MD: AFC Letter in Support of Amended HB 246

The Honorable Senator Pamela Beidle, Chair
The Honorable Katherine Klausmeier, Vice Chair
Senate Finance Committee
Miller Senate Office Building, 3 East Wing
11 Bladen Street, Annapolis, MD 21401

Re: Support for Earned Wage Access Legislation

Dear Chair Beidle, Vice Chair Klausmeier, and Members of the Senate Finance Committee,

On behalf of The American Fintech Council (AFC) – the premier industry association representing responsible fintech companies, including the country's largest providers of earned wage access (EWA) – we strongly support HB 246 with the proposed compromise amendment. Reflecting months of negotiations between legislators, the Office of Financial Regulation, industry providers, and consumer advocates, this proposal would license the state's EWA providers and create strong consumer protections for Mayland workers. AFC believes that pursuing the amended bill represents the most functional path forward for EWA in the state, that enables consumer access without compromising on consumer protections.

This amended bill results from a negotiated compromise based on several months of concerted, in-depth work by all crucial stakeholder groups. All parties worked in good faith to devise a bill to protect consumers and allow EWA providers a clear path to operating in Maryland.

In each of our six in-person meetings and countless revisions to the bill text, leaders from the Department of Labor, Maryland consumer protection advocacy groups, the Legislature, and industry providers negotiated actively on both the broad policy objectives of the bill and its technical language. This amended bill further reflects a compromise that incorporates the priorities of the bill that passed the House Economic Matters Committee in the Maryland House of Delegates. In the final meeting earlier this week, all parties in the room agreed to the amended text before the Committee. While no stakeholder group garnered all their requested provisions and amendments, there was consensus that the amended bill would capture the principles that each group cared about most.

EWA is an important alternative to high-cost predatory and credit products and gives workers the options they need to support their families. Unfortunately, if this bill does not pass, AFC’s members in the EWA industry will have no choice but to leave the State of Maryland, leaving nearly one-million Maryland workers worse off financially during their times of greatest need. Without access to short-term liquidity, workers may turn to costly alternative financial products with downsides like debt collection and bad credit, ultimately leaving consumers worse off.

Notably, HB 246 as amended would create strong consumer protections for Maryland workers, including fee protections; a first-in-the-nation fee cap of $3.50; clear and transparent fee disclosures; ban on late fees, interest, and penalties; a ban on recourse of any kind, ever; required free option; overdraft protections; and credit invisibility, so even users with poor credit will always have access to this product.

Therefore, we respectfully urge you to pass HB 246 with the compromise amendment that numerous parties have negotiated over several months. The bill licenses EWA providers, protects Maryland workers, and creates regulatory clarity necessary for the EWA industry to operate in Maryland.

Again, AFC appreciates the dedicated work of all stakeholder groups in constructing this amended legislation.


Phil Goldfeder, CEO
American Fintech Council


The Honorable C.T. Wilson, Esq., Chair, Economic Matters Committee
Maryland House of Delegates
The Honorable Portia Y. Wu, Esq., Secretary of Labor
Maryland Department of Labor

About the American Fintech Council: The mission of the American Fintech Council is to promote an innovative, responsible, inclusive, customer-centric financial system. You can learn more at www.fintechcouncil.org.