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Businesses The Almighty Buck

Employers Switching From Payroll Checks To Prepaid Cards With Fees 1103

An anonymous reader writes "The New York Times reports a growing number of American workers are being paid by prepaid payroll card. The cards often have fees attached to basic services like making a cash withdrawal or for inactivity. Some employees report that the employers pay by card by default, with paperwork barriers to opting out, and some report that their employers refuse to pay them by check or direct deposit. The issuing banks pitch the cards to employers as a cost-cutting payroll alternative, and sometimes even offer a financial reward for each employee they sign up."
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Employers Switching From Payroll Checks To Prepaid Cards With Fees

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  • How is this legal? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 01, 2013 @09:39AM (#44153115)

    I don't understand how this can be legal - fees for withdrawals is basically a pay cut. I guess this is what you get when you believe unions are evil...

    • by sg_oneill ( 159032 ) on Monday July 01, 2013 @09:48AM (#44153223)

      Its the sad old story. A century of gains to pay and conditions due to the hard work and often militancy of unions. Then everyone gets comfortable in the 80s ,decide reagans right and the unions are evil, and its all fine and dandy until the economy crashes and suddenly everyones up shit creek without a paddle because they abandoned the unions and theres no one left to stand up to this crap. Our chickens have come home to roost.

      • by danbert8 ( 1024253 ) on Monday July 01, 2013 @10:02AM (#44153415)

        Yes unions are so great that in many states and in many professions you are forced to join one. I have no problem with voluntary unions, but unions can be just as oppressive as employers.

        • by Dodgy G33za ( 1669772 ) on Monday July 01, 2013 @10:15AM (#44153605)

          Indeed. Here in Australia many of the top professions (lawyers, doctors and the like) are both union shops and closed shops. The professional bodies set the rules and decide how many people to allow in.

          Funny though, these bodies are never called unions. What's good for the goose does not appear to be good for the gander.

      • by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Monday July 01, 2013 @10:27AM (#44153773)

        Well, yeah, if you like to skew your history to suit your political bias, that's the story.

        There's plenty examples of cycles like that in history. What really happens is that there's an inequality (employers vs employees), the employees band together to address the inequality (unions), then the inequality slowly slips the other way (union corruption), forces gather to displace the unions, and the cycle starts again. It's an alternation between two inequalities, with only a brief period of equilibrium. Portraying either the employers or the unions as pure of heart is equally disingenuous.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 01, 2013 @09:54AM (#44153307)

      This has nothing to do with unions. It's all about the corruption of banks and the force that they can impose through government laws that they help write (which is why more laws is exactly the problem). Take Wal-Mart for example. The problem is not that Wal-Mart doesn't have unions, it's that Wal-Mart relies on it's employees taking advantage of government welfare programs. If those programs didn't exist, people wouldn't even work at Wal-Mart because it wouldn't pay the bills, and when you don't have employees it's awfully hard to have a business.

      So that's step 1, if Wal-Mart was forced to pay actual market wages, you'd see a huge shift in the flow of money through retail. Couple that with all the laws that prevent small banks from flourishing and you have a scenario where people are literally forced, by government violence, into slave labor wages using a system that only exists because government masters have ordained the banks as rulers of the universe (with laws written by said bankers).

      The problem isn't unions (or lack thereof) all boils down to government being the problem, as usual.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 01, 2013 @10:00AM (#44153391)

      I guess this is what you get when you believe unions are evil...

      But they are! Unions have done nothing but raise costs and cause distress for all those poor whittle employers. Just think how much more work could be done without all the lazy people demanding "living wages" (they should be working 2 or 3 jobs instead of expecting decent pay!), 2 days off, working only 40 hours/week (and then if they work more many of these same fuckers expect time and a half!). And don't get me started on all the increased expenses just to make sure employees are safe at work. What country are we living in? The Soviet fucking Union!!! Even that name has that evil "union" word in it!

