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NPR: WA State Welfare Recipients Pay Millions in ATM Fees

By Erica C. Barnett December 20, 2010

Over at NPR, Austin Jenkins of the Washington Ledge reports that Washington State welfare recipients spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per month on ATM fees at ATMs that aren't owned by Chase---the bank that distributes Washington State's cash benefit.
Chase ATMs are free to the user – the state does pay a back-end fee. But when a welfare recipient goes to a non-Chase ATM a surcharge often kicks in. Over the past six months alone, Washington welfare recipients have spent $1.6 million on ATM surcharges. That’s more than $3 million a year.

Troy Hutson: “I am surprised with some of the choices that clients are making.”

Troy Hutson runs Washington’s welfare program at the Department of Social and Health Services. He says welfare clients often do have a choice. Chase, which took over Washington Mutual, has more than 350 ATM machines throughout Washington. But Hutson says it would be inappropriate for the state to cut-off access to non-Chase ATMs.

Read the whole, rather shocking, story here.
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