Oakland's new city ID cards come bizarrely finanically trapped
They're debit cards, but with an insane number of hidden fees designed to strip the poor of any wealth they might try and save.
A sample of the new ID card, which uses the MasterCard network.
The city of Oakland has begun offering ID cards that can also double as prepaid debit cards. Not inherently a bad idea, except for the fact that these cards come loaded with fees that will chisel away at the user’s funds.
Our cohorts at Consumers Union recently talked to the San Francisco Chronicle about the abundance of fees on the new Oakland ID cards, like the $2 charge for enrolling it in a federal benefits program, or the $1 charge for each time federal benefits are direct-deposited onto the card.
The cardholder also pays $.75 on each purchase, a $2.99 monthly fee, a $1.50 fee for using in-network ATMs, $1.75 for each call to customer service, and a $1 fee to load the card with cash at a Western Union location.
“I’ve never seen anything like that before,” says Michelle Jun, a senior attorney for Consumers Union, adding that most debit cards charge either a monthly fee or a per-purchase fee, but rarely both. “It seems like they’re gouging those recipients.”