Jobless hit with bank fees on benefits

Jobless hit with bank fees on benefits

There are 31 comments on the TwinCities.com story from Feb 20, 2009, titled Jobless hit with bank fees on benefits. In it, TwinCities.com reports that:

For hundreds of thousands of workers losing their jobs during the recession, there's a new twist to their financial pain: Even as they're collecting unemployment benefits, they're paying bank fees just to get ...

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Tom Dash hole

Monroe, LA

#1 Feb 20, 2009
According to the article, users can avoid all fees by taking the money out as cash through a teller, or by using the ATM issued by the bank.

Pre-paid Visa cards also come with a service charge. The last time I bought one from WalMart I think the charge was $3. So, one idea to save money would be for the person to take the money out as cash, put it into a pre-paid Visa card (for 3 bucks) and then spend with no fees after that.
But that would require the person plan ahead and not just use the card on impulse....which leads back to the root problem...poor planning

My guess is the guy made two $20 withdrawls at an ATM not owned by the bank issuing the card. He could have made one transaction for $40 saving him $3. Or he could have used an ATM of the issuing bank and been charged nothing. Bottom line is that someone owns the ATM and it has to be paid for (let’s not even talk about profit nowadays). Chances are he went to his local ‘stop and rob’ and used a private ATM.

Oh poor me....whoaaaaaa is me!
Jim

Ely, MN

#2 Feb 20, 2009
Is this any worse than the government charging "income" tax on unemployment benefits?

Why don't they just reduce the benefit and eliminate a step in the process?
paul

Minneapolis, MN

#3 Feb 20, 2009
Oh yeah, banks need even more ways to come up with extra cash (fees) for upper management and CEO salaries, bonuses, stock options and retreats. Plus those corporate jets don't come cheap either. Along with other perks. I'm at a point, just nationalize the frigging banks already. Nothing justifies their greed anymore!
Ms V

Saint Paul, MN

#4 Feb 20, 2009
My friend just went on unemployment. He doesn't have a bank account. He was issued a debit card. I am not aware that MN has fees imposed, at least at this time. If he got a paper check he would have to pay a fee to cash it wherever he went. Nothing like $#!++ing on someone when they are already down.
You can have the state deduct your taxes from your check - but they don't advertise it so then when you file taxes you get to deal with it then and you are usually screwed.
It should either be a free debit card, a mailed check that can be cashed at no charge, or the state should set up shop in each county and disperse the funds in cash (although I am not a fan of this idea). As a single-zero filer in MN, I don't want my tax dollars used to screw the less fortunate.

Since: Feb 08

Saint Paul, MN

#5 Feb 20, 2009
Ms V wrote:
You can have the state deduct your taxes from your check - but they don't advertise it so then when you file taxes you get to deal with it then and you are usually screwed.
It is well known AND well publicized that taxes will be calculated on unemployment...and withholding is an option. All it takes is a checked box.
hmmm

Saint Paul, MN

#6 Feb 20, 2009
boycott
Bubbles

Saint Paul, MN

#7 Feb 20, 2009
Ms V wrote:
My friend just went on unemployment. He doesn't have a bank account. He was issued a debit card. I am not aware that MN has fees imposed, at least at this time. If he got a paper check he would have to pay a fee to cash it wherever he went. Nothing like $#!++ing on someone when they are already down.
You can have the state deduct your taxes from your check - but they don't advertise it so then when you file taxes you get to deal with it then and you are usually screwed.
It should either be a free debit card, a mailed check that can be cashed at no charge, or the state should set up shop in each county and disperse the funds in cash (although I am not a fan of this idea). As a single-zero filer in MN, I don't want my tax dollars used to screw the less fortunate.
Setting up all of these programs costs money. Did you even read the article? The states are looking to the banks to run their programs to save money. It really isn't that hard to take the debit card to a branch and get the balance in cash. Why do the rest of us have to pay for other people's convienence? I feel bad for anyone that is out of work right now, but why is the state obligated to make their transactions easy?
Ms V

