Plaid Income: the basics

How does Plaid Income work?

Plaid Income makes it easier for users to verify their income. We offer three methods for users to successfully verify their income:

  • Payroll Income: This allows a user to instantly verify their income by connecting their employer or payroll account. 

  • Bank Income: With this method, users can verify their income by connecting their bank account.

  • Document Income: Users can verify their income and employment by uploading their income documents, such as pay stubs, W2s, and 1099s.

How does employer search work?

People may not know which payroll provider their employer uses. Plaid Income includes an employer search feature, which helps users find their payroll provider based on their employer. Our employer database maps over 250,000 employers to their associated payroll providers.

If you already collect employer name(s) from your users, you can leverage our /employers/search endpoint and allow users to skip the employer search pane. They’ll be directed to their payroll provider and can proceed to authenticate and verify their income.


How do I implement the employer search endpoint?

Pass the employer_id you received from calling the /employer/search endpoint to the /link/token/create endpoint in the income_verification.employer_id field. This will drop the user directly into the employer pane.

Which credentials do users need to provide to verify their income?

  • Payroll Income: With this method, the user provides credentials to the account they’re using to manage their direct deposit settings. Generally, this means the user’s payroll provider portal, employer’s payroll site, gig-economy platform (e.g. Lyft), or freelancing platform (e.g. Upwork).  

  • Bank Income: Users will need to provide the credentials (username and password) of the bank account that receives their income.

  • Document Income: No credentials are required for this method.

Can users connect their payroll account without credentials?

Yes, the Payroll Income method allows credential-less login when users connect and authenticate with an ADP payroll account. Users can also choose our Document Income method, which doesn’t require credentials.

We are working on expanding credential-less flows with more providers. Talk to your account manager if you’re interested in this functionality or sign up here to get notified when we’ve added new authentication capabilities.

Improving the user experience

What are some things Plaid is doing to improve the user experience?

We’re solving income verification by focusing on three key areas:

  • Create a best-in-class product: We collect customer feedback and conduct experiments to continually improve the income verification experience.

  • Scale fast to ensure coverage: We’re increasing our financial institution coverage so that users can easily verify their income. 

  • Enhance connection with payroll providers: We’re building a growing database of employers mapped to payroll providers, which will help people who may not know their payroll provider out-of-hand.


What if users don’t know their payroll provider?

Not everyone can remember their payroll provider. Plaid Income guides users to their payroll providers when they select their employer in Plaid Link. We’ve mapped over 250,000 employers to their associated payroll providers in order to make this seamless. 

If you already collect employer name(s) from your users, you can leverage our /employers/search endpoint to help users skip the employer search pane. Their payroll provider will be selected automatically, so they can proceed to authenticate and verify their income.


What if users don’t know their credentials?

Plaid offers credential-less login capabilities for users with an ADP payroll account. Whenever possible, we guide users within the Plaid Link user interface to reset their passwords securely through their payroll provider so that they can log in successfully. Users can also choose our Document Income method, which doesn’t require credentials. Credential-less flows will make income verification even easier. We’re working to expand credential-less log-ins with additional providers.  


What types of documents does Plaid support?

Plaid supports paystubs, W2s, and 1099s. We’re working to add support for other types of documents. If you have a use case that requires different documentation, please reach out to your account manager.


As an Assets customer, how can I leverage Plaid Income?

Income data permissioned by the consumer can help you gain new insights into a borrower's ability to make payments. As an Assets customer, you can leverage Bank Income to get more insights into an applicant’s income. You can also use Bank Income to view income straight from the source.


Does Plaid verify the authenticity of documents uploaded?

Yes, Plaid has the capability to check for document authenticity. Each time a qualifying document is uploaded, Plaid can check for certain indicators, including:

  • File tampering

  • Incomplete data sets

  • Missing pages

  • Invalid dates and amounts

  • Abnormal fonts

  • Irregular formats


How much income history can Plaid pull?

It varies by payroll provider. Depending on which is shorter, we can retrieve as much history as you request or as much as the payroll provider allows. We can also return up to 365 days of income data with our Bank Income method.


Can Plaid verify employment?

Yes, we can return employment information when you use our Payroll and Document income methods. We're working on an employment verification product that should launch soon. If you’re interested in this, reach out to your account manager.


Does Plaid support income from multiple sources?

Yes, Plaid Income is designed to collect and verify multiple income sources. Using our three income verification methods, consumers can provide gig income, freelancer income, full-time income, part-time income, and unemployment income.

Conversion

What is Plaid’s conversion rate?

In our years of experience building financial products, we’ve found that conversion rates depend heavily on the customer’s situation, user experience, goals, user base, and use cases. We work closely with our customers to define what a successful conversion rate looks like and to identify the right conversion goals for their individual situations. 


Where do I add Income in my app?

We built Plaid Income with flexibility in mind. Use Plaid Income at any point in your app when you need to verify a user’s income, whether it’s during onboarding or at the beginning of an application for credit.

Coverage

How fast can Plaid add coverage for my users?

Over the years, we’ve developed a reputation for building best-in-class products, fast, with integrations built-in to over 11,000 financial institutions. Because of our commitment to quality, our products have helped trusted companies across the financial services ecosystem scale and reach their goals more quickly. 

