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March 22nd, 2021
Andrew Yang and Assembly Member Latrice Walker Urge New Yorkers to Avoid Cashing Stimulus Checks at High-Fee Check Cashing Services; Recommend Depositing Checks at Banks or Credit Unions Instead
**RELEASE** March 22nd, 2021
New York, NY—Today, Andrew Yang and Assembly Member Latrice Walker came together outside union-owned Amalgamated Bank in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, to call on New Yorkers to avoid check cashing services and to instead deposit their stimulus checks at financial institutions that provide no- or low-fee checking account options.
11% of New Yorkers remain unbanked, meaning they often rely on check cashing services, which can cost families $600 in unnecessary fees annually. Several banks, including Amalgamated, provide no-fee checking accounts, accept IDNYC (rather than a driver’s license), and provide options for individuals with poor credit ratings. A recent study found that 22% of Americans were mailed their Economic Impact Payments last March. Those individuals paid a combined $66 million in fees, or about 3% of each check. The report approximated that cash cashing services charged nearly $50 in fees for cashing those checks. New Yorkers can find additional resources on how best to deposit their stimulus checks here.
Said Andrew Yang, “Getting cash relief for New Yorkers has been my mission since Day One and I’m proud checks are starting to arrive. But this is just a start. As mayor, I’d create a cash relief program and start the People’s Bank of NYC so that nobody gets stuck with extra bank fees or penalties just for being poor. Assembly Member Walker and I encourage all New Yorkers to avoid predatory check cashers right now and instead find an institution listed on NYC.gov that doesn’t charge fees so that New Yorkers can keep every penny of their stimulus check.” Said Assembly Member Latrice Walker, “We should all be celebrating that cash relief is such a huge part of the American Rescue Plan. We have Andrew to thank for that. Brooklyn needs it. We have a long road ahead and Andrew and I will continue to push for policies such as cash relief at the city, state, and federal level to ensure that New Yorkers in Bed Stuy, Brownsville, and beyond are not left behind any longer.” The American Rescue Plan includes two major cash relief programs -- the one-time direct cash payments, totaling $242 billion, and the $300 per month per child tax credit, which is expected to cut child poverty in half. Additionally, in just the past few weeks in the region, Ulster County, NY and Paterson, NJ each announced cash relief pilots to take place over the next year. And NYU also announced plans to establish the Cash Transfer Lab to study the impact of cash relief. Yang’s municipal cash relief program would be the biggest of its kind in the country. The $1 billion initiative would provide the 500,000 poorest New Yorkers with $2,000 annually on average. In addition, to broaden access to financial services, Yang has proposed establishing a public bank. The People’s Bank will also initially provide $100 million in affordable loans to small businesses throughout the city.