Michelle Northey September 8, 2020 8 min read

Benefitexpress Marketplace Provides Solutions for Employees Suffering with Financial Hardship

Benefits for financial hardship

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, everyone is experiencing higher than normal levels of stress resulting from a variety of factors. To help alleviate this stress, many employers are looking for new ways to support their employees, with one major area of focus being access to financial well-being assistance.

Fortunately, offering a wide variety of finance-related benefits to employees has never been easier thanks to the introduction of the Benefitexpress Marketplace. Through a carefully curated set of vendors, we are able to offer your employees more choice and flexibility to meet their needs.

Helping employees during challenging times and providing employees with an overall better benefits experience goes a long way; there is power in meaningful benefits offerings — especially when it comes to financial well-being and savings.

With the Benefitexpress Marketplace, our clients can deliver more choices to their employees without requiring additional cost or administrative work from their benefits staff. Our marketplace offers a wide assortment of lifestyle benefits and discounts, from auto and home insurance to pet insurance and identity theft protection, as well as multiple benefits designed to relieve the pressures of financial hardship, which we discuss in more detail below.

Low-cost loans for employees

Employees’ households may have experienced shifts in income such as going from a dual income household to a single income household or are having unexpected medical expenses. According to a recent Bankrate survey, more than 27 percent of those working or recently unemployed have already taken a withdrawal from their retirement savings accounts, such as a 401(k) or IRA, or plan to use them as a source of income.

The Benefitexpress Marketplace, offers employees in this position alternatives to help relieve financial challenges. For example, employees can take advantage of socially responsible loans through our partner Kashable. Kashable is a financial wellness benefit that provides employees with a better way to tackle costly debt and unexpected expenses. They offer low-cost loans to employees across the credit spectrum. Kashable only lends what employees can afford to borrow with loans that are repaid automatically through payroll deductions.

Recently, a Kashable customer in the shipbuilding industry found that 401K loans dropped nearly 50% in a 12-month period after offering employees access to the loan program. This success story demonstrates how effective Kashable can be at helping employees to preserve retirement income by providing a low-cost alternative to 401k loans and is a main reason why benefitexpress has selected them as a marketplace partner.

Payroll purchasing programs for big ticket purchases

Another option available to employees through the Benefitexpress Marketplace is a purchase program that offers a better way to buy brand new products that employees want. Employees can shop the brands they love, get their order up front and pay over time, directly from their paycheck. Participation in this program provides employees with fixed, easy payments and eliminates the stress that comes with high-interest credit cards.

Employees can buy a wide range of products like TVs, computers, furniture and appliances to help create a more comfortable and productive home — particularly valuable for those who are working remotely during the pandemic — while receiving the added benefit of peace of mind, knowing they have made a better choice than selecting rent-to-own options or creating credit card debt.

Lower repayments and shorten repayment time

Employees can also take advantage of a student loan refinancing program through the Benefitexpress Marketplace. 43 million people currently have student loans totaling $1.3 trillion (up from $600 billion in 2007), and more than 90% of millennials don’t know their student loan interest rate.

Our partner Gradfin refinances and consolidates employees’ student loans through their lending platform, which is comprised of eleven lenders to maximize approval rate and minimize interest rates, and their loan repayment program works seamlessly with our payroll deduction solution.

Gradfin also offers personal consultations, live webinars, and in-house town-hall meetings to educate employees and provide options for reducing student debt. By lowering repayments and shortening repayment time, employees can reduce the overall cost of their loans.

Every day discounts

Who doesn’t love (and need!) a good discount? We offer the Benefitexpress Marketplace year-round so employees can take advantage of product discounts from carefully selected vendors during the moments they need them most. With a range of discount offerings featuring national and local retailers and vendors, the Marketplace makes it easy for employees to save money on everyday purchases. Discounts span a wide array of categories, including automotive, beauty, books, clothing, computers, education, entertainment, flowers, food, games, gifts, health and wellness, home and garden, hotels and travel, office, sporting events, sports and fitness, telecommunications and travel!

Why a marketplace? Why now?

The only thing constant is change, meaning your employee’s needs are always in flux. Traditional benefit plans may not offer the flexibility to respond to these evolving needs from an offerings perspective and many can’t do so in the ‘on-demand’ way employees are accustomed to behaving as consumers.

And with so many unknowns regarding the long-term financial impacts of COVID-19, employers are wise to investigate flexible options that can provide relief to the employee who may be just one emergency away from serious financial trouble. Plus, when employees are doing well financially, employers can expect to see an increase in productivity and a reduction in absence, contributing to an overall more successful work environment and healthier workforce.

At benefitexpress we continually expand our suite of value-added products and services to better serve our clients and, most importantly, their employees. Want to learn more about the Benefitexpress Marketplace and the other lifestyle benefits and discounts we offer? Download our Product Sheet today!