      But more seriously, it is quite amusing since you know the same people who bash unions would throw a shit fit if they lost their weekends, 40 hour weeks, and other benefits that the average worker now takes for granted that took unions decades to get us.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 01, 2013 @10:34AM (#44153861)

        I live in a country free from unions.

        Last month our boss did not pay out R&D salaries. "Project is late, nobody gets paid until you deliver." From experience we know
        that the first one to file a suit is fired, possibly with false accusations of sexual misconduct at work. Seen it happen.
        Too bad I am dependent on the company to stay in the country, if I quit I am thrown out within five days, with nowhere to go. So
        I am hoping I get my June and July salary in August (because the project is still not on par with management expectations).

        That is what you get without unions. Someone who can gather everyone at the company and say: "nobody works until you pay".

      • by geoskd ( 321194 ) on Monday July 01, 2013 @11:02AM (#44154227)

        But they are! Unions have done nothing but raise costs and cause distress for all those poor whittle employers. Just think how much more work could be done without all the lazy people demanding "living wages" (they should be working 2 or 3 jobs instead of expecting decent pay!), 2 days off, working only 40 hours/week (and then if they work more many of these same fuckers expect time and a half!). And don't get me started on all the increased expenses just to make sure employees are safe at work. What country are we living in? The Soviet fucking Union!!! Even that name has that evil "union" word in it!

        But more seriously, it is quite amusing since you know the same people who bash unions would throw a shit fit if they lost their weekends, 40 hour weeks, and other benefits that the average worker now takes for granted that took unions decades to get us.

        The problem that unions face is one of bad PR. When unions are going toe to toe with corporate giants, everyone cheers for the union, but many union rules pit the union and its membership directly against the supervisors and lower management. There then becomes the perception that the union protects the lazy workers against the poor hard-working supervisor (or other union members) who have to pick up the slack. That automatically creates an entire legion of people who are right at the beginning of their careers. Many of those young supervisors and mangers will eventually find their way into positions of policy making, and they wont forget how hard they had to work because the union protected people it had no business protecting. The end result is a large swath of the population willing to testify that unions are bad.

        Unions need to get much more picky about their rules. Seniority shouldn't count for nearly as much as it does. It should get you preference on vacations, and more time off than those with lower seniority, but the pay discrepancy is far too large. The unions should also figure out how to reward their hard working members at the expense of their lazier members. This will induce their members to *want* to work hard, and everyone wins. The union gets a better reputation with the world at large, the hard working members get unions protection and the best wages they can get. The lazy members get compensated less if they choose to remain lazy, and the company gets a more reliable work ethic. Most importantly, you reduce the animosity between lower management and the workers, which is critical to keeping an anti-union sentiment from growing in the population at large. Such a union would have tremendous bargaining power at the negotiating table, as they would bring an elite workforce to bear, and present a much less complicated job of managing and supervising.

      • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday July 01, 2013 @11:15AM (#44154373)

        But more seriously, it is quite amusing since you know the same people who bash unions would throw a shit fit if they lost their weekends, 40 hour weeks, and other benefits that the average worker now takes for granted that took unions decades to get us.

        I don't think any sensible person would argue that many of the things unions accomplished in years past have been unambiguously good. Furthermore a union can be an important counterweight to management excesses. My father was a union member for many years and it probably kept him employed in the face of some pretty inept management. Unions even can help make companies more productive in some cases. Conceptually I'm actually a supporter of unions.

        The problem is that many unions have ceased trying to fight for what is reasonable. They aren't fighting anymore for a reasonable work week or improved safety or to get benefits in most cases. They often seem to care little about the health and competitiveness of the company. They make the (false) argument that their own actions and demands somehow cannot have a detrimental effect on the company and that the only goal of management is to screw the union members. Once things become reasonable the unions seem unwilling to drop their adversarial position. I have NEVER seen a union go to management and say, "hey, I see that our retirement costs have become a big burden that is hurting the company. How can we help?" No, instead they simply fight tooth and nail for more even when more isn't really possible. Unions quite simply haven't realized that they've won and keep fighting to the long term detriment of everyone.

