This is just disgusting….
I can’t say this often enough: If States, Federal and Local Governments are going to contract with these banks to manage Government Benefits, these contracts should specify that these banks cannot charge these poor people fees to use the benefits.
This is robbery of the poor and most vulnerable by the rich, politically powerful, government bailed-out banks who assume these people don’t have the power to fight back.
B of A already gets a percentage of each charge from the merchant. That’s fine as that’s how the credit/debit card system is meant to work. The cost is- or should be- built into consumer pricing….
These additional fees are at the very least immoral and should be illegal.
I’ll say it again: Bank of America is just plain evil….
From the Huffington Post:
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.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” said Sue Berkowitz, director of the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, a Columbia nonprofit that represents low-income people facing foreclosure, food insecurity and other problems. “It should not cost you any more to use a debit card than if they had issued you a check.”
For the state, handing Bank of America responsibility for unemployment benefits secured cost savings, said Berkowitz, but they have come at vulnerable people’s expense.