Kicked When They’re Down

While the banks might have abandoned their plans, for now, to start charging debit card fees they do have one group they're hitting with fees – the unemployed:

Bank of America recently aborted plans to charge ordinary banking customers $5 a month to use their debit cards in the face of national outrage. But the bank has quietly continued to mine another source of fees: jobless people who depend upon the bank's prepaid debit cards to tap their benefits. Bank of America and other financial firms — including U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase — have secured contracts to provide access to public benefits in 41 states. These contracts typically allow banks to collect unlimited fees from merchants and consumers.

In short, the same banks whose speculation delivered a financial crisis that has destroyed millions of jobs have figured out how to turn widespread unemployment into a profit center: The larger the number of people who are out of work and dependent upon the state for sustenance, the greater the potential gains through administering their benefits.



1 thought on “Kicked When They’re Down

  1. Leatherwing

    That is somewhat similar to health care prices. If you are insured, you get a reduced negotiated rate, even though you are only paying a copay. If you are uninsured, you pay a higher rate and the entire amount. At least that has been my experience.


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