        If companies tried to change the 40 hour work week then unions likely would enjoy a surge in popularity because then they would be fighting a worthy cause for reasonable working conditions. When work conditions and pay are already are reasonable, unions need to recognize that they need to serve a much more limited purpose. Should management start behaving unreasonably then a union has every right and obligation to take measures to protect the union membership.

    • This is what you get when you believe that ever freer markets will do anything and everything more efficiently than ever before -- Chaos.

      Any company that cannot handle its own payroll should not be licensed to trade. It's that simple.

    • by sosume ( 680416 )

      Besides, isn't this a form of a Truck System []? Which is illegal in many countries, but apparently not in the US.

      • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Monday July 01, 2013 @10:24AM (#44153725) Homepage Journal

        No, I don't think it is, because it is actually US dollars held by a FDIC financial institution. The case you can make is that it's a violation of contract to pay effectively lower wages by payment processing fees being taken from the worker's side instead of the employer's. Of course, these employees probably all signed contracts that prohibit class action lawsuits(thanks supreme court!), and individual suits are more expensive than the recuperated costs.... so... basically fuck you.

    • by cfulmer ( 3166 ) on Monday July 01, 2013 @10:26AM (#44153741) Homepage Journal


      (1) This situation is often better than the alternative, where the employee gets a check and has to go to a check-cashing place, which charges even higher fees.

      (2) The card fees are generally transaction-based, so the fewer transactions, the less in fees: The guy in the article who spends $40/month on fees is a moron: He should take all the money out in one fell swoop. That might cost him $1.75, but that's far less than he would have paid at a check-cashing place.

      (3) Despite what the article says, this is usually what happens when the employee doesn't choose direct-deposit. There may be a few employers out there who are actually dropping direct-deposit, but the majority of employers are using these cards only for those people to whom they usually issued checks.

      I don't understand why so many low-income people don't have bank accounts. Free checking still exists at smaller local banks and credit unions (check out first citizens, for example). If they got bank accounts with direct deposit, they could move away from these cards.

      That said, it is disgusting how the big banks seem to be gleeful about making money on the ignorance of poor people.

      • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Monday July 01, 2013 @10:57AM (#44154157) Homepage Journal

        I don't understand why so many low-income people don't have bank accounts.

        1, if they've written bad checks, the bank simply won't give them an account. 2, when your money is in the bank, it can be easily taken without your consent - various kinds of debt, credit agencies, lawyers, even the feds. Cash money in hand (or hidden wherever), much harder for third parties to access, hence, you can live easier when in trouble. 3, banks keep shitty hours: when you need your money in the evening and you can't get it, that can be a problem when the issue at hand is diapers, etc. 4, even when "free", make an error (common with low income types), and the bank will hose you with a huge fee (or fees... they can be pretty tricky about things like the order they cash/bounce when you overdraw. 5, location can be an issue if you're not mobile. There's probably more than this too; these were just off the top of my head.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 01, 2013 @11:46AM (#44154759)

          Here's another one:

          If you're low-income, you could live in low-income housing. Which, for reasons related to abuse of the system (think about Steve Jobs' $1 salary and apply that to someone with absolutely zero shame), is not based on your actual income (cash flow), but is instead based on your net worth including savings. But it has the effect of making low-income housing dwellers either A) not save anything and never improve their lot in life, or B) save, but keep it under the mattress because keeping it in a bank makes it traceable and will get you kicked out of your home.

          I have a friend that lives in low-income housing, and he fits into scenario B. He makes probably $15k/year and definitely needs the low-income assistance. His savings is a wad of cash, locked up in a box in his closet. If he put it in a bank, he wouldn't qualify to have his apartment. But his savings isn't near enough to live anywhere else and his income is still low. He'd be homeless.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 01, 2013 @11:06AM (#44154271)

        About low-income people and bank accounts --- in many cases, they don't have one because they don't want to accumulate more than $2000. In many states, that's the asset limit for Medicaid. So if you go over that limit, you have to pay all your medical bills. So people get into the habit of living hand-to-mouth and never save any money.

