MasterCard (NYSE:MA) today released new standards designed to help employees take full advantage of the benefits of having their paycheck electronically deposited onto payroll cards. The payroll card standards require employers and payroll card providers to offer cardholders greater insight on these programs through educational resources and increased transparency of any fees. Additionally, the standards ensure the employee has a fee-free way to access their pay and check available balances. “Payroll cards serve as one way to bring the traditionally underserved into the financial mainstream,” said Ron Hynes, group executive, Global Prepaid Solutions, MasterCard. “These standards will help ensure that employees not only understand the choices available, but allow them to take advantage of benefits like direct deposit, online shopping and bill payment that have not been traditionally available to them.” MasterCard developed the new standards in consultation with its customers and partners, as well as community organizations through its Master Your Card and Master Your Card: Oportunidad public education programs. In the course of this six-month process, the collective group worked with a wide variety of community organizations-- ranging from national Latino, African American and Labor groups to local community groups who represent a high percentage of members who are financially underserved. "MasterCard has been an important partner in our efforts to create guidelines for financial products that are a force for good in people’s lives," said Jennifer Tescher, president and CEO of the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI). "We salute the company’s leadership in setting standards to promote a high-quality payroll card market. Quality payroll cards provide security, convenience and inclusion and can help consumers improve their financial health.” All new MasterCard payroll card programs will need to meet these standards as of July 1, 2014. Existing programs will have until October 1, 2014 to make any necessary adjustments.