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Walmart Tries New Way to Support Workers

Walmart has been working with two financial technology startups to create apps for its employees that are intended to help with their financial planning. It has announced the implementation of one such app.

“Instapay” will allow Walmart’s 1.4 million workers to access a portion of the wages they have earned before payday without interest. The intention of this offering is to help employees avoid costly payday loans and hopefully reduce worker stress. Part of a personal finance app called Even, it will let the workers plan ahead for bills, make savings goals, and help figure out how much they have to spend. Walmart is paying for the service, which employees can use without cost up to 8 times per year. If employees wish to continue using it after that time, they can for $3 per pay period. The average Walmart full-time employee earns about $13 per hour.

The New York Times reports that this new service is reflective of a broader push by Walmart to compete with Amazon by looking for ideas to increase its “digital heft.” Some observers note that while the app may be helpful, trying to make ends meet on low wages remains difficult for many workers. A Walmart spokesperson stated that the company has been raising wages and increasing investment in employee training programs to help workers move into management.