There has been a lot of news regarding payroll cards lately.  So, I’ve decided to provide some tips and questions for payroll cardholders:

1. Can you avoid fees?

Figure out if there are ways to avoid fees for all the ways you would use a payroll card.  Visits to ATMs, buying things at stores or online, paying bills, calling customer service, and getting information on how much money you have.

If it’s looking pricey, you’ll need to ask:

2.  Is there a cheaper way to get your pay?

Can you choose to get a paper check or give your employer an account number to a checking account or prepaid card account.

*a quick note about prepaid cards: some prepaid cards may be far less expensive so it may be worth shopping around if prepaid is the only option BUT payroll cards have guaranteed federal protections against loss and fraud (your card is lost or stolen-you have better guarantees your money is safe)

It is true there are many other issues with payroll cards that have high fees, or when consumers are directly/indirectly pressured to sign up for payroll cards to get paid, or when consumers aren’t provided an option on the how they will get paid- automatically receive their pay via a payroll card.  That discussion is part of a broader, ongoing policy conversation.