Pre-Loaded Benefit Cards Nickle And Dime Unemployed

Pennysylvania’s unemployed are getting nickled-and-dimed by pre-loaded unemployment benefit debit cards that come come pre-loaded with hidden fees.

The Comerica Bank MasterCard debit card used by the unemployment benefit program has fees like: $1.50 every time you make a withdrawal, after one freebie at Wachovia or PNC, $1.50 each time you transfer $ from the debit card to a checking account, $.40 to check your balance, $.50 every time your card is denied after one freebie, $4-$12 for replacement cards after losing your card twice, and $1 fee every month if you go without using the card too long.

Replacing checks with debit cards saved the state $2 million in processing and postage. Recipients can bypass all the fees by filling out additional paperwork and opting for direct deposit. Only 54% of Pennsylvanians have done that. Perhaps that number would be higher if someone told them about all the fees upfront.

Hidden cost of unemployment benefits [Philly.com] (Thanks to Eric!)