The Great American Finance Scam (Well, One Of Them!)

I wonder how many Americans, as they pick up their burger and fries from the drive-thru of the local McDonalds, realize they are contributing to poverty in America.

No doubt, many are now suspicious of the “financial sector”, Wall Street, and bankers in general. J P Morgan Chase is not a name to conjure confidence in the heart of the average US citizen.

McDonalds, however, is as American as apple pie, or the burgers it serves up by the million every year. This great name has been supplying cheap, fast food, since Richard and Maurice McDonald opened their first restaurant in San Bernadino in 1940.

Ask most Americans to find a connection between McDonalds and J P Morgan Chase, they’d look at you mystified. Unsurprisingly, neither company would wish it to become general knowledge that, for all practical purposes, they are one and the same.

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What drew this to my attention was a recent email from Change.Org. The transcript is copied below:

McDonald’s: Stop paying employees with debit cards loaded with fees

By Natalie Gunshannon
Dallas, Pennsylvania

I was looking forward to my new job when I started working at a McDonald’s location in Pennsylvania in April, but I was disappointed to find out that in order to be paid, I would have to activate a JP Morgan Chase debit card with heavy fees attached.

I’m a young single mom. When I started my job at McDonald’s, I knew that I would only be making slightly more than minimum wage. I didn’t expect that the only way I would be paid would be on a debit card that would dock pay that I earned through lots of different fees. When I asked if McDonald’s could pay me through direct deposit to my local credit union, which doesn’t charge withdrawal fees, I was told that the debit card was the only option.

These cards come with a lot of fees: from fees for cash withdrawals to balance inquiries to lost or stolen cards to overdrafts and even inactivity fees. The federal government has helped reduce fees on credit and debit cards that most consumers use, but those protections don’t apply to the kinds of cards companies like McDonald’s are using to pay employees. In the end, I feared that once all of the fees from getting my own hard-earned wages through this card were taken out, my pay would go below minimum wage.

I decided to leave my job at McDonald’s not because I didn’t like the people, but because I think it’s only fair that I get paid for all of my work there. Since I quit, I’ve found out that paying employees through these cards with fees attached is a growing trend among dozens of major employers. The New York Times reported that last year roughly 4.6 million active payroll cards were issued by companies like McDonald’s.

Like millions of other workers, I deserve to get fairly paid for my work. When I stood up and spoke out against the lack of choices for employees, the local franchise in Pennsylvania that I worked for announced that it would offer employees more options for payment. But I’ve seen that employees at other McDonald’s franchises as far away as Milwaukee are still dealing with the same problems and that’s not fair. I think everyone should be given the choice of what they want to do with their hard-earned money.

I think McDonald’s should be a leader nationwide in ensuring that employees get to keep their own wages in full and I’m concerned for other McDonald’s employees who don’t have that option. Will you join me in calling on McDonald’s to ensure that all employees nationwide can keep their wages and chose to say no to fee-heavy cards?[2]

‘Fees for cash withdrawals’; fees for ‘balance inquiries’; fees for ‘lost or stolen cards’; fees for ‘inactivity’. What a great little money-earner! And a super new way to claw back a percentage of your employee’s wages after they’ve paid any tax on it. Though, given the pittance these people receive, it’s unlikely they’ll come close to entering any tax bracket.

McDonalds is just one of many large corporates heavily into this scam, literally at the expense of the poor and underpaid. Frankly, I consider Natalie’s petition to be aimed in the wrong direction. She should be demanding that the United State’s government outlaw this practice forthwith, demand immediate reimbursement of all monies stolen from employees in this manner, and stiff jail sentences for those corporate CEOs continuing the practice.

Given the vast sums being spent to little effect on the so-called “War on Terrorism”, maybe its about time the US public began to revise their opinion as to who the true enemies of the American people really are?

[1] “Chase McDonald’s Finance”

[2] “McDonald’s: Stop paying employees with debit cards loaded with fees”

4 Replies to “The Great American Finance Scam (Well, One Of Them!)”

  1. What has this country become? I find it inconceivable that companies would pay their employees with anything but a check or cash and that workers would accept this. Yet, 4,600,000 people get paid with these debit cards. We’re returning to a master-slave economy.

    McDonalds is not the only company doing this. Taco Bell, Walgreen and Wal-Mart do. And Chase in not the only bank supplying the cards. Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup also do.

    Deeper and deeper we sink into the mire.

  2. Hear hear!!

    “…its about time the US public began to revise their opinion as to who the true enemies of the American people really are?”

    You never wrote truer words, RJ!

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