Rarely would a story about payment devices make the marquee on CNN.com, but this story has moved from the money section to the front page . . . presumably because it's so outrageous. Some states are apparently foisting upon their unemployed citizens the fee-ridden abuse of debit cards. Want your money faster (don't we all?!), accept benefits on a pre-loaded debit card--sounds attractive. I doubt the states tell their UI benefit applicants about the dark underbelly of this device. Fee revenue is now the center of the card payment world. States allowing banks to impose these fees (sub silentio) on their hapless unemployed citizens is almost as bad as Bobby Jindal rejecting an increase in UI benefits for Louisiana citizens from the feds!
A bit of good news: for the first time, my poll of my Payment Systems class revealed that fewer people use debit cards rather than credit cards, and those who do have a good explanation--banks require at least 6 debits per month to waive the account maintenance fee for their "free" checking accounts. Death to debit cards and the crappy EFTA and Reg E consumer non-protection regime!