Prepaid bank cards provide the jobless easy access to their benefits and can help those without a bank account avoid check-cashing fees and the risk of carrying cash. However, Big Banks are stinging too many unemployed Americans with unnecessary and hidden costs.
Of the 40 states that have switched from paper checks to prepaid debit cards, 22 states charge ATM fees, 24 charge balance inquiry fees, and 28 charge inactivity fees. Cards in Arkansas, Idaho, Nebraska, Ohio and Oregon come with overdraft fees ranging from $10 to $20. Tennessee has the most fees with $1 for initial ATM withdrawals, 40 cents for balance inquiries, and 25 cents for each swipe. Other banks have even been known to place monetary holds on benefits that last for up to a week.
The fees are being charged by some of the very same banks responsible for the economic crisis.
Big banks should not be allowed to turn unemployment benefits into a profit center. The unemployed should have access to every penny they get.
States must eliminate the debit fees, provide the jobless better access to their account information, and give the unemployed the option of a paper check or having the funds directly deposited into their own bank account.
Click here to tell your state lawmakers to stop unemployment insurance debit card fees today!