“Benepass has been a huge time-saver. It functions efficiently in the background, streamlining our benefits management without requiring constant oversight. This allows us to dedicate more focus and resources to other critical areas of our business.” - Justine Bufmack, Benefits Lead
Mercury provides banking and credit cards* engineered for the startup journey. The company employs 500+ U.S. and Canadian employees, with employees working fully remote or hybrid schedules if they live near their San Francisco, New York, or Portland offices.
*Mercury is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by Choice Financial Group and Evolve Bank & Trust, Members FDIC.
Mercury strives to foster a culture where employees can bring their full selves to work and feel supported no matter where they are or what is happening in their lives. The company recognizes that employee expectations everywhere are evolving, and it’s important to offer competitive benefits. Mercury prioritizes remote work opportunities, mental health support, career development programs, and work-life balance to meet the diverse needs of our employees. Their benefits, like their wellness perk, are meant to take care of the employee as a whole, rather than just meeting their basic expectations.
“We wanted to make sure that as we grew and scaled, this perk was something that we were handling compliantly.” - Justine Bufmack, Benefits Lead
As a benefits team of one, Justine Bufmack, Benefits Lead, is solely responsible for ensuring that Mercury’s 500+ employees correctly spend their benefit funds. Before Benepass launched, employees used another expense reporting platform to submit wellness expenses for reimbursement. Justine would log in once a week to review and approve expenses, but the process was error-prone.
“There weren’t great systems built in to see how much an employee had spent in wellness for the year,” Justine said. “If somebody submitted a large expense, I had to go in and make sure that they hadn’t already spent their funds.”
This system was somewhat manageable when she first joined Mercury, but then the company grew rapidly within her first year. Now she found herself spending three to four hours per week managing expenses so they didn’t pile up and prevent employees from receiving reimbursements.
“In addition to that manual work, it’s sometimes a lot to ask employees to pay out of pocket for something,” Justine said. “Any time that we can allow them to spend directly, I think that’s a better option.”
As Mercury expanded, navigating tax compliance complexities became a key focus. It was challenging to harmonize the management of taxable employee benefits and non-taxable business expenses within a single platform, which required a meticulous approach to accurately categorize expenses and ensure adherence to tax regulations.
Although the team faced initial hurdles in developing a robust system for extracting spending data and distinguishing between taxable benefits and non-taxable business expenses, they dedicated significant resources to refining their processes. This commitment enabled them to enhance their compliance framework, ensuring that Mercury continued to meet all necessary tax obligations.
“That was the initial prompt to look for something else,” Justine said. “How do we make sure we are handling this how the IRS says we should be handling this and not putting ourselves or our employees at risk?”
“Benepass runs in the background for us. It’s not a huge lift on me as an administrator, and that’s huge.” - Justine Bufmack, Benefits Lead
As Justine evaluated benefits vendors, her priority was ensuring that the vendor could integrate with Workday, Mercury’s new payroll provider. From there, she was seeking three things:
Justine found the Benepass platform to be intuitive and easy to use for both employees and admins. With Benepass’s card-first approach, employees could now spend their funds without dipping into their own pockets and submitting expenses for reimbursement.
“It’s not hard to get logged in or figure out how much you’ve spent,” Justine said. “The dashboard is so easy to use and read, and you can see your card and pull your card number if you’re shopping online. It goes along with this theme of quality that we have internally.”
On the admin side, Benepass had the reporting capabilities that Justine sought. Within a minute, Justine could generate separate reports for U.S. and Canadian employees and easily upload them to the team’s payroll system.
“The other huge perk for us is that our employee IDs feed to Benepass, so then it’s seamless for payroll to match up the employee IDs from the Benepass report to the employee IDs in payroll and just plug the information in,” Justine said.
If issues did arise for employees or admins, Justine felt confident the Benepass Support team would quickly and efficiently handle them. While she’s worked with vendors in the past that take a week or more to answer questions, the Benepass team was readily available—so much so that she sometimes receives a response before she even realizes the email was sent.
“Our employees expect a good user experience, so we want to make sure that the support team is easy to reach and quick to respond,” Justine said. “On the admin side, I looked for a dedicated point of contact rather than just going to an inbox for support or help with questions.”
“We are looking to take care of employees as a whole person.” - Justine Bufmack, Benefits Lead
In January 2023, Mercury rolled out Benepass to employees with a flexible wellness stipend they could use on the following spending categories:
Employees enjoyed the platform’s ease of use and were eager to spend with their cards instead of submitting expenses for approval. Funds expire annually, allowing employees to save up for larger purchases. By the end of the year, 92% of employees had engaged with their Benepass benefits. Seeing this success, the team also moved their non-taxable learning and development benefit onto the Benepass platform and is excited to continue exploring other avenues for consolidation.
“Our long-term goal is to consolidate as much as possible,” Justine said. “It’s huge for us to have a vendor that can support multiple benefits rather than having to do wellness through one vendor, learning and development through a different platform, and whatever else through a different platform. I like that Benepass has so many options for us.”
“Before launching Benepass, I thought about this benefit a lot more than I needed to and spent a lot more time on it than I needed to. This is something that I can allow to run in the background so I don’t have to put a lot of brainpower into it.” - Justine Bufmack, Benefits Lead