Saint Paul, MN

#8 Feb 20, 2009
Because they used to send a damn check - which was a lot easier. I personally have never collected unemployment, however, employers pay big money for unemployment insurance for their workers and if they lay them off, that is what it is there for. Either charge higher premiums or factor that in when determining benefits.
I went to the unemployment website and I am not impressed. The fact alone that there is NO ONE in person that an applicant can see EVER is a problem. It is assumed everyone has Internet. Not true. My friend goes to the library to access it - that is if he can get a terminal that isn't being hoarded by unsupervised children playing video games. You call unemployment on the phone and by and large they are not helpful. The job resource center is disgusting: it is not clean, the keyboards are caked with who knows what, and the staff are pretty much clueless. Add that to not being lucky enough to have personal transportation, it is an onerous process at best.
They are looking at banks to save money, the same banks who won't disperse the bail-out money, and in reality it is just a way to pass the buck (no pun intended) to privatize it so the State can be absolved of wrong-doing. Never mind that the banks are making plenty of money off of the various fees they charge - and doing on the backs of those who can least afford it. I know - let's just forget about employers having to pay unemployment insurance and just tell the unemployed "too bad, so sad" and be content that we "saved the State money".
highland guy

Saint Paul, MN

#9 Feb 20, 2009
Ms V wrote:
My friend just went on unemployment. He doesn't have a bank account. He was issued a debit card. I am not aware that MN has fees imposed, at least at this time. If he got a paper check he would have to pay a fee to cash it wherever he went. Nothing like $#!++ing on someone when they are already down.
You can have the state deduct your taxes from your check - but they don't advertise it so then when you file taxes you get to deal with it then and you are usually screwed.
It should either be a free debit card, a mailed check that can be cashed at no charge, or the state should set up shop in each county and disperse the funds in cash (although I am not a fan of this idea). As a single-zero filer in MN, I don't want my tax dollars used to screw the less fortunate.
How hard is it to open a checking account and decline the debit card?
Ms V

Saint Paul, MN

#10 Feb 20, 2009
How hard is it? Perhaps not that difficult. He hadn't had a bank account because when he was with Wells Fargo they saddled him with fees he was not informed of (sold him a "free" checking account), and when he protested they refused to work with him so he closed the account. Now WF has a "lien" so to speak against him so when he has gone to open an account elsewhere he was refused because of what WF did.
Ms V

Saint Paul, MN

#11 Feb 20, 2009
Yes, "Bubbles" I did read the article, perhaps you didn't. Look at how much money the banks make off this (cut/paste from actual article):

"In Missouri, for instance, 94,883 people claimed unemployment benefits through debit cards from Central Bank. Analysts say a recipient uses a card an average of six to 10 times a month. If each cardholder makes three withdrawals at an out-of-network ATM, at a fee of $1.75, the bank would collect nearly $500,000. If half of the cardholders also dial customer service three times in any given week (the first time is free; after that, it's 25 cents a call), the bank's revenue would jump to more than $521,000. That would yield $6.3 million a year."

I will tell my friend to take it all at once so the greedy MF's don't get any more of his meager unemployment while trying to find a job. Yeah, let's encourage just getting all the cash at once instead of people only taking what they need at the immediate moment. Can hardly wait until my friend gets jumped getting his funds.

JTY

Since: Sep 08

Olathe, KS

#12 Feb 20, 2009
Ms V wrote:
Yes, "Bubbles" I did read the article, perhaps you didn't. Look at how much money the banks make off this (cut/paste from actual article):
"In Missouri, for instance, 94,883 people claimed unemployment benefits through debit cards from Central Bank. Analysts say a recipient uses a card an average of six to 10 times a month. If each cardholder makes three withdrawals at an out-of-network ATM, at a fee of $1.75, the bank would collect nearly $500,000. If half of the cardholders also dial customer service three times in any given week (the first time is free; after that, it's 25 cents a call), the bank's revenue would jump to more than $521,000. That would yield $6.3 million a year."
I will tell my friend to take it all at once so the greedy MF's don't get any more of his meager unemployment while trying to find a job. Yeah, let's encourage just getting all the cash at once instead of people only taking what they need at the immediate moment. Can hardly wait until my friend gets jumped getting his funds.
I have not paid a bank fee in 20 years. Why is it so much harder for those with these cards? Call the bank 3 times a week? When was the last time you had to call your bank?
highland guy

Saint Paul, MN

#13 Feb 20, 2009
Ms V

send your friend back to wells fargo.
https://www.wellsfargo.com/checking/index2
or any other convenient bank.

at the link above he only needs $100 to open an account. I imagine the others are similar.

don't know what fees he was charged or why he was unable to work out thing with the bank (lien against what?), but that's another whole topic.
Large Carbon Footprint

