Huntington adds to its customer safety net with early paycheck access

The news: Huntington will let customers access direct deposits, including paychecks, up to two days in advance through a new free feature, Early Pay. The new feature is available to customers who have consistently made certain types of direct deposits: salaries, military income, pensions, and Social Security. Eligible customers will be automatically enrolled in Early Pay and will receive notification emails about the switch.

Trendspotting: Early paycheck access was initially a prominent offering from neobanks.

  • Challengers that were early comers to the feature including Varo, Chime, and Current. Early paycheck access is becoming less of a competitive differentiator as a growing list of incumbent banks is co-opting it.
  • Huntington is the latest US incumbent bank to offer early paycheck access. Two other incumbents recently unveiled the same feature. Fifth Third Bank announced last week that it’s making its own feature, also called Early Pay, available to all of its customers after a selective rollout. Capital One also recently unveiled its own version—both it and Fifth Third also use a two-day maximum.

The big takeaway: Early Pay widens Huntington’s safety net for customers, which is meant to help their short-term finances, and which the bank calls its Fair Play Banking philosophy. Other support includes:

  • A small-dollar loan product, Standby Cash, which lets customers access as much as $1,000 without fees or interest if they agree to automatic payments. 
  • Two forms of overdraft fee protection: $50 Safety Zone, which shields depositors from fees on overdrafts of up to $50, and a 24-hour grace period before levying fees on those who breach the limit.

Huntington can use its breadth of liquidity support as a competitive strength to keep up with neobanks and incumbent banks that are also making a play for customers financially harmed by the economic fallout of the pandemic.