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Posted December 10, 2020

Why benefits debit card matters


Cash is no longer king. In fact, in the last two years, debit cards have replaced cash as the most frequently used form of payment among Americans. Providing an industry-leading debit card with your employee benefits is one way you can try to boost participation, so both you and your employees can save money. 

The modern consumer

In 2019, 30 percent of any purchases made by Americans were with debit cards, up from 27 percent just two years ago. Meanwhile, the percentage of payments made with cash dropped from 31 percent in 2017 to 26 percent in 2019. 

The spending habits of today’s consumer often depends on a person’s age. More than 60 percent of all payments made between the ages of 35 and 44 are with a debit card or credit card. That’s up from 54 percent just five years ago. 

As Americans increasingly turn to debit cards, we’re seeing businesses and even government agencies pivot to meet consumers where they are. For example, the U.S. Treasury announced earlier this year that they would be issuing nearly four million stimulus payments to Americans on prepaid debit cards instead of sending paper checks. 

What does this mean for my employee benefits offering?

Over half of all Americans have delayed healthcare for themselves because of cost. That’s one reason simplicity is the key to participants wanting to participate in your plans. It helps to keep them from having to pay out of pocket and seek reimbursement after that. With so many Americans using debit cards as their primary form of payment, they’ve come to expect the same from their employee benefits. 

For them, saving money only happens when they can easily spend their funds. An industry-leading benefits debit card lets them more easily take advantage of the tax advantages that come with participating in a health savings account (HSA) or a flexible spending account (FSA). And it also is catered to the experience that many of your debit card-using employees are already used to. 

What should I look for from a benefits debit card?

Participants should have access to a benefits debit card that’s both easy to use and intuitive. A stacked debit card, such as the WEX benefits card, is a key differentiator because all of a participant’s benefits plans are on one card. And the card is built to pull from the appropriate plan’s funds. They’ll swipe their card to make purchases, and purchases are reimbursed on the same debit card. 

Our benefits debit card pairs with our online account and mobile app so they have a simplified, synchronized benefits experience. 

When our debit card is used at a merchant that has an Inventory Information Approval System (IIAS), participants simply swipe their card. It will then automatically approve anything that’s an eligible expense. If an expense isn’t eligible, it will require a second form of payment. That prevents invalid payments from happening and reduces possible payment headaches downstream. 

Want to see how easy it is for our participants to spend their funds with the WEX benefits card? Click the image below. 

benefits debit card


WEX Benefits

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