Lyft calls it Express Pay. As soon as drivers finish a shift, they can immediately deposit their pay in the bank and start using it–rather than wait the two or three days payouts typically take. Lyft launched the service about 11 months ago, and according to the ride-hailing company, it now pays out 50 percent of all driver earnings in this instant way.
Express Pay is driven by Stripe, the San Francisco startup that aims to make digital payments dead simple for all businesses. The company also does something similar for Instacart, Postmates, Care.com, and goPanache, and now, it’s offering the same technology to any online marketplace. It calls this new offering Instant Payouts.
This behind-the-scenes tech is part of a much larger effort to streamline the way money travels between people and businesses. Companies like Apple and Google are honing the way consumers spent money both in stores and online. Just last week, Apple rolled out its Apple Pay service across on the web. Meanwhile, companies like Square are refining the way that businesses to receive payments. Square just launched a new service that lets smaller retailers and food trucks immediately cash-out payments in much the same way drivers can on Lyft.
Stripe’s Instant Payouts is particularly interesting because it applies to gig-economy services. These services help you find everything from a ride to a courier to a place to stay, but they also make it wonderfully easy to pay for these services. You don’t have to pull out your credit card when you take a ride with Lyft. Lyft pays the driver automatically, in the background. Now, Stripe makes it just as easy for drivers to actually get their hands on the cash.
But Stripe also says that Instant Payouts can streamline other online marketplaces, including e-commerce services like Shopify, and large crowdfunding platforms like Indiegogo, GoFundMe, and Kickstarter. That’s an increasingly large market. More and more companies are pushing the marketplace model, applying the idea to artisanal crafts, graphic design, real estate, retail, and anything else you can think of. All this makes good sense. The Internet can streamline almost any interaction. And thanks to companies like Stripe, it can streamline the flow of money too.