All American Check Cashing collects approximately $1 million in check-cashing fees each year. But according to federal regulators, the company, which also provides payday loans, obtains those fees through deceptive means, including refusing to tell customers what they will be charged and lying to prevent consumers from backing out of transactions. [More]
Instead of imposing new fees on their existing customers, banks have an exciting new idea: attract new customers and charge them fees. Specifically, banks are looking to low-income and lower-middle-income people who might normally use check-cashing stores or check-cashing services in retail stores to gain immediate access to their money. These customers may not make large deposits, but what customers who want access to their cash right away do generate are lots of fees. [More]
Though there is a decided lack of actual bread crumbs found at the scene of most crimes committed by consumers (outside the bread factory/sandwich shop), once in a while there are some pretty obvious clues available to investigators. In one such recent case, police say a man accused of robbing a Connecticut check cashing establishment left them a pretty big hint, by way of his paycheck stub. [More]
The once-great US Postal Service continues to sink into obscurity and financial oblivion, a destiny that will probably not be saved by all the postage stamp price increases in the world. But could the USPS keep its head above water by offering the financial services that are generally reserved for run-down strip malls? [More]
“When I see you, I’m gonna f*** you up,” says debt collector “Mickey,” pictured at left, on the answering machine of a guy who bounced a check. WTSP obtained the messages, some of the worst debt collector recordings I’ve ever heard, and you can listen to them here.
Consumers in Washington D.C. have apparently flocked to credit unions since the district outlawed payday lending last year. Payday lenders whined that lending without 300% APRs was utterly unaffordable, but credit unions are proving that it’s possible to make long-term, low-dollar loans with interest rates as low as 16%.
The guys who brought you “The Ghetto Big Mac” have a new video up about the the hilarious and not-so-hilarious realities behind check chasing joints (with guest appearance by yours truly, Ben Popken). Besides the part where Internet Celebrities Rafi and Dallas try to cash an oversized check at one of these places, what I like best about this video is that it actually makes a sound case for check cashing places at times. If there’s no banks around in a poor neighborhood, what other choice do you have? Especially when banks have constructed all sorts of fees to discourage patronage by lower-income customers. Like Dallas says in the vid, “You really know you’ve made it when you move from check cashing fees to ATM fees.”
Here’s the fees a MoneyGram check-cashing place near me will charge you to cash your checks:
There are three types of unbanked or underbanked people: