Big banks pledge overdraft relief so customers reap full benefits of COVID-19 checks
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Stimulus payments have begun showing up in the bank accounts of tens of millions of people. That’s given rise to concerns about private debt collection. If you owe, the money the government is sending you is fair game.
But big banks have pledged that the money from the relief checks will not go toward negative balances or bank overdraft fees. JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup say stimulus payments will not be used to make up for overdrawn accounts.
Many Americans have begun receiving up to $1,200 from the federal government as direct deposits.
But the $2 trillion CARES Act, which authorized the payments, did not exempt private debt collectors from coming after that money. Bank fees and overdrawn accounts count as private debt.
But the big banks say they’ll give their customers a temporary break on negative balances. That comes on top of other relief, such as deferred loan payments and waived fees for various transactions.
Americans are paying close attention to the expected stimulus money, which began arriving Wednesday. Online systems were overwhelmed at a number of banks as customers checked their accounts for the funds.
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
Millions of Americans are unemployed, but businesses say they are having trouble hiring. Why?
This economic crisis is unusual compared to traditional recessions, according to Daniel Zhao, senior economist with Glassdoor. “Many workers are still sitting out of the labor force because of health concerns or child care needs, and that makes it tough to find workers regardless of what you’re doing with wages or benefits,” Zhao said. “An extra dollar an hour isn’t going to make a cashier with preexisting conditions feel that it’s safe to return to work.” This can be seen in the restaurant industry: Some workers have quit or are reluctant to apply because of COVID-19 concerns, low pay, meager benefits and the stress that comes with a fast-paced, demanding job. Restaurants have been willing to offer signing bonuses and temporary wage increases. One McDonald’s is even paying people $50 just to interview.
Could waiving patents increase the global supply of COVID-19 vaccines?
India and South Africa have introduced a proposal to temporarily suspend patents on COVID-19 vaccines. Backers of the plan say it would increase the supply of vaccines around the world by allowing more countries to produce them. Skeptics say it’s not that simple. There’s now enough supply in the U.S that any adult who wants a shot should be able to get one soon. That reality is years away for most other countries. More than 100 countries have backed the proposal to temporarily waive COVID-19 vaccine patents. The U.S isn’t one of them, but the White House has said it’s considering the idea.
Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?
As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy continues reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.
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