What is an Instant Payment and Why Does it Matter to Gig Workers? 

Gig workers thrive on flexibility: for their job choices, for their schedules, and especially for their paychecks. In fact, 85% of gig workers say they would work more often if they were paid faster.1 And employers are paying attention.  

In 2021, instant payments accounted for 17% of income distributions in the United States.2 This is nearly three times more than 2020. Why the steep increase? Because employers see that if they don’t offer instant payments, they’ll lose their gig workforce to competitors that do.3

What is an instant payment?

Instant payments are electronic payments that are processed almost instantaneously from one party to another. For gig workers, this means that their earnings from a completed job could be in their account before they even get to their car. This enables them to stop for groceries, dinner, medicine, or other essential items on their way home from work knowing they have a positive balance in their account.

One of our users, Herbert, describes the experience like this, “The money went straight to my indi account after the job. The guy confirmed that I did my hours, as soon as he was finishing the email, my funds hit my account…I knew when the pay was coming, and it was like…immediate.”

Why do instant payments matter to gig workers?

Having a clear picture of gig workers’ financial lives is essential to understanding why 70% of gig workers say they would be more loyal to a job that offers same-day pay.4

70% of gig workers say they would be more loyal to a job that offers same day pay.

A recent study reported that 32% of gig workers are unable to regularly make ends meet, and 53% are able to cover their current bills but cannot save for the future. This means that 85% of gig workers are either living paycheck-to-paycheck or not able to get by at all.5

Having faster access to their earnings means gig workers can get their necessities right when they need them, whether that means the same month, the same week, or more importantly, the same day.

It was recently reported that some 30% of payments to gig and independent workers are made via paper check. Slow payment methods are the biggest source of unhappiness for gig workers and a top reason why they leave for other platforms that can pay faster.6

How to offer instant payments to your workforce:

Instant payments aren’t a trend; they’re the future. In 2022, instant payments could overtake same-day ACH as the most common method in the United States through which recipients receive disbursements.7

With indi you can quickly implement an instant payments solution for your gig workforce.8 Our API suite has options that are adaptable to your needs. Integration can be quick and simple, requiring minimal engineering resources.

When your workers complete jobs on your platform, they rack up payments and you decide when to disburse their payments: daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or whatever schedule best suits your business and your workers. When you’re ready to pay, hit our API and the payments will be available instantly in your gig workers’ accounts.

Ready to learn more about how you can attract and retain workers with instant payments while also lowering your payroll costs? Get in touch with us today for your personalized demo.


1. pymnts.com, Pay Advances Playbook, Study Aug 2019
2. securecdn.pymnts.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/PYMNTS-The-State-Of-Consumer-Disbursements-2021-November-2021.pdf
3. pymnts.com/disbursements/2021/deep-dive-why-paying-gig-workers-more-quickly-is-a-winning-proposition-for-the-businesses-that-employ-them
4. freightwaves.com/news/covid-didnt-kill-gig-economy-the-pandemic-accelerated-it
5. americanbanker.com/payments/list/why-faster-payments-are-critical-to-the-gig-economy
6. pymnts.com/gig-economy/2019/why-liquidity-as-a-service-is-a-gig-thing/
7. securecdn.pymnts.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/PYMNTS-The-State-Of-Consumer-Disbursements-2021-November-2021.pdf
8. Payments made via indi’s instant payment platform to an indi debit card are received immediately upon transfer. Payments to non-indi accounts may take up to 30 minutes and may be subject to third-party fees.

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