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Unemployment is one thing, but getting charged to use the prepaid card your weekly benefits are on is another.Just ask Shawana Busby, the out-of-work resident in South Carolina at the centre of Janell Ross’ Huffington Post write-up about Bank of America’s latest indiscretion: charging the unemployed for using their prepaid cards out-of-network. Busby estimates she’s paid about $350 in fees, despite the fact this is all she has to live on.
Bank of America may have just done away with its $5 debit card fee, but with states like South Carolina partnering with big banks to save on printing and mailing costs (an estimated $5 million in South Carolina’s case, according to Ross), the unemployed, many of whom are unbanked, are feeling the fallout.
“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 centre: 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.”
What do you think, is Bank of America back to its shady old tricks? Or does the bank provide a service to cash-strapped states?