        In 2014, the asset limit for Medicaid disappears! So theoretically, people will be able to open bank accounts and start saving up money. But after all these years of not saving, I don't expect any sudden shift to people being smart about money.

      • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Monday July 01, 2013 @11:25AM (#44154485) Homepage Journal

        If your credit score if bad enough (as can happen when you don't have enough money to make ends meet), you may only qualify for 'special' bank accounts with significant fees attached. Being poor can be very expensive in the U.S.

  • I thought (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 01, 2013 @09:40AM (#44153125)

    Most companies switched to direct deposit by now.

    • That assumes you have a regular bank account to which funds can be transferred. Some people don't have one and need to get paid somehow. But the for fee debit card thing is simply evil.
      • by Skapare ( 16644 )

        In some cases even direct deposit (no fee for the deposit ... the account holder's fees are the same whether pay is direct deposited or not and in some cases banks reduce fees if you sign up for direct deposit) is not an available option. It costs the employER to do direct deposit, while the banks are making these card scams cheaper or free to employERs. But I bet the bank CEOs don't get their pay on these cards.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 01, 2013 @09:43AM (#44153157)

    The NYTimes talks about the fees that come along with the use of a preloaded debit card, but in some states (e.g. California), there is a legal requirement that the employee be able to get their pay without any fees, etc. , and at a location convenient to them. No paycheck drawn on a bank in some other state with only 3 branches in that state, etc.

    Mind you, that doesn't mean that employers actually follow the rules, or that the employees, who typically are spending all their time just staying alive, will pursue this with the Dept of Labor Standards Enforcement, but at least it is the law.

  • Wage Theft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by skywire ( 469351 ) * on Monday July 01, 2013 @09:45AM (#44153177)

    Tell me again how it is the employee's responsibility to defray the employer's payroll processing costs?

    • Re:Wage Theft (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cdrudge ( 68377 ) on Monday July 01, 2013 @09:52AM (#44153267) Homepage

      I had a former employer that decided to cut direct deposit in order to cut "defray unnecessary expenses" for the 8 employees at the company. Apparently direct deposit was costing about $1 per employee every other week for payroll.

      That was also the week that I started to look for a new job. Shortly thereafter, the company let everyone go.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I owe my soul to the company store
  • by Dios ( 83038 ) on Monday July 01, 2013 @09:45AM (#44153185) Homepage

    This frustrated me this year. I received a pre-pair card from the State of Oklahoma for my OK Tax Return. I swear I filled out the direct deposit info, but perhaps I didn't (I could check my copies...). What upset me is the fees for funds withdrawals/etc. This is my money, the state and its corporate partner shouldn't be making money off me when I try to get it.

    The card did allow a single withdrawal without a fee at an ATM. I couldn't find an ATM it would work in. Finally logged in to the associated website and transferred to my banking account, with a $0.75 fee. What a crock!

    Here's the Oklahoma website pdf detailing the info: []
    and their FAQ: []

  • by schneidafunk ( 795759 ) on Monday July 01, 2013 @09:46AM (#44153197)
    McDonald's is being sued [] for allegedly paying less than minimum wage using this method.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Monday July 01, 2013 @09:48AM (#44153227) Journal
    The system of prepaid cards with fees is not the perfect solution for poor workers. But it is better than the old system of paying them with checks. Free checking is not available in most banks. Even when there is an allegedly "free" checking account it comes with a large minimum balance requirement. Fall below that and you trigger monthly fees. Further many people, mostly undocumented, don't have bank accounts and they use check cashing services that charge as much as 10% as the fees. So compared to those situations the prepaid card with fees is actually better.

