Walmart gives workers a way to get paid earlier

In this June 5, 2017, photo, a worker stacks merchandise outside a Walmart in Salem, N.H. Walmart is providing workers with an app aimed at helping them budget their money and get paid before payday. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart is providing workers with an app aimed at helping them budget their money and get paid before payday.

The retailer said Wednesday that it teamed up with financial technology startup Even and PayActiv to provide an app to 1.4 million Walmart workers.

The Even app automatically plans ahead for bills, savings goals and will show workers how much they can safely spend. It will also allow workers to access cash before a scheduled payday up to eight times a year for free.

Walmart said it will cover the costs for Even for both full and part-time workers at Walmart, Sam’s Club and its e-commerce sites. Users will have to pay a fee if they want to get paid earlier more than eight times a year.

Critics and labor groups said the service is another sign that Walmart doesn’t pay its workers enough.

“Living paycheck to paycheck is too common at Walmart and that is the problem that Walmart should be trying to solve,” said the Organization United for Respect at Walmart.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. pays new workers $9 an hour. That’s above the $7.25 per hour federal minimum wage, but below some of what its rivals pay. Target Corp., for example, has a minimum hourly wage of $11 and plans to grow it to $15 by the end of 2020.