Washington Welfare
12:22 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

ATM fee for welfare recipients could be a thing of the past

Originally published on Thu March 22, 2012 12:00 am

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The 85-cent ATM fee that JPMorgan Chase charges Washington welfare clients could soon be a thing of the past. The state hopes to have a deal by the end of the month with JPMorgan on a new, lower cost contract for electronic benefits.

We first reported on the 85-cent fee because JPMorgan Chase wasn’t disclosing it at ATM machines. Now the fee is disclosed. But critics say it amounts to a tax on the poor.

For months Washington has been renegotiating its contract with JPMorgan. Babs Roberts leads that effort and says a deal is close at hand –- one that may eliminate the fee altogether.

But the advocacy group Burst for Prosperity wants the state to go one step further: insist JPMorgan offer welfare clients free banking. The organization’s Karan Gill argues a bank account is an important step toward moving people off welfare permanently.

“We thought this idea of having no-fee bank accounts kind of gives them an opportunity or a vehicle to build a personal safety net,” Gill says.

Babs Roberts with the state agrees getting clients banked is a priority. But she says free accounts is not part of the current contract renegotiations.

On the Web:

EBT card information:

http://www.dshs.wa.gov/pdf/Publications/22-310.pdf

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