Clair teams with Mastercard to expand earned wage access

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Mastercard is helping earned wage access provider Clair overhaul its technology platform and service offering.

The Mastercard partnership caps an effort Clair has undergone in recent months to upgrade its technology platform, allowing it to become a card program manager and offer white-label earned wage access solutions for employers, payroll companies and time and attendance providers. Previously it used the Synapse banking-as-a-service platform coupled with issuing cards from Evolve Bank & Trust, the same bank used by EWA rival Branch.

“We became our own program manager and moved past the relationship with Synapse as our business has grown,” said Nico Simko, co-founder and CEO of Clair. “This streamlines the relationship with Mastercard, lowers our costs, gives us greater control and allows us to offer white-labeled solutions to employers and payroll providers who want branded products.”

Clair now uses MetaBank as its issuing bank and provides instant pay access to workers needing to access their earned, but not paid wages ahead of the traditional payday. Clair works directly with employers, as well as human capital management firms and gig worker platforms.

Workers who sign up to use Clair’s earned wage access services are given a checking account and a debit Mastercard. There are no transaction or membership fees and the funds are made available instantly.

Clair generates revenue whenever its customers use the debit Mastercard for purchases, earning it debit interchange.

“Cardholders can receive instant access to their funds through the new Clair debit Mastercard by directly adding it to their mobile wallets, and without having to wait for the physical card to arrive,” Sherri Haymond, executive vice president of digital partnerships at Mastercard, said in an emailed statement. “They can also use their Clair debit Mastercard to make contactless payments anywhere Mastercard is accepted.”

Last October, Clair raised $4.5 million in a seed fundraising round to target the small-business market and upgrade its product suite.

Simko noted that with Clair’s current partnerships in place with employers and payroll providers, it is able to offer its earned wage access services to over 1.3 million workers and that the upgrades to its platform will position it to further expand its prospect pool.

“Once we became a program manager it gave us the ability to connect with partners using APIs,” added Simko. “The exclusive relationship with Mastercard will allow us to continue to develop new financial products for the hourly worker community.”


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