Empowering the Salaried Workforce with Earned Wage Access
In Pakistan, the salaried workforce faces several significant financial challenges. Despite being an integral part of the nation’s economy, over half of the population earns less than or equal to 76,900 PKR per month (EY, 2022), struggling daily with the challenge of finding the balance between limited wages and the ever-rising living costs. Compounding this struggle is the stark reality of financial exclusion. In a country that stands as the world’s fifth most populous, only 2 million people have access to financial credit and 53% of the adult population is unbanked (EY, 2022). A significant factor contributing to the high number of unbanked individuals in Pakistan is a widespread lack of knowledge about financial products and how to use them.
In a typical conventional pay cycle, salaries are usually disbursed monthly. A research conducted by EY reveals that however with advanced systems in place at some companies, processing an advance usually takes at least three days in 57% of the companies. A significant portion of the population relies on each paycheck to meet daily expenses. Delays or rigid pay cycles can lead to financial distress, often pushing workers towards informal lending practices with high-interest rates. Consequently, many individuals find themselves in a bind, unable to meet these expenses as they await their next paycheck. This situation leaves them with few alternatives, often leading them to resort to informal lending to bridge the gap.
In recent years, Pakistan’s financial sector has witnessed a transformative trend – the rise of Earned Wage Access (EWA). This innovative service allows employees to access a portion of their earned wages before the traditional payday, offering a lifeline in a country where cash flow challenges are common among the salaried class primarily. The impact of EWA on financial well-being is profound. Providing timely access to wages empowers employees to manage unforeseen expenses. It does not only alleviate immediate financial stress but also fosters a sense of financial independence and security. For employers, the advantages are equally compelling. Offering EWA can be a strategic tool for attracting and retaining talent. It’s also linked to improved employee morale and productivity as financially secure employees tend to be more engaged and focused on work.
The concept of EWA is relatively new in Pakistan and it’s creating awareness through fintech platforms like ABHI. ABHI is a fintech company at the forefront of the embedded finance revolution providing a comprehensive suite of solutions including Earned Wage Access, Payroll solutions, and SME Financing. With AbhiSalary – an Earned Wage Access solution, employees get the flexibility to withdraw their hard-earned salary, making every day a payday. It enables employees to regularly meet their financial obligations by allowing them to access their earned salary through the ABHI mobile app, SMS, and WhatsApp within 30 seconds, anytime, anywhere.
EY. (2022). Earned Wage Access Market in Pakistan.