Wash. Lawmakers Urge DSHS To Drive Down ATM Fees

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Welfare recipients in Washington state currently pay 85-cents each time they withdraw cash from a Chase ATM. Photo by Austin Jenkins hide caption

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OLYMPIA, Wash. – A bipartisan group of Washington lawmakers wants JPMorgan Chase to lower the ATM fee it charges cash welfare recipients. Currently these low-income clients pay 85-cents each time they withdraw cash.

Washington state contracts with JPMorgan to provide welfare clients cash assistance on reloadable debit cards. Last year, we found the bank wasn’t disclosing the 85-cent fee at the time of the ATM transaction. In response, the Washington legislature required disclosure.

Now Democrat David Frockt is leading the charge to get that fee lowered. He says, “We want to make sure that whatever services were being provided we’re not just shifting that onto people at the very bottom of the scale where a few dollars a month in extra charges can actually make a difference to them.”

Records show Washington welfare clients combined spend –- on average –- more than $100,000 a month on ATM fees. Frockt and several of his colleagues recently sent a letter to Washington’s Secretary of Social and Health Services. It urges him to drive a hard bargain with JPMorgan to bring down the cost of the ATM fee.

Neither the agency nor the bank will comment on current talks to renegotiate the contract.

On the Web:

Washington Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Card:

http://www.dshs.wa.gov/onlinecso/ebt.shtml

Chase government debit cards:

http://www.jpmorgan.com/cm/ContentServer?c=TS_Content&pagename=jpmorgan%2Fts%2FTS_Content%2FGeneral&cid=1125855840905

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

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