ATM Fee For Wash. Welfare Recipients Could Be A Thing Of The Past

Mar 23, 2012

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.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network