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Payroll Cards

Payroll cards are provided by employers and allow employees to access the money from paychecks using cards that look like bank debit cards. Payroll cards can be more convenient than using check cashiers, because they can be used to withdraw cash from ATMs and be used to buy things. However, some payroll cards charge more fees than others.


  • Pay Me How? What You Should Know About Payroll Cards

    This article covers trends in the payroll card market, benefits and risks of using the cards, applicable state and federal laws, and tips for advocates assisting workers on payroll cards. Originally published in the July-August 2014 issue of the Clearinghouse Review: Journal of Poverty Law and Policy. Click the link below for the full article.

  • Payroll Card Issue Paper

    PAYROLL CARD LEGISLATION FOR STATES Millions of employees are paid by payroll card, as the number of payroll cards have grown with increasing popularity in the past decade. However, the employer’s benefit could be the employee’s burden if the cards have high and numerous fees, offer payday-loan type credit features or are simply too complicated Continue Reading

  • CU and NCLC’s Supplemental Principles for Payroll Cards

    CU and NCLC’s Supplemental Principles for Payroll Cards Consumers Union and the National Consumer Law Center worked with the American Payroll Association and Electronic Payment Coalition to develop ten jointly agreed upon core principles for payroll cards. Those joint principles represent serious progress toward ensuring employees receive important consumer protections when they are paid using Continue Reading

  • Joint Principles for Payroll Cards

    Joint Principles for Payroll Cards The American Payroll Association, Consumers Union, the Electronic Payroll Coalition, and the National Consumer Law Center have identified and agreed to ten core principles regarding the use of payroll cards. These core principles are essential to promote a fair, safe, and convenient method of delivering wage payments to employees. Our Continue Reading

  • Public Benefits and Wages on Prepaid Cards: Better Protections Needed Now

    Consumers Union and National Consumer Law Center call for better consumer choices and protections against high fees associated with government- and employer-issued prepaid cards

  • The Consumers Union Model Payroll Card Law

    Consumers Union and NCLC’s Payroll Card Legislation for StatesConsumers Union and the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) have developed model legislation to provide stronger protections for consumers who issue and utilize payroll cards. We are ready to work with states to strengthen payroll card protections. For additional information on what to look for in payroll Continue Reading

  • New Rip-offs

    Have you been ripped off by unfair lending or financial practices?

  • Protect all your money if your bank fails

    Consumer groups call on the FDIC to apply deposit insurance to all prepaid cards, payroll cards, and bank-issued gift cards.

  • Where’s my money: Consumer protections needed for new ways to pay

    Five things to do today with payments law.

  • Questions for Employees to Ask About Payroll Cards

    A payroll card is a card that allows you to access the money from your paycheck using a card that looks like a bank debit card. The money is held in an account, and you withdraw it or spend it by using the card. Here are some questions to ask if your employer offers you a payroll card.

Press Releases

  • Safeguards needed on payroll cards

    CU joins the National Consumer Law Center and the Electronic Payroll Coaltion to outline needed safeguards.

Blog Posts

  • Who Uses Prepaid Cards? Studies Say Millennials

    The largest generation appears to be using prepaid cards. A spring survey by TD Bank found that one in three millennials uses a prepaid card, echoing the findings of an earlier study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Prepaid cards look and work much like traditional debit cards, but aren’t linked to a traditional Continue Reading

  • A Quick and Dirty Payroll Card Primer

    Many workers – maybe you – get paid by electronically. If you have a bank account, your pay probably gets direct deposited to your account. But for folks who don’t have bank accounts, a payroll card, a type of prepaid card, may be an option. Payroll cards look and work much like debit cards, but Continue Reading

  • Let the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Continue To Do Its Job

    (Cross-posted from Consumer Reports Online in an article by Stephen Saltzman) On July 21, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will mark its fourth anniversary. The consumer financial watchdog, created by Congress in the wake of the financial crisis caused by shady mortgage lenders and Wall Street abuses, has done a lot for consumers in just Continue Reading

  • Data Breaches Driving You Crazy? California DMV gives consumers new reason to worry.

    Uh, oh. It’s happened again: another data breach. Consumers who used the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) online credit card payment system may find their credit card information is at risk. The California DMV’s Public Information Officer, Armando Botello, says that the DMV was “alerted by law enforcement authorities to a potential security issue Continue Reading

  • Why The CFPB Is The Best Thing To Happen To Americans Since J.Law

    Jennifer Lawrence is pretty awesome, right? For several years now she’s excelled at playing characters that excite the American imagination- they’re young, vibrant, and struggle against difficult odds or crafty opponents.  The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) is also young, rather vibrant, and also goes to battle with powerful forces but, despite all this, the Continue Reading

  • Transaction Monitoring and Credit Monitoring in Light of the Target Breach

    Target has begun to offer security breach victims free credit monitoring for a year now that approximately 110 million Americans may have had their data compromised due to a security breach. We’ve advised consumers to conduct regular transaction monitoring to prevent fraud, and now some consumers have been asking us, “What’s the difference between transaction Continue Reading

  • Payroll Card Tips

    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 Continue Reading

  • Paychecks: Paper or Plastic?

    More and more employers are doing away with the traditional paper paycheck. What does this mean for you?

  • CU calls on states to protect employee wages on payroll cards

    Consumers Union has just released a revised model state law to encourage better protections for employees who receive wages on payroll cards.

  • Senate debate on financial reform heats up

    Now that the Senate floor debate on financial reform has started in earnest, supporters are ofering a number of amendments to strengthen the bill so that it better protects consumers from unsafe financial products and creates new rules to stop banks from getting so big that they could threaten the financial system.

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