Billy Marsden

Billy Marsden


The Deal With Payroll Passwords | Argyle

At Argyle, one of the most common questions we get is, “Do people really know their payroll password, because I certainly don’t.”

The answer is: yes, many people, including those using our customers’ products and services, have a close relationship with their payroll or employment platform, so their passwords are second nature.

This answer surprises business leaders

Among the c-suite executives in our customer base, a low portion knows these passwords. I, for one, likely wouldn't know the password to my Rippling account—except for the fact that I log into it weekly to demo Argyle.

But it’s important to step outside of one's own shoes. If you are in the c-suite, you aren’t being paid hourly, your work schedule isn’t being tracked and monitored, and your earnings aren’t variable week to week, so there isn’t an incentive to check your  account. That’s not true for millions of Americans. 

Here are just some of the reasons why someone would regularly log in to their employment platform or payroll system:

  • To view, swap, change, or cancel upcoming shifts

  • To see when they're getting paid and how much

  • To see progress toward their commission check or hours accrued

  • To request PTO

Password recall varies by platform

At Argyle, we are intimately familiar with how likely someone is to know the password for their employment account or payroll system, because we've seen hundreds of thousands of users successfully (and unsuccessfully) provide their credentials. We closely monitor their success rate—what we call conversion—because it drives the performance of the products and applications that our clients build on top of Argyle.

We are constantly measuring and making tweaks to our product based on real-world user feedback.

Here are just a few of our product enhancements that drive conversion:

Flexible employer search

Some users are comfortable searching directly for their payroll provider—MyADP, for example—while others are more familiar with their employer, say Walmart. Argyle Link, our front-end experience, is flexible enough to allow someone to search for either and do the mapping for them on the back end.


If an Argyle customer knows the employer that they want their user to select, the “company selection screen” can be bypassed completely. Our data shows this reduction in clicks can result in a 5 percentage point conversion increase.

Multi-factor authentication and single sign-on

Argyle supports up to 10 different authentication methods depending on what our customers’ platform requires, including SMS and email one-time passcodes, security questions, confirmation SMS and emails (i.e. magic links), and time-based one-time-passcodes (e.g. Google Authenticator). Argyle also supports authentication via single sign on (e.g. Okta, OneID, Microsoft SSO).

Embedded password-reset flows

Some users don’t know their passwords. Argyle makes it easy for these users to reset their passwords directly within Argyle Link.

Motivation is key

Another driving factor of password recall is the average person’s desire to authenticate into their account—that is, how motivated they are to complete an application or profile flow and reset a payroll or employment platform password in the event that they forgot it. 

Use case is another variable that may affect someone’s motivation and likelihood of entering their correct credentials. At Argyle, we serve customers across many industries: lending, banking, insurance, recruitment, and more. In lending, for instance, the larger the loan size, the more likely someone is willing to reset their password and complete the flow.

More dollars are more motivating than fewer dollars. 

Are people willing to provide their credentials?

Payroll and employment system passwords beat banking passwords

In short, most of our customers are surprised to find out how likely their users are to know the password to their employment platform or payroll system. In fact, when compared to banking data, we've seen that:

  • Users are more likely to enter their payroll password than the password they use to log in to their financial institution.

  • They feel safer sharing payroll or other employment credentials than they do sharing banking credentials.

It’s part of the reason why some of our customers, like Moves, have moved away from onboarding with banking data altogether.

When Moves switched from using Plaid at the beginning of their application flow to using Argyle, they saw their conversion rate increase 3x.

With security by design

Asking a user to provide their username and password requires trust and transparency. For that reason, Argyle has built an application with security at its core, including data encrypted at RSA 4096 (the same encryption grade used by the military). We also designed our front-end widget, Argyle Link, to be implemented into an application flow to feel part of the native experience. This security-centric design and seamless user interface is vital to creating trust with users. 

That said, Argyle offers a solution to let you test our platform without development resources. Our “no-code solution” allows our customers to send invitations to their users to connect their employment accounts via email or SMS, and it provides a way to visualize the data being returned in Argyle Console, our browser-based customer platform. While it is a quick way to test Argyle and see if we are a good fit, it’s worth keeping in mind that we see a 50% drop-off rate with our no-code solution. Though it’s a quick way to test, keep in mind that clicking into an SMS or email and then sharing credentials doesn’t invite trust in the same way our embedded implementation does.

Please get in touch with our team if you are building an application on top of income and employment data. We are happy to share more learnings to set you up for success.