American Prospect Executive Editor David Dayen told Hill.TV’s “Rising” that a pilot program launched by the Postal Service last month will not only compete with check cashing services offered at convenience stores but also give the option to purchase gift cards.
The Postal Service began offering banking services at four pilot locations on Sept. 13. The program allows customers to cash business and payroll checks and place those funds on reusable gift cards.
“You can get to a point where you effectively have a bank account,” Dayen said. “You have a debit card, you can pay bills with it if you combine it with their money order products, you can even transfer … peer to peer. You could give a money transfer at one post office and have somebody pick it up at another.”
The American Postal Workers Union has been lobbying for postal banking services since 2016, but Dayen said former Postmaster General Megan Brennan “simply ignored the request.”
When Postmaster General Louis DeJoyLouis DeJoyDavid Dayen details unique features of Postal Service banking 20 state attorneys general sue over Postal Service slowdown Mail delivery about to get slower, temporarily more expensive MORE, who was appointed by the Postal Service’s Trump-nominated board of governors in June 2020, took the top job, the union found an unexpected ally, Dayen said.
“When Louis DeJoy came on board last year, even though the Postal Workers Union were vociferous critics of many of the policies he instituted, they engaged him on this particular concept of financial services, and DeJoy liked the idea,” Dayen said.
The pilot program is available at one location in four East Coast cities: Washington, Baltimore, Falls Church, Va., and the Bronx, N.Y.
Dayen says the Postal Service hasn’t released any data regarding its use, but he expects the program to expand in the coming months.
“My understanding is that after the holidays, they’re going to expand this out to the entire breadth of those four pilot cities,” Dayen said. “So every postal location within those cities will have this capability. And they’re going to add marketing muscle— they’re going to actually advertise the product.”