We apply all of our experience, knowledge, and infrastructure to payroll provider and employer coverage. We will work closely with you to understand your coverage needs and create a plan that covers as many of your users as possible within your timeline.


How much coverage does Plaid have?

We’ve developed three income verification methods to provide coverage for the full spectrum of workers (gig-economy, freelancers, full-time, part-time, and unemployed workers). As a result, Plaid provides access for over 70% of U.S. workers.


Does Plaid cover gig-economy platforms?

Yes, in addition to supporting some of the top gig-economy platforms like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash,, we also support freelancing platforms (e.g. Upwork) and other non-traditional work platforms (e.g. Etsy). Speak with your account manager to learn which types of coverage would be most appropriate for your users.


Can Plaid estimate how many of my users would be covered?

Yes. Send us a list of your top employers, and we will provide a coverage estimate. 


Does Plaid support employers that use in-house payroll systems?

Yes, we support a variety of payroll systems from some of the largest employers in the U.S., including Walmart, Amazon, and Home Depot.

Integrating Plaid Income

What do I need to do in order to integrate Plaid Income?

Integrating with Plaid Income is simple and straightforward:

  • Create your free Plaid account.

  • Sign up for Plaid Income.

  • We’ll send you an email to set up an introductory call. 

  • During the call, we’ll review any documentation required to get started.

  • Begin playing around with Income in Sandbox mode with dummy data.

  • Use our API docs to integrate. We’ll work closely with you to ensure a smooth integration.

  • When you’re ready, go live! 

If you have an account manager, they will guide you through the process. If you don’t, please sign up and we'll reach out to you.


How long does it take to integrate Plaid Income?

It depends on your development resources. Typically, implementation takes 1-2 sprints with 1 or 2 backend engineers. If you’re planning to implement our Android and/or iOS SDK, you should allocate 1-2 additional frontend engineers. 


Does Plaid send success and failure events?

Yes, Plaid Income notifies you (the developer) when an income verification is successfully completed. Income verifications have a status indicating their completion state, and you can configure a webhook to get notified when a verification has completed. 


Does Plaid return pay frequency and pay amount?

Yes, Plaid Income returns pay frequency and pay amount information when available. 


Do I need to integrate all Income methods?

No, you can integrate whichever method(s) you prefer. We know that certain methods work best for certain use cases, and we are happy to work with you to figure out what will work best.


Does Plaid return hours worked and income earned during that period?

We currently do not return this information; however, it’s on our roadmap. Reach out to your account manager to discuss your use case and learn more.

Privacy and security

How is Plaid ensuring user privacy and security?

Learn about Plaid’s policies and practices, and the terms and conditions that apply when using Plaid products, in our End User Privacy Policy.


Does Plaid share Plaid Income data or sell it to third parties? 

We don’t share personal data without the end user’s permission, and we don’t sell or rent it to outside companies. Learn more about how we handle data.


What if a user suspects fraudulent activity?

Users can reach out to their employer to confirm their direct deposit settings reflect their preferences and can speak directly to their HR person to get help.  They can also update their payroll credentials (username and password) to prevent further harm.

Plaid’s consumer-permissioned model

What if my users don’t remember their payroll or employer credentials?

First, many users do remember their payroll provider credentials (username and password); as a result, they have no trouble connecting their employer or payroll-provider accounts. The more a given user logs-in to their payroll or employer accounts, the easier it is for them to recall their credentials. 

For example, we’ve found that gig economy workers are more likely to remember their passwords. That’s because they log in often for work, especially when compared with full-time workers, who typically interact less with their payroll accounts. 

To eliminate the need for credentials, Plaid is working towards partnering with payroll providers to develop and implement credential-less login capabilities. The first provider with this capability will be ADP, and we’re excited to launch more soon. 


Are users willing to verify their income digitally?

Yes, many users are willing to verify their income in this way. Consumers already share this information with many financial service providers (e.g. lenders), and Plaid Income provides a digital way for consumers to control when and how they share their financial data. 

Plaid’s consumer-permissioned model puts the end-user in the driver’s seat and gives them control of their data. As with our other products, we expect more and more users to embrace this income verification method as the benefits become apparent.


Why does Plaid have users search by employer rather than payroll provider? Will it stay this way?

We’ve found that users are more familiar with their employers than with their payroll providers. Prompting users to search by employer (and displaying employer logos) is more likely to result in a successful income verification than orienting them to their payroll provider. 


How can I differentiate high-intent users from low-intent users?

High-intent users are those who attempt to connect their payroll or employer account. Low-intent users exit the flow long before they reach the credential pane.


How do I empower my support team to answer Income questions?

Please leverage this FAQ as a foundation to help your support team answer questions about Plaid Income. From there, we encourage you to build on it, creating your own FAQ that is tailored to your brand, product, and users. If your team is getting questions not covered here, please share them with your account manager. 

Support

What happens when a user can’t find their employer or payroll provider?

If a user can’t find their employer or payroll provider, they can choose to use one of our other Income methods (Document Income and Bank Income) if you make those options available. Bank Income prompts the user to connect their bank account and Document Income doesn’t require credentials. 


How fast does Plaid return income data?

Typically within 30 seconds or less.


How can I report issues and get help? 

You can report issues by logging into your Plaid dashboard. Simply open a new support case and select “product functionality.”