    The check cashing services are also closely allied with the pay day loan services that charge interests that work out to something like 240% on annualized basis. These check cashing services are one of the main opponents of Wall street reform, they are very well organized and media savvy. I would not be surprised if this sudden interest in prepaid card fees and the media blitz is actually organized by these loan sharks.

    It costs money to process these transactions. It is not as much as the banks charge as fees and the fees can be unreasonably high. But still that is not as bad as what these check cashing services charge. I would rather work towards giving the regular banks some tax incentives to provide these prepaid cards without fees when they were given as wages for people below poverty line. Killing the whole idea of prepaid cards or demonizing the employers who provide them will prove to be very counterproductive.

    Please educate yourself about the plight of the poor at the hands of check cashing services on one hand, checking account with fees on the other hand, people not having fixed addresses or visas who can not open bank accounts in the first place before jumping on the band wagon denouncing the wage card with fees or the employers who provide them.

    • by xaxa ( 988988 ) on Monday July 01, 2013 @09:59AM (#44153371)

      The system of prepaid cards with fees is not the perfect solution for poor workers. But it is better than the old system of paying them with checks. Free checking is not available in most banks.

      Then why not fix that problem? You also enable poor people to pay bills electronically, buy things online, etc.

      British banks have to* offer a "basic bank account", which has no fees (as normal in the UK) but doesn't allow any borrowing, and so doesn't require a credit check. If you have a valid identity document, and don't have "multiple convictions for fraud", you can get one: []

      It's not that well publicised. For a while, I lived with some Eastern European immigrants in a cheap flatshare in London. They were keeping cash under the bed, but they all were able to open a basic account.

      *As is often the case in the UK, instead of a law or regulation the industry is doing something on the understanding that if they didn't, there'd be a regulation, and it'd be worse for them.

    • by JudgeFurious ( 455868 ) on Monday July 01, 2013 @10:01AM (#44153403)
      No doubt about it. Check cashing is a lucrative business. It's not just check cashing services either. A lot of pawn shops will cash your pay check for a ridiculous fee with minimal identification. Back in the early 90's I worked at a very old pawn shop in Houston for about a year. It was a terrible job that paid well but left me feeling like I always needed a shower. You basically just take complete advantage of people who are very desperate for money and who don't understand how much money you're charging them. Every Friday we'd get a flood of guys (many didn't speak English) coming in to cash very small paychecks that they worked very hard for. You would charge them 10% of what the check was and a surprising number of people were totally fine with that.
    • by vikingpower ( 768921 ) on Monday July 01, 2013 @10:03AM (#44153435) Homepage Journal

      Free checking is not available in most banks. Even when there is an allegedly "free" checking account it comes with a large minimum balance requirement.

      Please educate yourself about the plight of the poor at the hands of check cashing services

      Seen from Europe, the US banking system looks somewhat like the US infrastructure, that is: having missed quite some long-due overhauls.

    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday July 01, 2013 @10:06AM (#44153475)

      1) You can, indeed, get free checking from Credit Unions pretty easy. Some banks too. There really are places that'll do business with you for no money up front and they won't charge you fees so long as you don't do things like overdraw.

      2) They say companies are trying to do this instead of direct deposit. DD costs companies next to nothing. The Automated Clearing House (which is how they all do it) charges $0.35/transaction. This is why companies like to pay people that way. It adds just a trivial cost, and it all automated, the money comes out of their account in to yours. Well the only reason to go prepaid cards instead would be because the bank is bribing them, not because it is cheaper because the ACH cost is just fucking trivial.

      This is not a matter of being nice to poor employees, this is a matter of fucking people over.

      I could certainly understand offering it as an option. Maybe some employees would find it convenient or financially advantageous. But trying to force people on it? That is just trying to screw them over for a very minor benefit. Like I said, ACH is $0.35/transaction (or 0.06% of a minimum wage paycheck, not counting payroll tax and all that jazz if you want to look at it that way) and it is good bookkeeping wise since the transaction hits right away so you know the status of your current accounts.

