Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Payroll Card Programs Receive Unwarranted Criticism

The Sunday New York Times featured a piece called Paid via Card, Workers Feel Sting of Fees, a sweeping look at perceived too-high fees of prepaid payroll cards. It was a story that rankled many in the prepaid industry – mostly for not providing concrete data that compared and contrasted card fees with checking accounts and payday loans.

Patrice Peyret, the CEO of BankingUP, wrote a rebuttal for Huffington Post. In his essay, Peyret systematically dissects the New York Times article, pointing out that the story does not provide fee data for the specific cards it mentions and failing to adequately emphasize that employees are given options other than payroll cards.

In addition, he says, the story did not provide concrete figures comparing sophisticated prepaid programs with more expensive alternatives, such as high-interest payday loans. (The article did quote a Citigroup spokeswoman who noted that cashing a $500 paycheck would likely end up paying a $15 or 3% fee at a check-cashing service.)

“Finding a few people to say they're upset and citing the general growth of prepaid cards as a proof of the problem's scope just places all payroll programs under the same umbrella and paints them with a black brush,” Peyret writes.

Read Payret's full rebuttal here.

Peyret’s essay is a powerful example of what can happen when the industry tells its story in a highly visible way. We’d love to see more industry leaders making their voices heard, starting with our blog and LinkedIn groups. Contact Ryan Geswell for more details. 

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