Sears and the Activehours team to provide Shop Your Way members and store associates with salary advances

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Dive brief:

  • Sears Holdings has partnered with mobile payroll application provider Activehours to integrate its Shop Your Way rewards program into the Activehours mobile paycheck advance app, enabling members as well as associates of Sears and Kmart to access their accumulated salary before the arrival of their paycheck.
  • When Shop Your Way members and Sears Holdings associates access their payment through Activehours, they will receive Shop Your Way points which can be redeemed online or in-store at Sears and Kmart. Existing Shop Your Way members can immediately link their accounts to the Activehours app.
  • “This partnership allows us to make a difference in the financial lives of our members by giving them instant access to their pay the day they earn it,” said Terry Rolecek, President of Shop Your Way Financial Services for Sears Holdings. “By integrating the Shop Your Way program with Activehours, we are giving our members the ability to purchase products and services when they need them rather than having to wait for an already earned paycheck.”

Dive overview:

Activehours received criticism in 2014, shortly after its launch because of its apparent similarities to payday loans. However, the app does not charge massive interest like these loans do. Instead, it asks users taking advances on their paychecks to voluntarily tip the service. Activehours also positions its mission by helping workers access pay on the day they put in the hours to earn it, rather than having to wait several days or two weeks later for a lump sum.

Does that make it a responsible and healthy option for Shop Your Way members and Sears and Kmart employees who would now use the app to get advances on upcoming paychecks? Well, the app only allows users to get paid sooner on a portion of their paychecks, not the entire check, and there are daily limits on how much money is early, so there are at least palliatives in this direction. Some observers also noted early on that many people would likely request cash advances through an app like this just to avoid small overdrafts on checking accounts.

Overall, Activehours’ service doesn’t look like a shady payday loan transaction at all, although of course workers who use it will find less money on their paychecks on payday. , a seemingly obvious detail that some users may not realize right away. Sears may have an obligation to explain in detail what Activehours is and how it works, and that people who use the app are essentially getting short-term loans on their own. Instead, Sears hedged a little in its press release announcing the integration, eschewing terms like “loans” and “payday advances.”

Apart from all of that (and from a purely opportunistic perspective), it seems like a decent idea to increase Shop Your Way’s involvement and increase the likelihood of program members and Sears Holdings employees taking advantage of it. integration will exchange more points. frequently in their stores. Sears may or may not file for bankruptcy in the near future, but it has in any case tried to make Shop Your Way a key pillar in its turnaround attempt, recently promising more holiday shopping perks for them. members of the program, and also aligning with Uber to acquire more memberships among Uber drivers.

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