9 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Pay Card Provider

8 minutes read

Once you understand how pay cards work and you’re sold on the many benefits of pay cards you’re ready to start researching pay card providers.

Not all pay card programs are created equal. To make the best choice for your company and your employees, due diligence is required. These 10 questions will help you look past the surface and compare pay card programs in terms of the benefits and features that truly make a difference.

1. Are the Pay Cards Branded?

Although today most pay cards are branded—i.e., they’re associated with one of the major payment brands (Visa, MasterCard, Discover)—verify it. Branded cards are more widely accepted than unbranded cards and offer enhanced security features. For example, branded cards can be used to pay bills online or by phone, while unbranded pay cards cannot.

2. What ATM Network Does the Pay Card Provider Use?

Look for a pay card provider that not only has a process in place for tracking and managing state and federal laws, but for communicating updates to clients as needed. You need assurance that you’ll remain in compliance, no matter how many states you operate in and how often the laws are tweaked. 

3. What ATM Network Does the Pay Card Provider Use?

Remember, your goal is to ensure that your employees can access their funds as flexibly and inexpensively as possible—preferably, for free. Look for a large, fee-free ATM network with multiple locations close to your worksites. In this case, bigger is better.

4. What is the Fee Structure for Employees?

 In addition to ATM access, ask for a list of the type of fees employees will pay—and find out if it’s possible for employees to avoid fees entirely with a little planning. Look for programs that offer:

  • No paycheck cashing fees
  • No overdraft fees
  • No in-network ATM fees
  • Free account access via the Internet
  • Free mobile app
  • Free bill payment capabilities

5. Does the Pay Card Provider Offer 24/7 Customer Service?

It’s critical that your employees have easy access to their pay card account, no matter what shift they work or where they are. Therefore, look for a pay card provider that offers 24/7/365 live customer service. And if your workforce is multilingual, make sure their service is, too.

6. Are the Pay Card Accounts Insured?

You employees’ pay card accounts should be eligible for FDIC (banks) or NCUA (credit unions) insurance that’s  provided on a “pass-through” basis to individual cardholders. This insurance will protect account balances for up to $250,000.

7. What Is Pay Card Program Implementation Like?

Ideally, you will receive a designated enrollment specialist to guide you through enrollment. Pay card program implementation should include receipt of personalized pay cards for employees, a stock of instant issue pay cards (for new hires, until their embossed cards arrive), and educational materials for employees, including training videos, enrollment forms, fee schedules, etc.

Implementation schedules vary widely, but in some cases, it may only take a few weeks.

8. What Will Our Start-up Costs Be?

Start-up costs include all the materials described above, as well as the cost to set up the employer’s ACH portal and the employee self-service portal. The best situation, of course, is a free pay card program with waived start-up costs—which is sometimes available when your pay card program is tied to your HR and payroll software.

9. What Other Amenities Does the Pay Card Program Include?

A competitive pay card program will include a range of useful amenities to employees, such as:

  • Cardholder-issued checks
  • Interest-bearing savings accounts
  • Optional text alerts
  • Bill payment services via phone or online portal
  • A companion card for a spouse or family member
  • Cash back merchant rewards programs
  • Portability (so employees can sign up for direct deposit with a second or future employer)

 Our Research Led Us to rapid! PayCard®

At EPAY, we strive to provide our customers with a comprehensive, cost-effective HCM and payroll solution that’s designed for employers managing an hourly workforce—i.e., the very groups who benefit most from pay cards.

After intense research, we chose the rapid! PayCard® Visa® Payroll Card program. It meets all the above criteria. For example, it’s connected to the AllpointTM ATM network, the largest network of surcharge-free ATMs, with more than 55,000  locations worldwide. It offers 24/7/365 multilingual customer service, and it’s packed with useful amenities. In addition, it is largely fee-free to employees. And of course, the entire pay card program is absolutely free—cards and all—to EPAY customers. Learn more, or download our helpful infographic. 

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