The Vernacular Behind Earned Wage Access


Business (B2B)

“helping employers help workers”

Business-to-business (B2B) transactions are those that take place between businesses, rather than between a company and an individual consumer (which is called business-to-consumer, or B2C).

Digital Wallet

“simplifying everyday life”

The Congressional Research Service defines a digital wallet as, “a software application that stores payment or account details to facilitate traditional payments that use bank and credit card details and/or cryptocurrency transactions.

In addition, wallets facilitate peer-to-peer transfers, which have grown rapidly in recent years.” These applications allow users to pay with their devices, and they do not need to carry cards around.

Users can enter and store their credit card, debit card, or bank account information and can then use the device to pay for purchases. Digital wallets can also store gift cards, membership cards, loyalty cards, coupons, event tickets, ID information, and even car keys.


Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) Advance​

“faux ewa, proceed with caution”

The Financial Health Network defines Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) Advance providers as those that “work directly with consumers and connect to their bank accounts to observe inflows and outflows, providing a certain amount of liquidity, upon request.” D2C Advance companies work directly with consumers, do not partner with employers, and do not verify wages through employer-provided payroll and time attendance data. D2C Advance providers deposit the requested cash advance directly into a consumer’s bank account, and they recoup that cash advance by debiting the consumers’ bank account on the reported payday.


Earned Wage Access

“your pay, on demand”

Earned Wage Access (EWA) is when a business allows on-demand vs weekly/biweekly access of already earned wages to their workers or contractors. EWA does not create debt as it is money that is verifiably owed to the worker. The accessed amounts are adjusted by the business (as a deduction) when they process payroll for their employees or payments for their contractors.

Earned Wage Access, a Breakdown

“intentional approach”

According to the Financial Health Network, Earned Wage Access – also known as EWA or on-demand pay – “allows employees to safely draw some or all of their earned wages before payday.”



/urn/ (past, verb)

Money that your employee has already worked for.

The “e” is not to be confused with “early.” We’re providing employees with money they’ve earned based on when they’ve worked those hours, without relying on the traditional bi-weekly or monthly pay schedule.


/weyj/ (noun)

A fixed regular payment, typically paid on a daily or weekly basis, made by an employer to an employee.

Not to be confused with Loan. The money your employee can access is based on their paycheck and the number of hours they have already worked.


/ak-ses/ (noun)

Making money that your employee has already put in the hours for, available and usable for their financial needs.

Not to be confused with Advance. EWA allows employees to receive their earned compensation ahead of their traditional pay day.


“weathering the storm”

Also known as Financial Well-being. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau defines financial well-being as a state wherein you (1) have control over day-to-day, month-to-month finances; (2) have the capacity to absorb a financial shock; (3) are on track to meet your financial goals; and (4) have the financial freedom to make the choices that allow you to enjoy life.


Livelihood Index

“understanding impact"

The Livelihood Index is a standardized way of measuring the livelihood gap, which is equal to median wages divided by livelihood expenses plus financial services fees, multiplied by 100.

Payday Loan

“debt cycle fire starters”

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau describes a payday loan as a short-term, high-cost loan, generally for $500 or less, that is typically due on the next payday. Depending on the state law, payday loans may be available through storefront payday lenders or online. The ability to repay the loan while meeting other financial obligations is generally not considered by the lender.


Payroll Deduction

“ethical and transparent”

Payroll deductions are wages withheld from an employee’s total earnings for the purposes of paying taxes, garnishments, and benefits. These withholdings constitute the difference between gross pay and net pay. Some payroll deductions, like EWA, are voluntary and may be taken out of a paycheck on a pretax or post-tax basis as long as the employee provided written authorization. Taxes and wage garnishments, on the other hand, are mandatory and employers who fail to accurately withhold these deductions may be liable for the missing amounts.

source: ADP

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Earned Wage Access is about creating a new standard for financial wellness where employees are not only fairly compensated for their work, but given access to that compensation in a way that supports them. It’s akin to a pay raise.

Resources: TIMELINE

Empowering employees is a journey, not a destination. At Payactiv, we have spent the last 10 years doing our best to ensure more and more workers are equipped to tackle their financial responsibilities and goals with accessible services like Earned Wage Access. Explore our timeline for an up close view at all the amazing milestones achieved over these past 10 years.