I’ve worked hard (as many others have) to eliminate credit cards, stay away from large fee charging banks, and generally protect my money, so when I recently learned that the EDD is paying people with debit cards, I got a bit angry (see: http://www.sfbg.com/2011/09/13/banking-misfortune?page=0,1.)

Debit Card

Now I think the idea of giving people an option other than a check or direct deposit is commendable, and I hope that the EDD at least did this to save some money (although I can’t imagine how this could possibly be more cost effective than an EFT, since somebody has to pay all those bank fees that B of A loves to charge). And maybe I’m just being old fashioned, like a generation ago when the move from cash to paychecks first happened, or again when direct deposit became the norm.

But I don’t think this is really the same, because when a check (or a direct deposit happened), you weren’t an involuntary customer of Bank of America. You were a customer of whatever bank you wanted to be. And if you weren’t a Bank of America customer, they couldn’t count you on their customer roles.

Overnight, B of A has a huge influx of people they can market to. They have an additional revenue stream as well, since these are debit cards, so if you use them at a merchant, that merchant has to pay fees to get their money.

Will the next step be elimination of paychecks ? Maybe the IRS would like that: your money would pass through B of A, they could directly pull taxes from there since it is the Bank of America ….

This just feels plain wrong to me.