COVID-19

Big banks pledge overdraft relief so customers reap full benefits of COVID-19 checks

Nova Safo Apr 16, 2020
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Stimulus checks are fair game for private debt collectors. But big banks are offering relief for negative balances. Joe Raedle/Newsmakers
COVID-19

Big banks pledge overdraft relief so customers reap full benefits of COVID-19 checks

Nova Safo Apr 16, 2020
Stimulus checks are fair game for private debt collectors. But big banks are offering relief for negative balances. Joe Raedle/Newsmakers
HTML EMBED:
COPY

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

What’s going on with extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?

The latest: President Donald Trump signed an executive action directing $400 extra a week in unemployment benefits. But will that aid actually reach people? It’s still unclear. Trump directed federal agencies to send $300 dollars in weekly aid, taken from the federal disaster relief fund, and called on states to provide an additional $100. But states’ budgets are stretched thin as it is.

What’s the latest on evictions?

For millions of Americans, things are looking grim. Unemployment is high, and pandemic eviction moratoriums have expired in states across the country. And as many people already know, eviction is something that can haunt a person’s life for years. For instance, getting evicted can make it hard to rent again. And that can lead to spiraling poverty.

Which retailers are requiring that people wear masks when shopping? And how are they enforcing those rules?

Walmart, Target, Lowe’s, CVS, Home Depot, Costco — they all have policies that say shoppers are required to wear a mask. When an employee confronts a customer who refuses, the interaction can spin out of control, so many of these retailers are telling their workers to not enforce these mandates. But, just having them will actually get more people to wear masks.

You can find answers to more questions on unemployment benefits and COVID-19 here.

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