*Research Brief Financial Security

Credit-building services for employees: An assessment of engagement and outcomes

This is one research brief in a series of five completed through the Employee Financial Wellness Programs Project. In this study, we examine administrative data for national nonprofit Working Credit’s employee benefit, which combines credit building education, one-on-one counseling, and access to financial products to help workers establish good credit.

Working Credit offers credit-building services targeting groups of employees who can improve their financial health by improving their credit health. In accessing credit cards and loans, the difference in interest rates and fees between having a subprime and prime credit score is substantial. Helping the unscored enter the financial mainstream means accessing credit that was previously unavailable. This could mean the difference between getting a car loan to access better job opportunities and being consigned to the same low-paying job. We find evidence that Working Credit helps employees in both respects – moving from subprime to prime, and becoming credit scored. We also find that Working Credit helps employees with the lowest credit scores make the greatest strides in improving these scores.

Project: Workforce Financial Stability Initiative


Zeng, Y. & Despard, M. (2019) Credit-building services for employees: An assessment of engagement and outcomes. (SPI Research Brief No. 19-07). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Social Policy Institute.