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At present, many fintech startups are working on reforming the payday lending industry. For low wage earners, budgeting can be complex when income and bills are farther apart. There are few in the industry, who prey on the desperation of people by lending short-term loans with extremely high interest, forcing the customer into a deep pit of debt.
Largest social impact investment
That said, London-based Wagestream is working on an approach to close the gap between income and consumption needs, with a new method. Recently, Wagestream, which campaigns against payday poverty has secured the largest social impact investment ever in the UK. Reportedly, Wagestream is backed by tech figureheads such as Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg.
Secured €46 million funding
The financial wellbeing app has recently closed a Series A round of £40 million (€46 million). The funding round includes £15m (approx €17 million) from Balderton and Northzone and £25m (approx €28 million) from specialist savings and lending bank Shawbrook. Other investors in the round include QED, the Rowntree Foundation, the London Co-investment Fund (LCIF) and Village Global, a social venture firm backed by Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, among others.
Peter Briffett, CEO and Co-Founder, Wagestream:
Wagestream is at the point of scaling up rapidly and this historic investment is going to accelerate the pace at which companies across the country liberate their staff from payday poverty and the disastrous social consequences that stem from it.
So, how does it work?
For the uninitiated, Wagestream is a financial services firm that allows employees to stream their earned wages into their accounts whenever they need it through a simple, instant app. The app provides a library of expert tools, tips, articles and advice for employees through as well.
Founded by Peter Briffett and Portman Wills, this platform allows staff to draw down a percentage of their earned wages any time for a flat fee of £1.75 – with no loans or interest.
Improving financial wellness
Wagestream is on a mission to eradicate payday loans and destroy the ‘Poverty Premium’, whereby people on low incomes pay more for essential products and services.
The rapid adoption of the Wagestream platform by UK corporations proves employers are willing to invest in staff financial wellness and tackle in-work poverty. Employers from across the private and public sphere including Rentokil Initial, Hackney Council and Roadchef have identified several CSR and HR advantages to the service.
‘Help to save’ technology!
The ‘help to save’ technology allows employees to provision and control savings account in-app, setting goals and amounts they want to save from their earnings every month.
The feedback we are getting from private companies and public sector customers alike is that staff are happier, more productive and have greater financial security once they start using our service. The antiquated monthly pay cycle inflicts huge financial damage on household finances and its days are numbered. Too many people are pushed into a corner by in-work poverty and forced into the hands of payday lenders and high-cost credit.
Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more updates in the tech startup world.