Banking for Freelancers and Other Nomads of the Gig Economy

Nov 1, 2017 | Jessica Ogilvie

Thanks to the 2007 recession, advances in technology, and the social acceptability of no longer being a “company man” (or woman), a younger generation has embraced the gig economy — and in response, large banks have done… well, nothing. And so, at a time when lawmakers are pushing to shut down one of the largest banks in the country, it’s worth considering if your bank is treating you right.

Do they know what your needs are? Do they know what keeps you up at night? And perhaps most importantly, do they offer solutions?

Rise of the Gigs

Not so many years ago, the gig economy didn’t exist — or at least, not quite like they do now. People were either self-employed (independent contractors or freelancers) or employed by a company. But in 2016, the Pew Research Center released a survey which found that up to 24 percent of Americans earned income from gigs like Taskrabbit, Uber, Etsy, and Airbnb in the previous year. Some worked full-time and some worked part-time, often with very different reasons for taking up the job.

That same study found that so-called alternative employment arrangements — defined as independent contractors, temps, or on-call employees — increased from 10 percent in 1995 to 15.8 percent in 2015.

These statistics are indicative of a changing market, and also of a changing definition of work, one which is expanding to include more and more types of employment. Traditional freelancers working on assignment are joined in many aspects of their job descriptions by rideshare drivers who work hours they choose, on schedules they create. Independent contractors working on a project-to-project basis are now sharing digital space with people selling art, crafts, and clothing online. By opening up self-employment to a wider variety of employees and talent, more and more people are finding that they can do work that they love — and earn a decent living — without ever going into an office.

What’s Not to Love?

Of course, there are drawbacks to being part of this emerging marketplace. There are no built-in benefits, so health insurance and retirement savings must be procured independently. Taxes aren’t automatically withdrawn from your paycheck, so vigilance is required come April 15. Plus, there’s no guarantee of work, which can add to the stress. And finally, there’s the constant pressure of bringing in clients; the hustle, if you will.

With all those stressors — and a growing demographic that’s facing them — it’s time for a shift in approach to banking, too. Many traditional large banks are awash in hidden fees, and in order to avoid them, precious time must be taken reviewing transactions in excruciating detail. Plus, much of today’s business is conducted on the go, and many freelancers or participants in the gig economy don’t have an office. That’s where we come in. While some traditional banks are catching up with mobile apps, Seed was designed for mobility.

And as any freelancer knows, one of the most important administrative tasks is knowing when you have money coming in and when you have it going out, as well as who owes you money and when it’s due. Seed can tell you all of that, meaning that every time you glance at your account, you know when it’s time to start hustling.