The concept for Earnin began at my previous company when a few of my co-workers were finding it hard to pay their bills between paychecks. They couldn’t wait until payday for their money, and the company’s payroll system couldn’t pay up when they needed it most. Wanting to help, I pre-ordered checks from my bank account, paid them, and they paid me back when they were able. Now, those few checks have grown from a small gesture to help my co-workers into a streamlined app that’s used by people from over 50,000 companies.
An advance on a paycheck is something many workers need to avoid paying late and overdraft fees and/or high-interest loans. However, there are limited ways to get one, and charging fees to generate profits off this service didn’t sit right with me.
Fees are inherently transactional. They give power to the person who sets it, and demand compliance from the people who pay it. All companies should ask one foundational question - if you let your customers choose the price, would they continue to pay you?
I wanted to find a way that would always be fair and lead to a balanced relationship between our company and all the individuals who chose to support it. I wanted to give people a chance to help other people. So, I asked if they would pay what they thought was fair— like a tip — and that started covering some of the costs. To this day, Earnin continues to be supported by a community of people paying what they think is fair, with no fees or interest.
It’s wonderful to see our service being supported by voluntary tips from our community. Every person pays based on the value they get, which is so revolutionary. Traditionally, companies have set fees in order to maximize profits. At Earnin, we believe in prioritizing people over profits.