Unbanked and Underbanked Employees Pose Challenges for Payroll

BY Therese Pempeña Compensation

Unbanked and Underbanked Employees Pose Challenges for Payroll

According to the Consumer Finance Survey conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, 86 percent of Filipino households do not have a deposit account because they do not have enough cash to spare for keeping. [1] Some of the other reasons cited by respondents include distrust of banks/financial institutions, lack of need for bank/cash accounts, inability to manage an account, and expensive service charges.

With the rapid advancement of banking technology and government authorities pushing to make digital financial inclusion the norm [2], it’s surprising how many Filipinos remain unbanked (those who do not have relationships with financial institutions) or underbanked (those who have basic accounts but prefer to use check cashing to meet their needs). This presents a unique challenge for employers and organizations. 

How the Unbanked Affect the Workplace

Having unbanked employees on your payroll may require some adjustments or even using different payroll methods for a select number of workers. But beyond that, being unbanked also has implications on how employees work. Research from Prudential Financial, Inc. says that this inhibits employee performance in three ways: [3]

  1. 44 percent of workers worry about finances at work
  2. 1 out of 5 workers skipped a day of work to handle a financial issue
  3. Nearly half of workers spent two to three hours per week on personal finances at work

Employees who are less financially secure tend to be less productive because they are preoccupied with their issues with money. As their employer, you are in a good position to help them.

Paycards Over Paychecks

You can always give your employees checks when payday comes but that would require additional manual work fo your HR and Accounting staff. Paycards are the next best option, especially since research shows that the use of paycards will continue to increase through 2022. [4] These cards, backed by Visa or MasterCard, allow you to transfer wages directly to the employee. They also effectively reduce payroll processing costs and could help introduce employees to the concept of digital financial inclusion.

Cloud-Based Payroll Platforms

Some people remain unbanked or underbanked simply because they don’t want to deal with complicated bank processes. With cloud-based payroll platform like Salarium, they don’t need to access multiple apps, websites or other channels just to see their payslip, current balance, benefits, contributions, and other relevant payroll information. Having all data in one place helps them keep track of their finances more easily wherever they are so they can worry about it less during work hours. 

Accommodating the needs of your workforce will not be an easy task. But with the right tools, you can successfully adapt and provide your unbanked and underbanked employees with much-needed support.



[1] 86% of Filipino households don’t have bank accounts – BSP survey, Manila Bulletin

[2] Onboarding the un(der)banked, Business World 

[3] Unbanked Payroll: What Organizations Should Know About This Unique Employee Population, Spark

[4] New Pay Trends: How Today’s Workforce Is Reshaping Payroll, Forbes

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