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JPMorgan Chase Now Warning Wash. Welfare Clients Of 85-Cent Fee

JPMorgan Chase ATMs now 'remind' welfare clients of an 85-cent ATM fee. Photo by Austin Jenkins
JPMorgan Chase ATMs now 'remind' welfare clients of an 85-cent ATM fee. Photo by Austin Jenkins

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Six months ago, JPMorgan Chase said it wasn't "technically feasible" to alert Washington welfare clients to an 85-cent ATM fee. But as of last month the bank has now programmed its cash machines to warn of the fee at the time of the transaction.

In May of this year, we reported that JPMorgan Chase was collecting more than $100,000 a month in ATM fees from Washington cash assistance clients. But the 85-cent charge to withdraw cash didn't show up on the ATM screen or the client's receipt.

A tip led to our story which prompted lawmakers to act. They passed legislation requiring JPMorgan to disclose the fee at the time of the cash withdrawal.

Our original tipster, Therese McLeod, says the ATM now tells her "remember" if you proceed you'll incur an 85-cent fee.

"I just thought the word 'remember' started off the message was pretty funny because how are people supposed to remember when they were never told in the first place," McLeod says.

The 85-cent fee is disclosed in the information packet that comes with electronic benefits cards. Washington is currently renegotiating its contract with JPMorgan in an effort to lower this fee.

On the Web:

Chase Bank Collecting Hundreds Of Thousands In ATM Fees From Welfare Clients:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=136072292

Washington Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Card:

http://www.dshs.wa.gov/onlinecso/ebt.shtml

EBT card brochure:

http://www.dshs.wa.gov/pdf/Publications/22-310.pdf

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.