Image: Shutterstock/Jirsak

Just like Americans can watch a new movie on opening night from the couch and order almost any meal via a delivery app, many people want to be paid in the same way—streamed and on demand. Americans want to be paid as they earn their salaries instead of once or twice a month, according to a new survey by HR software provider Ceridian.

This new study of 1,004 U.S. workers found this new desire for “streamed access to earned wages” includes people at all salary levels. The survey also found that 78% of workers said on-demand pay would increase their loyalty to an employer, as long as the service is provided at no cost.

The survey also found that:

  • 80% of workers want to “stream” their earned wages automatically to their bank accounts.
  • 81% of workers with household incomes of $100,000 or more also want on-demand pay.
  • 81% are likely to take a job with an employer that provides access to earned wages on-demand at no cost over an employer that does not.

The survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Ceridian from Aug. 9-11 among employed adults ages 18 and older.

Seth Ross, general manager of Dayforce Wallet and consumer services at Ceridian, said in a press release that the survey shows on-demand pay is not only a differentiator but a requirement.

“With streaming pay, employers give workers more control over their financial well-being,” he said. “That means offering people the peace of mind to cover an unexpected expense or the ability to take advantage of investment opportunities they might not otherwise have.”

Dayforce Wallet is one of several new financial services that employees can use to get access to pay as it is earned. If an unexpected expense comes up a week before payday, a person can request access to the amount of money she has earned to date and use those funds to pay the bill. Employers generally make this service available to workers who can use it as needed.

SEE: EY’s new blockchain platform could solve a major tax headache

The service is often associated with hourly wage jobs but the survey showed that people at all pay levels are interested in streamed wages. The survey results found that 81% of workers with household incomes of $100,000 or more want on-demand pay to invest wages sooner than traditional pay cycles allow.

Fintech innovation

On-demand pay and streamed access to earned wages is a $1 trillion opportunity according to Ernst & Young. Fintech software companies are providing this service in two ways: early direct deposit and streaming wages. Fintech firms such as Chime, Radius and OneUnited Bank give customers access to paychecks as soon as they receive a notification that a payroll deposit is coming. Traditional banks usually wait two days to confirm the payment before releasing the funds to the account holder. There is no waiting period for financial firms that provide early direct deposit.

Other companies offer immediate access to pay as a person earns it. Fast food restaurants sometimes use “Work today, get paid tomorrow” incentives to attract workers. The fintech company Even has an on-demand pay platform and has worked with Visa, Walmart and PayPal to give employees access to each day’s wages. The company calls this service Instapay. An employee can access their earned wages before payday when they’re short on cash. In some cases, this access requires a $6 monthly subscription fee.

According to the Brookings Institute, real-time payments are standard operating procedure in many countries, including the U.K., Mexico, Poland, South Africa and Japan, and have been for years. This means that a “payment from a Slovakian account will be available in France sooner than a check from Minnesota will clear in Florida.”