MARIETTA, GA — Banks are levying private taxes on cash to defraud the poor. It goes like this – you get a paycheck, only to be told by bankers that you are required to accept less than the face value of the check. The banks call this a “service fee.” I call this fraud.
When people accept payment for services or work performed, or perhaps for goods sold, they normally accept a check. The person who accepts the check has an expectation that they will get the face value of the check. Banks created checks in order to convince people to allow their money to be held for safekeeping (and to be able to reap a profit on the float value of the deposits that are held and lent out for interest). Enter in the concept of check cashing. The idea was that people could cash the checks at no charge and account holders would pay fees to the bank for the privilege of not having to keep and handle cash on hand.
Enter in the poor economy and thieving banks’ “Law of Expanding Fees.” If there is any money to be saved somewhere, banks will create a new fee to “spend” that money to their coffers. People, tired of this, ditched the banks in favor of saving money by using cash.
Now enter in a new booming population called the “unbanked.” And the concept created by thieving bankers that the number on the checks are not the true value of the check, and the false concept that people holding checks in their hand are subject to contracts that were agreed to by the account holders but NOT by the people holding checks written on those accounts upon which the checks were issued. Now, imagine that these people holding the checks are, in fact, holding paychecks. Can you see the extortion and fraud yet? Either give up your security and privacy or pay the tax called a “check cashing” or “service” fee.
Here’s where the extortion bit comes in… let’s say a person is living hand-to-mouth, has to pay a utility bill by 5pm or face a cut-off fee and deposit requirement that can double or triple what is owed, and has gotta cash that check… s/he is now under duress. No choice exists because these fees are not disclosed before the person accepts the check, and there is no way to have an account-holder correct the now-less-than-face-value check.
Let’s look at fraud and racketeering. If a bank will not honor a check for it’s face value, as is, then that is not legit. If all the banks do this, that is a joint effort in restraint of choosing cash. No one should be forced to pay a fee in order to convert a check to cash.
How bad is this problem? A Wells Fargo teller once quoted me $7.50 and a SunTrust employee once quoted me $5. Not too much of a fee, but if you look at, say, a paycheck for, say $200, a $5 fee is 2.5% and a $7.50 fee is 3.75%. If it’s $100, the fee is 5% and 7.5%. If you’re a student and you get a $50 check? The fee becomes 10% and 15% – sky high.
Why should you care? Because banks are getting record profits and NONE of that money is getting spent back into the communities, as jobs continue to get exported and bankers continue to beat criminal charges while the rest of us continue to lose homes and savings.
I call for a united effort to protect what little wages workers DO eke out of wage slavery, because the buying power of the lower and middle classes is what has kept America financially well off for the last few centuries. The rich have never boosted or supported the economy, only drained it instead by manipulating the markets and the lending cycles.
The solution to this problem is to protest (it’s worth your time – Bank of America was forced to end a $5 check card fee) and demand that banks stop fleecing the poor – checks should be cashed for what they say on their face, or it’s fraud.
I call for a #UnitedAmerica for justice against corruption.
I am Amy Barnes, a campaigner for civil rights and rule of law.
What do you stand for, and are you ready to say NO to theft?