State Eyeing Change in Contract Charging ‘Junk Fees’ to Jobless

Almost 44,000 people who receive unemployment benefits through the Tennessee Automated Payment (TAP) card pay JPMorgan Chase & Co. 25 cents to $1 almost every time they use it, whether it’s to withdraw cash, make purchases or check balances, reports The Tennessean.
Consumer advocates say that unfairly fattens the bank’s bottom line at the expense of those who can least afford to pay. One national consumer group calls the card among the worst of its kind in the country, saying it has the most “junk fees.”
JPMorgan Chase declined to say how much it has collected from jobless Tennesseans or respond to the critics, instead issuing a general statement saying that it’s “flexible in the way any fees/costs are borne in our programs.”
But the bank’s fees also have drawn the attention of Tennessee officials, who say changes could be on the way. State officials hope to reduce or eliminate at least some of the fees when they negotiate a new contract, possibly with a different bank, later this month.
The state has sought new proposals and has set a contract deadline for June 28.
../JPMorgan Chase beat out five other bidders to win the state electronics benefit card contract seven years ago. It was first applied to child-support payments but was expanded to include unemployment benefits in December. Now, 43,990 jobless Tennesseans get benefits through the card, roughly 4 of every 10 beneficiaries, state figures show.
Most people use direct deposit, while just 498 claimants still get paper checks, the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development said.
….The state saves $3.2 million in annual mailing costs, said Mark Stiles, director of the state’s unemployment insurance claims system. JPMorgan Chase also pays the state 10 cents a month for each active account.

One thought on “State Eyeing Change in Contract Charging ‘Junk Fees’ to Jobless

  1. Brian Paone

    Citi does the same thing with the plasma donation cards they use at CSL Plasma here in town. I believe it’s $0.25 per credit transaction (with one free per donation – how nice) and $0.50 per debit transaction. There are also fees for ATM withdrawls and (get this) even a fee if your card is declined.
    No one should have to pay to use the money they’ve earned. Especially the most vulnerable people that really need access to every penny they can get.

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