Executive Spotlight Series With Seth Ross SVP of Business Development at Green Dot Corporation

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Tell us about SimplyPaid and where it fits into the Green Dot ecosystem?

Green Dot’s history began as a start-up company that invented the reloadable prepaid debit card. As we developed in that space, we added more and more functionality to enhance the experience for our customers, such as the capability to deposit cash to prepaid debit cards at retail stores.

SimplyPaid leverages the capabilities we’ve built over time in a platform that provides the broadest choice of disbursement options in the marketplace.   SimplyPaid ties together Green Dot legacy expertise in prepaid debit card generation and funding as well as retail with more recently developed capabilities in payroll cards, ACH, and instant payouts to any checking account debit card.  In a single platform, SimplyPaid makes it possible to offer workers or customers or business partners the broadest range of ways to be paid, when they want to be paid.

We’ve developed from a company that provides prepaid debit cards you can pick up at your local drug store into a fully digital-enabled banking platform company, and the preferred banking partner for some of the biggest names in technology and retail. SimplyPaid is the next extension of that evolution.

What makes SimplyPaid different from other products in the marketplace?

SimplyPaid is really unique because it brings with it some truly differentiated capabilities around payout options and ease of implementation. First, we have the ability to instantly create and fund new accounts at scale.   These accounts can be a full-blown bank account, a payroll card, prepaid debit card, gift card, virtual card or restricted use card.  We see this as a particular differentiator for the gig economy because it can be seamlessly included in your workforce management and it creates an ongoing relationship that drives more loyalty and engagement with the worker.

Second, we can disburse to any debit card account in highly efficient ways. Other companies have abilities to disburse funds with ACH, and some have partnered with MasterCard Send or Visa Direct for near real-time delivery to bank debit cards, but Green Dot does this better and with a broader reach because we go beyond reaching bank debit cards via our close partnership with MasterCard Send, but also use our proprietary prepaid card processor integrations which can be problematic for others to reach.  The ability to offer instant payment to any debit card—prepaid or bank—is a game-changer for time-sensitive payouts.

Third, we have multiple integration options to match how a company can best utilize SimplyPaid as a disbursement vehicle.  All our capabilities are accessible via a set of easy-to-use API’s for those with some IT resouces and want the maximum flexibility and control of the user experience.  SimplyPaid also features a Hosted version with no IT development required, where Green Dot handles all the UI with the payees and clients simply upload files to deliver the payouts.

Ultimately, the difference with us is really about choice and flexibility all wrapped into a single, simple platform that can be configured for any payout needs.

How does a platform like this benefit employers and employees?

SimplyPaid benefits both employees and employers.  First, employees and contractors get the benefit of choice more payout options, often faster and earlier than payday, including the ability to draw down accrued wages before payday. These are big features that’s really exciting in this space. Employees are empowered to get paid HOW and WHEN they want.

For employers, SimplyPaid covers all payout needs. A typical payroll platform and payroll card program  really just handles payday disbursements and often only through ACH.  SimplyPaid is not just for standard payday or for only those on a payroll card, it provides a platform for  termination pay, off cycle, regular pay day payments that can be made to ANY account as well as non-account options such as picking up cash at a Walmart.  SimplyPaid can handle all of these disbursement needs and enables companies to move 100% electronic with a fully 50-state compliant solution for wage payments.

Which industry stands to benefit the most from solutions like SimplyPaid?

SimplyPaid will revolutionize how companies disburse payroll. Today’s 1099 workforce and on-demand workers really appreciate value and flexibility – specifically with getting paid when they finish a shift or when a job is complete.

As employers compete for talent, they will need benefits like this to retain and keep loyal employees. In a broad context, many companies are already feeling these trends with increasing competition recruiting and retaining employees who are evaluating the 1099 opportunities available when looking for employment. Many industries have significant and complex payout needs and are falling behind those competitors that are moving away from paper check payments. Insurance companies, marketplaces, gig economy, loyalty payments, and legal settlements will all gain control, efficiency and speed by moving to electronic payments. SimplyPaid’s approach can eliminate the need for paper checks and enable them to go 100% paperless.

What are some of the biggest trends in the financial technology space and how does Green Dot and SimplyPaid play a role in the advancement of fintech?

The big trend we’re seeing is the millennial shift from traditional banking to looking to digital first, on-demand solutions tailored to their lifestyle, what they want to accomplish, and how they shop.

Historically, people chose their first bank account by which branch was closest to their house. But the millennials are different – they don’t think of brick and mortar retail the same way, and the same goes for traditional banks. People are gravitating towards a digital-first experience that our products can offer, like GoBank and app-based banking.

That’s a real opportunity for employers of workers who may be unbanked or underbanked or for  gig economy platforms, to provide payout options that give their workers a fully functional bank account that is digitally enabled and integrated into their daily lives. You’re going to see that SimplyPaid along with GoBank account functionality really capitalizes on these trends.

Where do you see the industry in 5 years? How do you see providers evolving to continue meeting customer needs?

From an adoption perspective, I can see this type of solution offered by thousands of employers around the country. At a certain point, employees will demand the flexibility to choose their payday and how they get paid. The current experience of the paper paycheck and a set payday just creates too much friction.

Early access to wages is going to be important. In five years, the idea of only being paid a set payday will feel archaic and out-dated for a lot of the population. Employees will be choosing when to get paid in a way that’s flexible and best meets their needs.

Consumers and workers will tell us where and how they want to get paid, and we will continue to innovate and meet consumers where they want to be.