Editor’s note: It’s generally people with lower incomes that get paid this way
On paper, it couldn’t be more convenient: Instead of a check every two weeks, your employer hands you a debit card, depositing your pay automatically and freeing you to spend it immediately.
But then there are the fees: $1.50 to withdraw cash, another $2.50 if you do it from a non-company ATM, the $2 monthly account fee. For workers making low wages, those fees can eat up a sizable portion of their income, a fact that has sparked lawsuits in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.
With one of the nation’s largest banks headquartered here and a slew of local public employers already signed up for similar programs, what role will Pittsburgh play in the payroll debate?
“It really is consistent with best business practices of going as paperless as possible,” said Brad Korinski, chief counsel at the Allegheny County controller’s office. ”On the consumer end of things, the debit cards provide immediate and guaranteed access to funds. You’re not waiting for the post office to get it to you.”