Fast food workers are being charged fees to access their wages, thanks to growing numbers of American employers — especially retailers and restaurant chains — issuing prepaid debit cards instead of a check or direct deposit. In order to get their money, some workers must go to an ATM to withdraw their cash from the card, which oftentimes requires paying a bunch of different fees. The New York Times reports that restaurant chains like Taco Bell and McDonald's, in addition to large retailers like Wal-Mart and Home Depot, sometimes pay workers with prepaid debit cards.
One provider of these cards charges $1.75 to make a withdrawal from most ATMs, $2.95 for a paper statement and $6 to replace a card. Some workers even have to pay $7 inactivity fees for not using their cards. As a result, employees occasionally end up making less than the minimum wage once the charges are taken into account.
While being paid via debit card is an option and not a requirement for most of the companies that offer it, sometimes employees don't realize that they have a choice. Deyanira Del Rio, an associate director of the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project in New York, tells the Times, "We hear virtually every week from employees who never knew there were other options, and employers certainly don't disabuse workers of that idea."
· Paid via Card, Workers Feel Sting of Fees [NYT]
· All Money Coverage on Eater [-E-]