    • by Formorian ( 1111751 ) on Monday July 01, 2013 @10:08AM (#44153507)

      Um I worked in banking all though College part time for 7 years (day off for half saturday work to get all my homework done). Every Bank i worked at had free checking with 0 min balance.

      Maybe it's a state thing, but NY i'm pretty sure every bank has to offer a free checking account, no min balance (maybe $100 to open but you can go to $0.01 without penalty/closing it).

      Also, why do people still use banks, use a credit union. Better terms/fee's/interest rates/etc. Don't know why people are still using banks.

      Next, most of those cards have free use. Free wherever mastercard/visa is. If you want the cash, you can go to banks that do credit card advances, and get the cash most times.

      Someone posted about OK's tax refund from their website:

      You can use the card anywhere MasterCard is accepted. At the gas station, grocery store, department store, on-line store and many more. You can also take the card and PIN number to any bank or credit union that accepts MasterCard and ask the teller for the full amount of the card balance in cash or deposit it into your checking or savings account. You can also withdraw funds from the card free of charge from any MoneyPass ATM location in Oklahoma.

      I know in NY NY issues benefits for Workers Comp/Disability on Master Card state cards. They would come in and withdraw the full amount without fee's.

  • Well, wait... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Monday July 01, 2013 @09:49AM (#44153237) Journal

    Ostensibly, this is a means to help folks who don't have a bank account to carry electronic money around. In some cases, it's on the up-and-up; many of these cards charge monthly fees that are lower than what, say, Bank of America will weasel out of you on a monthly basis. I had a NetSpend card for awhile as an experiment of sorts, and it worked out very well... enough to get me to drop my old BoA account for about a year, until I found a credit union that better suited my needs.

    OTOH, many of these cards are shady as hell, and little wonder some employers push them - the kickbacks have got to be extremely tempting, to say the least. Then again, many banks are just as bad, if not worse.

    Long-term, I see it as an overall move towards ditching cash altogether - the poor are the last barrier to such a society, and these card programs are aimed squarely at them. Most are unable to get a bank account (bounced checks, etc), they often get state assistance nowadays in the form of debit cards now. OTOH, cash has a wonderful way of getting paid without the IRS knowing about it, so I can see government's angle in wanting e-money over the regular stuff. Cash also makes it hard for police to track money flow, etc... so yeah, I can see the allure from that viewpoint. I can also see the allure of not having to print and distribute paychecks from the employer's end.

    All that said, I wonder how long it will be until cash is done away with altogether, and what the drawbacks to society will be from doing so. Cash is a beautiful means of buying things without the purchase being tracked (and yes, most times it is not only legit, but done for good reasons), and it has the advantage of being accepted pretty much anywhere (even if you have to convert currency first. Finally and most important, cash doesn't require a transaction fee every time it gets used - way too much room for abuse and corruption there.

  • by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Monday July 01, 2013 @09:55AM (#44153321)
    Any company stupid enough to drive people away with such a stupid payroll system definitely deserves to go under after leaving behind only the bottom of the barrel worst employees. Anyone with half a brain left to go work somewhere else.
    • Amen. BTW: here in the EU, such practice would not only be illegal ( it is illegal, under EU law, and therefore under the law of all member states, to NOT pay monthly wages directly into a bank account; also, it is illegal for either employer or payroller to deduce anything from a worker's wages ): people would revolt. The practice mentioned in TFA is sheer exploitation.
  • Bank fees (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bradmont ( 513167 ) on Monday July 01, 2013 @10:00AM (#44153383)
    I agree this is heinous, but it's just a symptom of a problem that's beem going on for decades. Why are bank transaction fees acceptable *at all*? Banks used to pay interest for the privilege of using/investing my money while I have it in their bank. I shouldn't have to pay to use what belongs to me, and I don't understand why people put up with it. I personally use baning services that don't charge fees; they exist, why dont more people uae them?
    • by DamonHD ( 794830 )

      Well, it does actually cost the banks *something* to securely and reliably process transactions, so if they don't charge for that then they are cross-subsidising, which some people object to even more.