Delano, MN

#14 Feb 20, 2009
Jim wrote:
Is this any worse than the government charging "income" tax on unemployment benefits?
Why don't they just reduce the benefit and eliminate a step in the process?
The Republican alternative to Obama's stimulus would have eliminated tax on unemployment benefits.
tom dash hole

Monroe, LA

#15 Feb 20, 2009
JTY wrote:
<quoted text>
I have not paid a bank fee in 20 years. Why is it so much harder for those with these cards? Call the bank 3 times a week? When was the last time you had to call your bank?
you're probably one of those rich, white folk that have a picture ID ,too.
Ms V

Saint Paul, MN

#16 Feb 20, 2009
$100 bucks is a lot of money when you are getting $168/wk for unemployment - before taxes.

JTY: I am guessing you have a checking account, never write over the specified amount, go to the bank in person, and probably have enough reserve to not have to worry about those things. My credit union does have online banking but that doesn't allow for deposits or withdrawals - more to check your balance and see what has cleared. I normally don't have to call my credit union, but when I do I appreciate the fact they don't charge me - part of the reason I use a credit union.

An aside: are any of you old enough to remember when the interest on credit cards was deductible? It was a long time ago but perhaps we need to revisit it.
doomster

Saint Paul, MN

#17 Feb 20, 2009
Ms V wrote:
Because they used to send a damn check - which was a lot easier. I personally have never collected unemployment, however, employers pay big money for unemployment insurance for their workers and if they lay them off, that is what it is there for. Either charge higher premiums or factor that in when determining benefits.
I went to the unemployment website and I am not impressed. The fact alone that there is NO ONE in person that an applicant can see EVER is a problem. It is assumed everyone has Internet. Not true. My friend goes to the library to access it - that is if he can get a terminal that isn't being hoarded by unsupervised children playing video games. You call unemployment on the phone and by and large they are not helpful. The job resource center is disgusting: it is not clean, the keyboards are caked with who knows what, and the staff are pretty much clueless. Add that to not being lucky enough to have personal transportation, it is an onerous process at best.
They are looking at banks to save money, the same banks who won't disperse the bail-out money, and in reality it is just a way to pass the buck (no pun intended) to privatize it so the State can be absolved of wrong-doing. Never mind that the banks are making plenty of money off of the various fees they charge - and doing on the backs of those who can least afford it. I know - let's just forget about employers having to pay unemployment insurance and just tell the unemployed "too bad, so sad" and be content that we "saved the State money".
I feel bad for any person out of work during these times. Your friend is certainly job hunting with one hand behind their back if they don't have a car. Do they only apply for jobs at companies on the bus lines? Good luck to them, thats a tough spot to be in.

JTY

Since: Sep 08

Olathe, KS

#18 Feb 20, 2009
tom dash hole wrote:
<quoted text>
you're probably one of those rich, white folk that have a picture ID ,too.
Are you kidding? Those suckers are like $16, and only last for 4 years.

JTY

Since: Sep 08

Olathe, KS

#19 Feb 20, 2009
Ms V wrote:
$100 bucks is a lot of money when you are getting $168/wk for unemployment - before taxes.
JTY: I am guessing you have a checking account, never write over the specified amount, go to the bank in person, and probably have enough reserve to not have to worry about those things. My credit union does have online banking but that doesn't allow for deposits or withdrawals - more to check your balance and see what has cleared. I normally don't have to call my credit union, but when I do I appreciate the fact they don't charge me - part of the reason I use a credit union.
An aside: are any of you old enough to remember when the interest on credit cards was deductible? It was a long time ago but perhaps we need to revisit it.
This entire story is filled with misrepresentations and out right lies. They make it sound like there are no way to avoid these fees. Then the blame the banks for praying on "human nature" to be lazy. Then they point at people questioning about "banks infused with tax payer money", like the money was just given to the banks instead of a preferred stock purchase made by the US government (which will now be paid dividends on those stock).

P.S. The fee numbers were pulled out of someone's rear end. Bank's "could" make up to this amount of money "if" people do this that many times.
highland guy

Saint Paul, MN

#20 Feb 20, 2009
Ms V wrote:
An aside: are any of you old enough to remember when the interest on credit cards was deductible? It was a long time ago but perhaps we need to revisit it.
I hardly think that's the kind of behavior we want to reward as a tax incentive. It's not working out so well for mortgage interest. encouraging debt is simply a bad policy.

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