Lawmakers want fees waived if stimulus is paid via debit cards

Lawmakers want fees waived if stimulus is paid via debit cards
FILE - In this Nov. 2, 2020 file photo, sunlight shines on the U.S. Capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Source: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

If Americans are going to receive the latest coronavirus stimulus payment through a government-provided debit card, they should not have to pay fees, U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Leesburg, and other lawmakers said in a letter to the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service.

Congress has approved new stimulus payments of up to $600 per individual. Wexton and nine colleagues from the House Financial Services Committee wrote to the federal agencies, asking whether they plan to use debit cards to make the direct payments.

“If so,” the lawmakers wrote, “we ask that you explain how you plan to improve communication, ensure there are no fees for the user, and simplify the agreement they have to sign, removing any mandatory arbitration clauses.”

The Treasury introduced prepaid debit cards during the last round of coronavirus stimulus payments authorized under the CARES Act. The cards were issued last spring to millions of Americans, while paper checks were issued to others. The cards, issued through a private vendor, came with numerous restrictions and fees.

The Virginia Mercury is a new, nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization covering Virginia government and policy.