      I like 'free' banking in the UK, long may it continue, but the money to run my account is almost certainly NOT being covered by interest my bank earns on the contents of my current ("checking") account, so somebody else is likely subsidising me, quite likely someone poorer than me that keeps being stung with d

  • by sl4shd0rk ( 755837 ) on Monday July 01, 2013 @10:15AM (#44153601)

    So.. if this is anything like a real Debit/Cred card, the same security holes would seem to apply. Holes you wouldn't have with paper check or direct deposit. When my paycheck has been spent and I didn't make the withdrawl, who is going to believe me?

  • by sribe ( 304414 ) on Monday July 01, 2013 @10:16AM (#44153619)

    It started with some states, getting rid of both checks and direct deposit for unemployment benefits. Yeah, you get your card, and there's some way to get some cash for free, but there's all sorts of limits and restrictions. You either use it to buy stuff so that the merchants end paying the issuing bank, or you get your cash to your checking account in one payment and it costs you.

    As an employer I can attest that payroll services have been pushing this on me hard since at least 2008. They're obviously getting a commission, or they would not be promoting it so aggressively. My default is always direct deposit, but I do pass along the paperwork for the debit card to new hires--this results in a blank uncomprehending stare as they process the idea; "why in the hell would I want to do that???" ;-)

    If the banks could charge us fees for paying in cash, they would. From their point of view this is the next best thing.

  • by WOOFYGOOFY ( 1334993 ) on Monday July 01, 2013 @11:01AM (#44154211)

    Please don't tell me these organizations aren't stocked to the gills, from head to tail with sociopaths. It's long past time we stop spending money to bail them out, undo the damage in other people's lives they've done, and in this case spend time writing new legislation to stop them from doing something they know perfectly well they should not be doing - exploiting the lowest paid workers in society for everything they can , until the Congress gets around to making it illegal.

    It's so outrageous and such an egregious evacuation of all moral responsibility you have to ask yourself is it just a money grab until Congress acts or is it deliberately designed to provoke the legislation-reaction and designed to be used as a bargaining chip, something their political allies in Congress can use to bargain in exchange for some other , less immediately outrageous but more systemically poisonous , "deregulation".

    The whole issue is virtually made-for-Democratiuc moral outrage and gives the Republican something to "trade away", something for the Democrats to parade around as a victory and all the while Wells Fargo, Goddamn Sachs and Bunch of Assholes are gorging themselves in their box seats watching their favorite blood-sport, raping the poor and defenseless.

    Don't doubt for a minute is the META level the 1% thinks at, this is exactly what preoccupies them. When what you personally decide to do or not do results in legislation, then that's something worth considering the implications of. Of course, you and I don't spend time doing that because what we decide to do this morning doesn't result in legislation, but if for some reason it did, it wouldn't be long until you understood that you have the power to create horses for the horse-trading bazaar Congress ultimately is.

    That is, when Congress is working at all.

    I would go further and say that instituting these fees is an example of collusive signalling between banks. One does it and the others see. Each knows internally it's going to be legislatively forbidden soon enough. They recognize in it a Congressional bargaining chip, as do members of both political parties who know how to hit a softball when one is lobbed at them.

    No one has to say anything explicit to anyone. Someone makes a move and everyone else follows on. From a certain, naive perspective, it's market based response, a decision to enter a profitable market on the part of competing players.

    In reality it's an play to influence legislation on another, much more potentially profitable issue . No one can prove anything. There was no collusion to be proved (and we all know what high standards for proof the DoJ has for the coke snorting class ) and no one is coordinating to do anything.

    I don't buy it. This goes well beyond the mere presumed sociopathy of Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon and their henchmen. I smell a too-stinky rat. Far far too stinky.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson