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Earnin Research Shows Monthly Streaming Subscription Fees Too Much For Many Americans
[August 28, 2018]

Earnin Research Shows Monthly Streaming Subscription Fees Too Much For Many Americans

Earnin, an app that allows anyone with a job and a bank account to get paid the minute they leave work, today released a report which found that roughly 1 in 8 streaming subscribers living paycheck to paycheck had an overdraft fee in the last year triggered by their subscription.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

(Graphic: Business Wire)

(Graphic: Business Wire)

The analysis, Netflix May be Growing, but Not Among Those Living Paycheck to Paycheck, looks at the streaming subscription habits of Earnin users, many which are living paycheck to paycheck.

The report finds that:

  • The fraction of Netflix subscribers among those living paycheck to paycheck has remained remarkably flat.
  • Of these streaming subscribers, roughly 1 in 8 had an overdraft fee in the last year triggered by their subscription.
  • Netflix's new 2018 pricing appears to have stunted new user growth among those living paycheck to paycheck.

"Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu (News - Alert) cost about $10 a month, yet that small expense can result in frustrating overdraft fees for a shockingly large number of Americans," said Earnin Economist Peter Griffin. "Overdrafts triggered by autopayments complicate an already tenuous situation. Without financial cushion, these unexpected shocks too often derail budgets and in some cases, trigger a cascading cycle of debt."

In just the past five years, the percent of Earnin verified users paying for Netflix, Hulu, or YouTube (News - Alert) has steadily increased from around 25 percent in June 2013 to more than 32 percent. Despite a growing market among those living paycheck to paycheck, the fraction of those paying for Netflix has remained remarkably flat over time, with about 24 percent of Earnin users paying for the industry leader as of July 2018.

Counting dollars instead of subscriptions, Netflix's new 2018 pricing appears to have successfully converted existing subscribers, but at the cost of further stunting new user growth among those living paycheck to paycheck in the United States.

Relative to the average cost of cable television providers, streaming services are inexpensive. This has led millions of Americans to cut the cord annually, but people living paycheck to paycheck frequently pay a higher price courtesy of overdraft fees on automatic payments. Streaming services cost about $0.80 more per month after accounting for the chance they trigger an overdraft, which represents between 5 and 10 percent more a month, depending on the base price of the subscription.

"An increase of 5 percent may not sound like much," said Griffin, "but it's making the low-cost alternative to cable TV more costly than it needs to be, pricing out people who can least afford it."

For the full Earnin Netflix participation study, please visit the Earnin Blog.

To learn about Earnin and how we are building a financial system that works for people, please visit

About Earnin

Earnin is the new, faster way to get your paycheck. Unlike traditional, rigid paychecks that only show up every two weeks, Earnin gives you access to your pay as you earn it -- any time, any day, right from your smartphone. Earnin charges no fee or interest for using the service: instead, with each transaction users are given the opportunity to pay what they believe is fair. Launched in 2014, leveraging mobile technology to drive consumer-empowered finance by breaking open more than $1 trillion held up in America's pay cycle. Current funding partners include Andreessen Horowitz, Matrix Partners, Ribbit (News - Alert) Capital, Felicis Ventures, March Capital Partners, Trinity Ventures, Thrive Capital, and Camp One Ventures. For more information please visit

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