Challenger bank Oxygen is rolling out a new platform for financial services tailored to freelancers and independent contractors, the company said in a statement on Thursday (May 14).
Hussein Ahmed, founder and CEO of Oxygen, said the gig economy in the U.S. is at an all-time high and growing. “Unfortunately, some traditional institutions aren’t adapting. That’s leaving the newest generation of workers and those who are self-employed short on options,” he said.
The new digital banking solution offers flexible tools to help people manage their finances when they have multiple income streams coming in from contract work and freelance gigs. Oxygen also partnered with the Visa Fast Track program for increased reach and scalability and will use Visa Direct for real-time push payments to help freelancers get paid faster.
The Oxygen mobile app, available nationwide, enables users to handle their banking entirely on their smartphones.
Ahmed launched Oxygen when he encountered banking problems while running a freelance consultancy business. By using digital technology and tapping the right network of industry leaders, he was able to create a banking platform for people in situations like he was as a consultant.
It is estimated that freelancers and self-employed independent contractors will comprise over 50 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2027. To service people working in this new economy, Oxygen offers individual and small business accounts with no monthly fees.
“Oxygen is an all-in-one banking platform that can intelligently manage both the personal and business sides of its users’ financial lives,” said Andre Bliznyuck, general partner of Runa Capital, an Oxygen investor. “That is critical for gig economy workers, who often don’t distinguish between their personal and business lives.”
Oxygen customers will also be able to use the app for cash back on daily expenses — groceries and food delivery, rideshares and more. Users can also create an LLC via the app.
The Visa Fast Track program expands the resources Oxygen can offer to help companies scale.
“We are thrilled to work with Visa in our mission to build tools and resources that help consumers and freelance businesses of the new economy thrive,” said Ahmed. “Adding faster payment functionality will greatly help with cash flow — the lifeblood of any small business.”