It Starts With the Poor, and Then Is Inflicted Upon Workers: The Payroll Card Edition

If you haven’t heard the latest assault on workers involves the use of payroll cards (boldface mine):

But few cases provide a better example of just how direct that relationship can be than that of Natalie Gunshannon, who says her employer put her in a situation that forced her to pay fees to one of the big banks just to access her wages.

Gunshannon, of Dallas Township, Penn., filed a class action lawsuit this week against a McDonald’s franchise where she worked, claiming that she and other workers were paid not through check or direct deposit, but through a pre-paid JPMorgan Chase debit card. Along with her card, her lawsuit alleges, she received a list of fees she’d incur when she used it: $1.50 for ATM withdrawals; $5 for over-the-counter cash withdrawals; $1 per balance inquiry; 75 cents for online bill pay and $15 if she lost the card or had it stolen from her.

“I need to receive all the money I earn,” Gunshannon, who was being paid around $7.44 an hour, told a local newspaper. “I can’t afford to lose even a few dollars per paycheck. I just think people should be paid fairly and not have to pay fees to get their wages.”

What I haven’t seen reported (or the link made) is that this policy was tested on a group even more needy than the working poorfood stamp recipients. In other words, JPMorgan Chase test piloted this on the hungry and is now expanding it to the working poor.

Can the middle class be far behind?

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5 Responses to It Starts With the Poor, and Then Is Inflicted Upon Workers: The Payroll Card Edition

  1. Amber says:

    I worked at a Gamestop that gave us payroll cards. They weren’t even through a big bank, and they weren’t Visa or Mastercard based. They were Maestro, whatever the hell that is. I could pull my money out, IF I could find an ATM that would accept it. But I could never see what my paycheck had been, and you had to know the exact dollar amount it had on it, otherwise you were leaving some on it. It wouldn’t let you put in, say, $300 for a $295 paycheck and just give you the 295. We didn’t get paystubs until the week after we were paid. Not surprisingly, at this time in my life, I struggled to pay rent in spite of three jobs, I went hungry most of the time, and my car nearly got repossessed. Nevermind the number of times I ran out of gas in it. We need to be paid by check or direct deposit, plain and simple.

    • Cathy W says:

      So to get your money into an actual bank account, you had to pull out and redeposit the cash? yeesh.

  2. Lindsay says:

    How is this legal?!?!

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