Exploring attitudes to on-demand pay among American workers
April 12th, 2024, Todd Dupey

Exploring attitudes to on-demand pay among American workers

Earned Wage Access (EWA), a company benefit that allows employees to access a portion of their paycheck before payday, has emerged as a potential solution to help reduce financial stress among workers. Yet despite its apparent benefits, a recent YouGov study reveals a lack of awareness and familiarity surrounding EWA, exacerbating existing barriers to its adoption.

How familiar are American workers with EWA?

About two in three workers—either salaried (66%) or hourly (67%)—concede they aren’t familiar with EWA, among them nearly half of hourly workers who concede they aren’t familiar at all.

Concerns over personal financial mismanagement could be another barrier to EWA adoption.

Findings suggest that apprehensions regarding personal financial management are prevalent: more than half of hourly workers (52%) express concerns that easy access to wages could lead to overspending and increased debt, with a similar sentiment prevailing among 47% of salaried workers.

Examining current rates of adoption and future interest

In the ever-evolving world of employment, the concept of on-demand pay has gained traction, but its current adoption rates and future prospects paint a nuanced picture.

Among hourly workers, a mere 4% report receiving their hard-earned wages on demand, with a more significant 11% saying they collect their pay either daily or at the end of each shift. Curiously, when asked about their future preferences, only 7% of hourly workers express a desire for on-demand payouts.

While 17% indicate a preference for daily or end-of-shift payments, one noteworthy finding is workers’ considerable appetite for weekly payouts.

Nearly half of the hourly workforce (45%), are happy with their more traditional pay cycle.

Though half of salaried workers would prefer to maintain a pay cycle of less-than-weekly, a noteworthy near one in five (18%) would prefer payment daily (8%), end of shift (5%), or on-demand (5%); another one in four would also like to receive payments weekly (26%).

Potential for Growth

Despite the challenges posed by limited awareness and apprehensions about excessive spending, the concept of Earned Wage Access (EWA) shows potential for growth among American workers. A notable 44% of both salaried and hourly employees acknowledge that on-demand payments could serve as a helpful tool in managing debt, acknowledging the benefits of this innovative payment model among both types of worker.

Both groups generally agree on the benefits of EWA, but hourly workers look to feel more strongly about it.

For example, more than half of hourly workers (53%) agree that EWA would be a convenient way to get paid, with half of those agreeing strongly (26%). While more than half of salaried workers also agree (52%), sentiment is less decisive with just 16% of salaried workers agreeing strongly. This difference in enthusiasm could be because hourly workers have different pay schedules and job types compared to salaried workers and worth further study.

Both hourly and salaried workers seem to agree that EWA is an efficient and safe way to receive wages. This suggests that workers in general see the potential advantages of this new payment method.

As more people learn about EWA, there's a good chance that demand for it will grow. However, it's important to clear up any misunderstandings and make sure workers know how EWA can benefit them.

By explaining how EWA can give workers more control over their finances and help them avoid expensive loans, supporters of this payment method can encourage more widespread use. As the world of work changes and fintech continuously improves, EWA shows potential to help workers manage their finances more efficiently – so long as more workers keep learning the benefits and how EWA works.


Data sourced from a YouGov Omnibus survey conducted in late February/early March, 2024. The survey was conducted among 1,294 general population respondents aged 18+ via YouGov’s proprietary global panel.