EPPICard: Less phishing, more administrative fees

A man submerged in murky financial waters is about to bite on the hook of the EPPICard phishing scam.

Even if you aren't snared by an EPPICard phishing scam, the fees can still get you. (Photo: Flickr)

Unemployed Americans looking to access their state benefits have had a difficult time with the EPPICard debit card system in the past. The ATM card-style distribution system was designed to make it easy for the unemployed to access their benefits money. Unfortunately, numerous media reports have indicated that the program failed to go off without a hitch. As recently as June 20, the Fayetteville Observer reported that administrative fees plague unemployed consumers who can ill afford to pay.

When EPPICard does NOT amp up your budget

We already know that unscrupulous third parties have, in the recent past, exploited holes in the EPPICard debit card system to create a phishing scam to dupe uninformed consumers into revealing sensitive personal data for the purposes of identity theft. Those issues were supposedly addressed by state agencies and EPPICard officials. Now welfare consumers can access their quick payday funds without worry – unless they have to use their EPPICards multiple times per month or they enter their EPPICard PINs incorrectly. One Fayetteville Observer reader reported that making more than two EPPICard cash payday withdrawals per month from his bank of choice (Wachovia) produced an “excess use” fee of $1.50. Entering an incorrect PIN generates an “ATM denial” fee of 50 cents. While these possible fees for EPPICard pay day advances are reportedly spelled out on the various state Employment Security Commission websites where EPPICard is used, it’s clear that the unemployed don’t need this kind of nickel and dime exploitation that’s passed off as “service.”

Charging the unemployed for state benefits

Larry Parker of North Carolina’s Employment Security Commission told the Observer that there are “plenty of ways” to use EPPICard without being charged additional fees for a quick payday. What he failed to mention is why consumers should be subjected to fees in the first place. How is it that state governments failed to negotiate the consumer exploitation elements out of their contracts with big banks?

Don’t call EPPICard on the phone, either

Calling EPPICard, of courses produces an additional charge. Currently, 19 states use the EPPICard cash payday system, and all of them have displeased consumers to some degree. As Personal Money Store has suggested before, perhaps a return to paper checks and direct deposit is indeed the way to go.


Fayetteville Observer

Your EPPICard account isn’t locked. Don’t bite the phish-hook… (Editor’s Note: Buckle up, preaching ahead)

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