STUDY: States Shortchange The Unemployed With Junk Debit Card Fe - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

STUDY: States Shortchange The Unemployed With Junk Debit Card Fees

HUFFINGTONPOST.COM - Many states shortchange the jobless by distributing unemployment benefits on debit cards loaded with obnoxious fees, according to a new study by the National Consumer Law Center.

Of the 40 states that have switched from paper checks to prepaid debit cards, 22 states' cards charge ATM fees, 24 charge balance inquiry fees, and 28 charge inactivity fees. The cards in Arkansas, Idaho, Nebraska, Ohio, and Oregon come with overdraft fees ranging from $10 to $20.

And in Connecticut, Iowa, Rhode Island, and Tennessee, cardholders "must pay for every ATM inquiry or pay a denied transaction fee if they request cash when their balance is insufficient," the study says.

Tennessee stands out for having the card with the most "junk fees," the study says. Tennessee's card, provided by JPMorgan Chase, charges $1 for initial ATM withdrawals, 40 cents for balance inquiries, and 25 cents whenever someone swipes the card at checkout. It's one of just four states that doesn't provide even one free ATM withdrawal per deposit.

Tennessee doesn't think its card's fees are junk.

"I'm not sure calling them 'junk fees' is a fair statement," said Jeff Hentschell, a spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Workforce Development, which distributes Tennessee Automated Payment cards for jobless benefits. "When you look at the context of where we were and where we are today, the fees are actually minimal compared to where people were going to cash paper checks before."

Indeed: The NCLC study itself points out that for people without bank accounts, "getting cash from a UC prepaid card will usually be cheaper than paying a check casher to cash a paper check."

Hentschell added his department has a handy website that lays out the fees.

As for Chase, the bank says it's giving states a good deal on a valuable service.

"Each state negotiates its own contract and fee structure from numerous bidders," a Chase spokeswoman said in an email. "To date, states have chosen card solutions that cost government nothing and save taxpayer dollars, selecting their card provider based on the best mix of fees and services to the consumer."

The NCLC study says the Bank of America-issued cards in California and New Jersey are the best, since they offer "free and ample access to cash and transactions with no penalty fees." The study says close runners-up are Chase's card in Arizona and Citibank's in Maryland.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Driver airlifted from scene of motorhome rollover near Moses Lake; DUI investigation underway

    Driver airlifted from scene of motorhome rollover near Moses Lake; DUI investigation underway

    Monday, May 29 2017 8:57 PM EDT2017-05-30 00:57:01 GMT

    MOSES LAKE, Wash. - A serious crash is blocking lanes of I-90 near Moses Lake. Details are very limited at this time, but WSDOT confirms one lane in each direction on I-90 near milepost 173 is closed while crews investigate the crash. Viewer video sent to KHQ shows a large motorhome flipped over in the median. 

    >>

    MOSES LAKE, Wash. - A serious crash is blocking lanes of I-90 near Moses Lake. Details are very limited at this time, but WSDOT confirms one lane in each direction on I-90 near milepost 173 is closed while crews investigate the crash. Viewer video sent to KHQ shows a large motorhome flipped over in the median. 

    >>
  • 1 man killed after pickup drives over angry campers

    1 man killed after pickup drives over angry campers

    Monday, May 29 2017 7:11 PM EDT2017-05-29 23:11:00 GMT

    TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - A 20-year-old man who was intentionally run over at a Grays Harbor County campground has died of his injuries.      KOMO-TV reports that Jimmy Smith-Kramer of Taholah was one of two victims run over by a pickup truck Saturday.      Tacoma General Hospital officials confirmed he had died late Sunday.

    >>

    TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - A 20-year-old man who was intentionally run over at a Grays Harbor County campground has died of his injuries.      KOMO-TV reports that Jimmy Smith-Kramer of Taholah was one of two victims run over by a pickup truck Saturday.      Tacoma General Hospital officials confirmed he had died late Sunday.

    >>
  • 18-year-old man arrested for vehicular homicide after fatal crash south of Ritzville on Highway 395

    18-year-old man arrested for vehicular homicide after fatal crash south of Ritzville on Highway 395

    Monday, May 29 2017 6:12 PM EDT2017-05-29 22:12:23 GMT

    ADAMS COUNTY, Wash. - The Washington State Patrol one person has died following a one-car collision south of Ritzville Monday morning. Troopers say the crash happened on Highway 395 about 24 miles south of Ritzville. The 2005 Chevy Trailblazer was headed north on 395 at a high rate of speed when the driver 18-year-old Jaciel Parra of Victor, Idaho, fell asleep at the wheel.

    >>

    ADAMS COUNTY, Wash. - The Washington State Patrol one person has died following a one-car collision south of Ritzville Monday morning. Troopers say the crash happened on Highway 395 about 24 miles south of Ritzville. The 2005 Chevy Trailblazer was headed north on 395 at a high rate of speed when the driver 18-year-old Jaciel Parra of Victor, Idaho, fell asleep at the wheel.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/