The U.S. Postal Service is expanding into paycheck cashing services at four East Coast locations in a pilot program that resembles a policy pushed in the “Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations” from the 2020 presidential campaign.
In April, some lawmakers on the left, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., unsuccessfully pushed for a postal banking pilot program to be included in a spending bill.
But the U.S. Postal Service established this particular program without congressional authorization or informing Congress, raising concerns among Republicans, one of whom called it a “gateway to socialized banking.”
The test pilot began on Sept. 13 at four U.S. Postal Service retail locations in the District of Columbia; Falls Church, Virginia; Baltimore; and the Bronx borough in New York City.
In a statement last April, Ocasio-Cortez said her district in the Bronx would benefit from postal banking.
“So many families in my community in the Bronx can’t afford to be banked. So instead, they go into checking cashing places and pay relatively large fees – money that’s desperately needed for food, rent and diapers,” Ocasio-Cortez said in April. “What we are asking the post office to do here is very basic – checking cashing, money wiring and taking out money from an ATM without a penalty, but it’ll make a dramatic difference in so many communities and so many families. It’ll also provide needed revenue to USPS.”
The pilot program is considerably less ambitious than what the progressive lawmakers have proposed. The four postal service locations are participating in a new service that allows customers to use payroll and business checks to purchase gift cards. It’s to provide customers with an alternative to traditional check cashing, according to the Postal Service.
The customers at these locations can buy a single-use gift card of up to $500, using their business or payroll check as payment. No cash will be disbursed, according to the USPS, which started the pilot in collaboration with the American Postal Workers Union.
Story continues at: USPS turning to Check Cashing