The majority of families pay their helpers in cash. Here’s why.

As a customer-centric mobile banking app that’s focused on solving real people’s real challenges with banking, we have of course had (and continue to have) a lot of conversations with women.

And during these conversations, there are a few sentences that have popped up regularly, when we ask about why employers pay their helpers with cash:

(from employers) ”My helper prefers cash, I don’t know why……”

(from helpers) “My employer prefers to pay me in cash”

(from  employers) “I used to pay my helper into her bank account, but she just took it all out in cash the same day. I don’t know why….”

(from helpers)”The bank charges me if I make too many ATM withdrawals. And I can’t send money home with them because it’s far too expensive”

(from employers)”If I set up automatic payment to my helper’s bank account, and then she asks for an advance during the month, it’s a lot of work for me to then adjust that payment to allow for the advance, and my helper doesn’t know how to send money back to me. So easier just to pay in cash”

(from helpers)”It’s really difficult to do transactions with the bank. I don’t like their banking app, and standing in line at the branch takes time that I don’t have”

What does this tell us? (apart from the fact the employers and helpers aren’t really talking to each other about money!)

What stands out from these conversations,, is that cash is the default method of payment because the only other option available is not really designed to be helpful for either party

With the result being:

  • For the employer: time and effort wasted going to the ATM to get cash and keeping track of advances
  • For the helper: Time wasted travelling to the remittance agent; money wasted paying the remittance agent; no way to buy things for their family online; no safe place to save for the future

Which is exactly why we designed Lucy. We listened; we understood; we did something about it. Lucy solves all of these problems, and does it from an app that’s been designed from the ground up to be delightful to use.


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