Raoul brokers deal to protect workers who use payroll cards

SPRINGFIELD, IL –Illinois  State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) moved Illinois one step closer to protecting workers paid using payroll cards, a method previously unregulated in the state. The Senate approved an agreement he reached with banks and business groups to limit excessive fees and unreasonable practices associated with the cards so employees are not vulnerable to exploitation when accessing and spending their earnings.

“State government has a responsibility to ensure that the earnings of the low-wage workers most likely to be paid using these cards are not unfairly diminished through high fees and hidden terms,” Raoul said. “My message to the banks and card issuers was that they don’t have to nickel and dime employees out of their hard-earned pay, one fee at a time, in order to recover their reasonable costs. I’m pleased we were able to negotiate these very strong protections for Illinois workers.”

The legislation would require employers using payroll cards to disclose all applicable terms and fees and allow their workers to choose a different payment method if they would rather not use the debit card-like products. Fees for overdrafts and point-of-sale purchases would be prohibited, and employees would be entitled to two fee-free declined transactions each month. A worker would be allowed to withdraw his or her entire paycheck once every two weeks without penalty and check the card’s balance over the phone at any time for no additional cost.

The House must now approve changes made to the legislation in the Senate; a favorable House vote will send the measure to the governor.