The City of Oakland is one of the first municipalities in the country to issue a combination identification card with a prepaid card feature and unfortunately did so without any input from consumer advocates.  As a result, the card had many anti-consumer features and was loaded with fees.  At first, the City of Oakland resisted making any changes, but after continued criticism, news stories and Consumer Union’s Michelle Jun  advocating on behalf of consumers, the City has relented.

On Monday, Michelle Jun, a senior attorney with Consumers Union who is the lead expert on prepaid cards, said the changes are a “step in the right direction” but that the card still has many fees. She believes a card with a government endorsement should be among the most affordable on the market. But compared with many other cards, Oakland’s “fees are definitely high.”

 

The changes:
  • Eliminating $2 fee the first time someone enrolls the card for government benefits 
  • Elminating the $1 fee each time the card is loaded with government benefits.  I
  • Adding a cap to transaction fees at $12.50 a month.  (Users will still get charged 75 cents for each transaction until they reach the cap).

 

If you have heard of similar cards being proposed in your city please contact Defend Your Dollars tmarvin@consumer.org