Increasing numbers of employers are switching to direct deposit, and will no longer offer paper checks to their employees. If you do not have a bank or credit union checking or savings account, you still have options. Many Americans are turning to the numerous prepaid visa and master cards that are available.
Two well advertised cards that seem to be pretty popular are the Rush Card, and Green Dot. Cash can be loaded, and re-loaded onto these cards at convenience, and drug stores, for a small fee. Direct deposit is free. A benefit of a prepaid card, is that there is no chance for overdrafts, as often happens with bank accounts. These cards are accepted anywhere you see a Visa or Master card logo.
Dollar Tree however, no longer accepts Master card, only Visa. I found this out when attempting to use my paypal Master card. The clerk told me she did not know the reason, but according to information on the Internet, Master Card withdrew Dollar Tree privileges, because the retail chain was charging customers a minimum purchase fee.
There are also cards, which have been set up specifically for payroll direct deposit. The United States Government has an option for those who receive Social Security, retirement, disability or supplemental benefits. It is in the form of the Direct express card. This card is free, but you cannot load money onto it. The sole purpose of this card is to receive government benefits. Withdrawing funds from a Post Office ATM has no charge.
While the website states that you can pay bills with the direct express card, apparently Appalachian Power/American Electric Power, does not accept this method. I have given rides to an acquaintance several times, to pay their electric bill at a store, because their power bill payment would not go through.
There is also the EPPICard. Consumers cannot purchase an EPPICard, as they can the other prepaid cards. EPPICards must be offered by an employer, to employees who do not have a checking or savings account. I know that The Virginia Employment Commission, (for unemployment benefits), and Toys R US, use the EPPICard.
With the banking industry increasing fines and fees, as well as checking credit ratings before opening accounts, they are in a sense, cutting off their nose to spite their face. They are limiting potential customers, as well as alienating current ones. I believe, over a period of time this situation will become a backlash for banks and credit unions.
The downturn in the economy, has caused American s to become more selective with their hard earned dollars. Fees in an overdrawn bank or credit union account, will be taken out first, eating up an individual’s finances. If an account is closed, and direct deposit stopped, consumers have a delima.
I know people who drive, or asked to be driven, all over town to find somewhere to cash a check. Many banks charge a fee to non customers. Others, absolutely will not cash a check if you do not have a current account in good standing with them. Companies that do cash checks, such as payday lenders, often charge a fee of 3-12 %. Money that is deposited directly onto a card, has no fees, and no chance of overdraft fees. The money is often at one’s disposal after midnight.
This eliminates the need to wait until a financial institution opens then next morning, and most bills can be paid from the card from the comfort of home, which saves time, and money for transportation. Card holders may also make Internet purchases, irregardless of their credit rating. Prepaid cards, offer consumers an alternative, where they are not at the mercy of the banking business.
If used properly, you may have a Master card or Visa, and checking/savings account all at your own disposal. Should you decide to take advantage of these cards, please read all pertinent information, especially the fine print. Talk to a customer service representative, so you will know exactly what you are up against and will not be blindsided.