, online shopping and bill pay and online travel planning such as renting a car or buying a plane ticket
  • Have government benefits or tax refunds direct deposited for quicker access than a paper check
  • Manage money when it’s convenient – our mobile app, website and 24/7 phone support allow cardholders to manage their finances on their own time!
  • Safer and more secure than cash

DID YOU KNOW: Unbanked employees spend $750 per year to access their money 😱


Contact PeopleSense to learn more about the Fintwist® Mastercard paycard and how it can help improve your payroll process.




This blog originally appeared on the Fintwist® blog at https://fintwistsolutions.com/news-and-events/what-is-a-paycard