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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than two-thirds of gig workers have seen their incomes drop during the coronavirus pandemic, with almost a third cutting back on food as they struggle to cover expenses, according to new data from an industry survey shared exclusively with Axios.

The big picture: The pandemic has put ride-share drivers, personal shoppers and others at heightened risk of contracting the coronavirus without netting them benefits or additional pay.

By the numbers: The survey found that where one in five gig economy workers made less than $1000 a month in March, by summer that number had risen to three in five.

  • Nearly three in five said they couldn't cover household expenses for more than a month without additional financial help if they lost their main source of income.
  • Black gig workers have been particularly hard hit, reporting lower earnings and greater concern about COVID-19 than their white counterparts.

Details: The survey polled 695 gig workers across five U.S. cities in July and August.

  • It was led by Flourish Ventures, a financial technology venture capital firm backed by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, and Steady, a platform that connects people to part-time work at both gig-economy firms and traditional employers such as retailers.

What they're saying: "All stakeholders need to be involved" to help get gig workers and others hard hit by the pandemic on firmer financial footing as the pandemic drags on, Flourish managing partner Emmalyn Shaw told Axios.

  • That includes the government and financial services providers, she said, as well as tech companies that may be able to alleviate financial troubles triggered or compounded by the pandemic through innovation.
  • Shaw cited as examples online banking startup Chime; Propel, which helps food stamp recipients manage their benefits through an app; and Cushion, which contests banking fees on users' behalf for an annual subscription fee.

The bottom line: "There are all these ways technology can address people's needs," Shaw said. "The question is, how creative can you be?"

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Scoop: Chime's fee income

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Chime, a fast-growing online bank most recently valued at $14.5 billion, derives about 21% of its revenue from fees its customers pay for using out-of-network ATMs, according to financial data obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: Banking alternatives like Chime aggressively market themselves to consumers who have been burned too often by bank fees. Chime claims it has "no hidden bank fees," while Varo advertises itself as "online banking with no fees."

Banks cash in as Wall Street blows out Main Street

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

America’s big banks capped off a winning year, led by soaring Wall Street-facing business lines.

Why it matters: Banks cashed in on the white-hot IPO market, record debt issuance, and sky-high trading volume — all of which played out as economic peril softened the consumer side of their businesses.

Scammers seize on COVID confusion

Data: FTC; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Scamming has skyrocketed in the past year, and much of the increase is attributed to COVID-related scams, more recently around vaccines.

Why it matters: The pandemic has created a prime opportunity for scammers to target people who are already confused about the chaotic rollouts of things like stimulus payments, loans, contact tracing and vaccines. Data shows that older people who aren't digitally literate are the most vulnerable.

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