Timely paycheck delivery can be a logistical headache for fleets. And if a driver is “unbanked” (without a traditional savings or checking account), using direct deposit is not an option.

While Wright Express is best known for its fuel card programs, the company’s rapid! PayCard program is an electronic direct deposit solution that can be used by unbanked employees. Participants are issued a fully functioning Visa debit card connected to an FDIC-insured bank account. Electronically, money is put directly on the card each pay period.

“Whether it’s 10% or 70%, all companies have a portion of their workforce that are unbanked,” said Chris Ruppel, VP general manager of rapid! PayCard at Wright Express. “The rapid! PayCard moves the unbanked into the financial mainstream and provides a safe and secure method to receive their payroll without having the hassles of living in a cash economy.”

How it Works

Designed with the unbanked population in mind, the paycard is fee sensitive, including no overdraft charges, no minimum balance requirement, and there’s free and unlimited access to live customer service. Users can also open up a savings account, earn interest on their money, pay their bills through a bill payment service and customize their card with a personal/custom image.

Employees can request additional cards for their spouses or children as well. A selected amount of their paycheck can be transferred onto the other cards each pay period.

The card becomes their permanent account, which they can use wherever they move. “It becomes their bank account,” Ruppel said. “They have ownership of their funds and it allows them to return financial dignity to their lives.”

Cardholders can withdraw their pay for free via the Allpoint Network, a network of 43,000 surcharge-free ATMs with accessible locations in nationwide pharmacies, convenience stores and department stores. There are seven total methods of pulling out money and those transactions are free of charge.

Organize Expenses

The program is generally free to the employer. “Though our clients have investment in terms of time and effort to bring in the program and roll it out,” Ruppel said. “The efficiency and sustainability of the system generates long-term savings.” Companies can compute their estimated e-payroll savings online through the company’s savings calculator.

Fleets can also use the program for reimbursement purposes. If any employee receives per diem payments or has expenses while on the road that need to be reimbursed, the company can load those funds directly onto the paycard on a real-time basis.

“Many companies use the rapid! PayCard to streamline the payment of expenses to employees, especially if they don’t already have a travel and entertainment program or don’t want to issue a credit card for employee use,” Ruppel said. “It’s much easier and more efficient than issuing a paper check for reimbursement.”

What Fleets Say

AmeriFleet Transportation, a company that provides driveaway and truck carrier transportation services to the corporate fleet and leasing industry, is a Wright Express Universal Fleet Card customer, and has been using the rapid! PayCard system since the end of 2008.

All 685 of AmeriFleet’s employees have paycards and about 30% use the system as their main source of banking.

“Employees like it a lot because they aren’t waiting until they get home to receive their paycheck; it’s more immediate,” said Lori Burnes, payroll supervisor for AmeriFleet Transportation. The system also helps unbanked employees operate in an electronic payment society.

Burnes said the paycard plan has become a tool to hire and retain employees, and that there have been significant benefits as the employer.

“Return on investment is so obvious you don’t even have to measure it,” Burnes said. “When you stop getting stop-payment fees and return check fees and you stop having to reissue checks over and over again, it’s easy to see how much money you’re saving.”

To see more articles from Business Fleet's 2012 July/August magazine issue, click here.