Does Your Bank Give You Early Access to Your Paychecks?

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KEY POINTS

  • Many people live paycheck to paycheck with no money in savings.
  • In that situation, having early access to your earnings could really help you avoid debt.

It's a nice perk you might appreciate.

Many Americans were living paycheck to paycheck before inflation started surging last year. But over the past 18 months, inflation has changed a lot of people's financial situations for the worse.

At this point, many people have depleted their savings accounts and no longer have cash reserves to fall back on for unplanned bills. And so now, even more people may be trapped in a dangerous cycle where they can't cover any bills until their next payday arrives.

If that's a situation you're in, it's important to try to bust out of it as soon as you can. And you can potentially do so by cutting back on spending in a meaningful way and/or boosting your income with earnings from a second job. Both of these steps could help you build up a nice amount of cash reserves.

But getting to that point will take time. If you have no savings right now, you're probably not going to suddenly find yourself with thousands of dollars in money to fall back on. And so you may have to deal with several more months of living paycheck to paycheck.

The good news, though, is that some banks are stepping up to help cash-strapped people in that very situation. And that could be your ticket to avoiding debt.

You might get early access to your money

Many people who work have their paychecks set up for direct deposit. It's an easy, convenient way to get paid.

Now, some banks are making it possible for consumers with direct deposit to get access to their paychecks early -- specifically, up to two days early. And that could make a big difference if you live paycheck to paycheck.

Let's say you normally get paid on the 15th and 30th of every month, only you have a bill that's due on the 28th. If you don't have the money in your checking account to cover that bill, you might have to put it on a credit card and rack up debt (or add to an existing pile of debt). But if you're able to get access to your paycheck two days early, you can cover that bill on the spot.

Getting early access to your paychecks could also help you avoid interest or late fees that are costly. And if you're at the point where you're living paycheck to paycheck, saving a few dollars here and there really adds up.

A lifeline you might appreciate

In an ideal world, getting access to your paycheck two days early wouldn't really matter to you, because you'd be in a position where you could cover your upcoming bills without that paycheck altogether. But that's not the situation a lot of people are in right now.

Rather, rampant inflation has forced many workers into a paycheck to paycheck existence, and until living costs come down, a lot of people might struggle to break out of that cycle. So if your bank offers you the option to access your money a little sooner than it's supposed to arrive, consider that a very good thing. You never know when early access to your paycheck might bail you out of a jam -- and help you avoid landing in a more difficult financial situation than you're already in.

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