A ben­e­fit that helps em­ploy­ees save money? There’s an app for that

Employee Benefit News - - CONTENTS - BY AMANDA EISEN­BERG

Six in 10 Amer­i­cans have less than $500 in their sav­ings ac­count. Shuttle’s new Sav­ings As­sis­tance aims to fix that.

NEARLY SIX in 10 Amer­i­cans have less than $500 in their sav­ings ac­count to pay for an un­ex­pected ex­pense, ac­cord­ing to Bankrate. It was that dire statis­tic that prompted Brendon McQueen, co-founder and CEO of fi­nan­cial ser­vices com­pany Shuttle Fi­nance, to cre­ate an app-based em­ployee ben­e­fit that helps em­ploy­ees save.

“We thought that [statis­tic] was re­ally scary,” McQueen says. “The fi­nan­cial wellness prod­ucts out there weren’t lever­ag­ing tech­nol­ogy that could cre­ate a con­sis­tent, pos­i­tive out­come. Most fi­nan­cial wellness of­fer­ings are kind of ed­u­ca­tion-based. How do we let peo­ple save and not think about it?”

Called the Sav­ings As­sis­tance app, it will be avail­able for both iOS and An­droid this fall. It al­lows em­ploy­ers to con­trib­ute to em­ploy­ees’ fi­nan­cial goals along­side with them by au­tomat­ing three ways em­ploy­ees can save money each month.

Sav­ings As­sis­tance uses round-up tech­nol­ogy, which tracks trans­ac­tions and rounds up to the near­est dol­lar, to save spare change. The app also al­lows em­ploy­ees to set up a re­cur­ring de­posit of $25 to $100 a month and en­ables em­ploy­ers to con­trib­ute to em­ploy­ees’ ac­counts. While the av­er­age con­tri­bu­tion is $50 a month, McQueen says em­ploy­ers do not need to con­trib­ute.

When em­ploy­ees save money with the app, it sits in an FDIC-in­sured sav­ings ac­count that is di­rectly linked to par­tic­i­pants’ per­sonal check­ing ac­counts, McQueen says. There are no fees or trans­ac­tion lim­its, he adds.

There is, how­ever, a cost to the em­ploy­ers to of­fer the B2B en­ter­prise app — which is not avail­able for con­sumers to down­load with­out their em­ployer spon­sor­ing it.

The app costs be­tween $2.99 and $4.99 per em­ployee per month, but em­ploy­ers who pay the fee up­front will re­ceive a 20% dis­count; em­ploy­ers with 50,000 em­ploy­ees or more will also re­ceive a lower rate. There is no white-la­bel op­tion. Shuttle’s ex­ist­ing data clients will be the first to use the app when it rolls out in Oc­to­ber. The tech­nol­ogy will be avail­able for other em­ploy­ers by early 2018.

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