Wash. Welfare Clients Will No Longer Pay 85-Cent ATM Fee

Aug 8, 2012

JPMorgan Chase will no longer charge Washington welfare clients $.85 to withdraw cash at an ATM. That fee is abolished in a renegotiated contract the state has signed with the New York-based bank to continue providing cash benefits electronically.

A Washington cash assistance client named Therese McLeod first brought the ATM fee to our attention in May of last year. She was outraged that JPMorgan didn’t disclose the fee at the ATM.

“Sounds like a racket to me. Don’t we have laws against that?” McLeod asked.

Records showed JPMorgan was collecting more than $100,000 a month in fees from Washington welfare recipients. Lawmakers quickly intervened and required the bank to disclose the charge at the time of the transaction. Now the state has gone one step further.

"The $.85 fee is eliminated and the clients will no longer see that on a receipt because they will no longer be charged that,” says Babs Roberts, with the Department of Social and Health Services.

She says the state’s new contract with JPMorgan not only eliminates the $.85 fee, it also lowers the amount the state pays the bank. That’s a move that could save Washington taxpayers millions of dollars through 2019 when the new contract expires.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network