Community is at the core of why Earnin was created and is the main driving force in everything that we do — and that includes how we try to sustain our business. Because we are a company built to combat unfairness, we constantly seek to fix problems in the financial world by considering alternatives to the tired, old system that has trapped many of us in a cycle of overdrafts, fees, and late charges.
For people who are used to other financial products like loans and advances, how Earnin works may be surprising. Running a company completely on tips may seem pretty crazy. You might even think it would be easier to just charge fees.
So, why don’t we? We know income isn’t always consistent or predictable — some days you have a little extra to spend, and others you could use a little extra. We don't think anyone should have to struggle or pay a penalty to use our products. We believe that if you’ve earned money, it’s yours and you should be able to use it whenever and wherever you want, especially when you need it the most. Forcing people to pay a fee for our services would hurt our most vulnerable community members and make it harder for them to get to a better place financially. We’re building the way we think a financial system should work for everyone, not just the people who can afford it. This belief drives our very existence and our model.
How much does it cost? What’s a Cash Out Max based on? How does the community pay it forward? To shed some light on those questions, let’s dive into two of Earnin’s core features: tips and Maxes. We’re proud to say there are no required fees, interest, or hidden costs to use any of Earnin’s products. We all choose what to pay to support the service — even if it’s $0.
A Community Supported Business
We imagine a society where everyone helps each other — different from one where people try to get ahead at the expense of others. A society where the power of community fosters positive, essential change. Our goal is not only to provide great products at little or no cost to the people who need them but also to inspire kindness across the financial world and eventually across all industries. One Earnin community member noted in a review, “This is how financial institutions should be, rather than so predatory!”
Because we believe in fairness and the power of community, from the very beginning we recognized that to live this value we would need to let people pay what they choose. We operate on a tipping model, a radical change from the way the current financial system works.
Earnin is supported by our community members who choose to tip. Every tip helps us to improve our services and create more financial fairness for our community.
Paying It Forward
Instead of paying fees, our community is able to pay it forward to help another person by tipping a little extra when they can manage. If you’ve used Earnin before, maybe you’ve been part of a pay it forward chain, where you’ve tipped a little more than usual, or you had your tip covered by another community member. Feels pretty great, right? You’re not alone. A majority of our community members have tipped to support the app. And they are able to make their tips fit within their budget — over 90% of people vary their tip amount when they access their money.
To date, recipients of pay it forward contributions have sent over 15 million thank you messages in return. By paying it forward, our community members who have money to spare can support the ones who don’t or can’t tip at that time.
Digital tips have shown they can help artists and entertainers make ends meet, and we think they can help other hardworking people as well.
The potential for Earnin to create financial fairness is a direct reflection of the strength of our community. If the Earnin community keeps giving, we’ll be able to expand our services, including Maxes.
When using Cash Out, everyone starts with a pay period Max of $100. Over time, based on a number of factors, a person’s Max can adjust to range from $50 to $500. Your individual Max is tied to your overall financial health, which includes details like how often a positive bank balance is maintained and whether you spend less money than you make. Each pay period, your Cash Out Max is reevaluated, so you can see your good financial habits impact your Max over time.
The amount you tip (or don’t tip) doesn’t directly affect your individual Cash Out Max. Instead, we look at your personal financial health and our community’s tipping. If a community as a whole is tipping, we’re able to offer higher Maxes to all. It’s your money, you should have access to it when you need it.
At the end of the day, Earnin is here to solve problems by supporting one another and creating a world where products are designed to lift up the community rather than to maximize profit. Working together, we can all achieve financial freedom.