How to Use Your EDD Debit Card to Piss Off Bank of America
The Rich Are Getting Richer and the Poor Are Getting Poorer
Americans across the country are fed up with billion-dollar corporations accepting bailouts while flying on their corporate jets to attend meetings in order to determine how many workers to terminate and how many jobs to ship overseas.
Corporate executives are writing themselves end-of-year bonuses that 99% of Americans will never earn in their lifetime. Americans are tired of billion-dollar corporations and the wealthiest 1% of Americans paying less of a percentage in taxes than a family of four trying to survive on $50,000 a year.
While corporations are earning record profits quarter after quarter since the stock market crash, these same corporations continue to lay off workers, cut hours, cut benefits, and decrease wages, all the while accepting subsidies from the very workers that they have laid off.
If you don’t believe that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, would it change your mind if you knew that Bank of America makes $408,000 whenever unemployed California residents swipe their debit cards? What if I told you that BofA makes a boat-load more from California residents who are sick or who have sick family members?
If that upsets you, I suggest you continue reading to find out exactly how this corporate bank is profiting from millions of Americans and what you can do to stick it back to them.
Introducing the California EDD Debit Card, Courtesy of Bank of America
Since July of 2011, Californians who receive unemployment, state disability, or paid family leave MUST use Bank of America’s Visa debit card to receive their payments. Beneficiaries have no choice but to accept this form of payment regardless of whether or not a beneficiary has their own financial institution where they have a checking or savings account.
While Americans across the country are occupying Wall Street, unemployed Californians—many of whom have lost their homes from shoddy, unethical mortgages written by Bank of America—are making that same bank wealthier every time they swipe their EDD debit cards.
Making Millions Off of "Convenience" Fees
If every Californian on unemployment swipes their EDD Visa debit card just once or pays one bill via the internet with that card, Bank of America makes $408,000 in convenience fees. And if each person swiped their EDD card three times, then the corporate bank makes over $1.2 million dollars in convenience fees. And all of this is simply for the "privilege" of accessing the funds they were given by the government.
How Bank of America Makes Money From People Accessing Unemployment Benefits
Commonly referred to as a convenience fee, a swipe fee, or an interchange fee, all credit card companies are allowed to charge merchants a fee for accepting electronic payments, and these fees are often passed on to the consumer. Swipe fees currently run between 21 and 24 cents (down from 44 cents) per transaction. These fees total about $20 billion dollars a year for big banks. Additionally, banks are allowed to charge merchants .05 percent of a total transaction as a fraud loss recovery charge.
And while Bank of America did not pay California for the contract or vice versa, the bank makes $408,000 in convenience fees if every Californian on unemployment swipes their debit card just once or pays one bill via the internet with their EDD Visa debit card. Two swipes each and BofA makes $816,000 in convenience fees; three swipes and BofA makes over $1.2 million dollars in convenience fees. How convenient indeed!
These figures do not include fraud loss recovery charges or Californians who are on state disability and paid family leave. It only includes the 1.7 million Californians who are unemployed. Nice one, BofA.
If you happen to be a Californian receiving unemployment benefits, disability, or paid family leave, you must refrain from using the EDD debit card, whether by swipe or bill paying via the internet.
Be Sure to Activate Your EDD Card by Phone—Don't Activate It Online!
There are two choices to activate your EDD debit card, either by phone or online. Use the phone. If you activate the EDD debit card via the internet, there is a long list of personal information gathering in order to attempt to gain you as a customer. Protect your privacy and activate it over the phone instead.
How to Use Your EDD Debit Card to Piss Off Bank of America
Obviously, you shouldn’t use your EDD debit card to swipe or to pay bills. If you have a bank, there is no reason why you should be using Bank of America’s debit card, since they are capitalizing on people who are down on their luck—people like you.
Don’t forget that BofA was a recipient of TARP (the bank bailout) and thanked you by raising your interest rate on your credit card!
Activate Your Card Over the Phone and Avoid Doing So Online
There are two choices to activate your EDD debit card, either by phone or online. Use the phone. If you activate the EDD debit card via the internet, there is a long list of personal information gathering in order to attempt to gain you as a customer.
Call BofA’s customer service number to activate the EDD debit card: 1-866-692-9374. Assign yourself a PIN number.
Request Your Money From a Bank of America Branch
Walk yourself into any BofA branch and request the money.
Note: You will need to know the exact amount on the card, since BofA doesn’t have this information.
I recommend that you ask for twenties in lieu of hundreds, because if you are handed a counterfeit $100 dollar bill, BofA will not reimburse you for your loss.
Take Your Money Elsewhere and Do Not Open Up an Account With Them
Make sure to give a firm, unpleasant “no” when the BofA teller asks you if you would like to open up a checking or savings account. If you are tempted, keep in mind that due to the recent cap in convenience fees from 44 to 24 cents, BofA plans to recoup its losses by charging their customers a $5 monthly service charge fee for those who use their debit cards.
Take your money to your financial institution and deposit it there.
How to Link Your Checking Account to Your EDD Debit Card
After you have taken out your money and deposited it at your financial institution, visit Bank of America’s website and link your checking account to the debit card.
An important point to note is that neither Bank of America nor the EDD informs you that your EDD Visa debit card account number is your card number and your password is the last six digits of the card number. That's because BofA wants to make it very inconvenient for you to link your bank account to the debit card. The longer your money sits in the bank's money vaults, the more interest BofA receives from the Fed. Disgusting.
Access your account and input your financial institution information. You can choose to set up automatic transfers, which still takes up to two or three days. So, if possible, try to drive to a BofA branch and take out the cash immediately.
Note: If you need your money immediately, do not link your checking account to the debit card and transfer funds immediately, as this process takes two to three days. Your money will sit in BofA’s money vaults, and the Fed will pay interest to the bank on your money. BofA will also be able to loan out a percentage of your money, charging high interest rates and loan origination fees, and maybe even write another shoddy mortgage loan.
If You Can, Go Into a Branch and Request Your Money in Person
If you request your money in person at a Bank of America branch, they do not profit from convenience fees—and you won't have to wait for two or three days like you would if you instead linked your checking account to your EDD debit card. It's important to note, however, that you will need to know the exact amount on the card, since BofA doesn’t have this information.
Your EDD Visa Debit Card Won't Work Exactly Like a Usual Debit Card
If you decide not to do any of the above and instead use your EDD Visa debit card, understand that it's treated differently than other debit cards.
Merchants can place holds on your account. Gas stations are able to hold up to $75 on your debit card (in addition to charging you more per gallon for using a debit card).
The below quote is from Bank of America’s website:
Are there any transactions that I can make with my card that will cause a “hold” on my funds?
Since your EDD Debit Card functions just like a debit card, there are certain types of common transactions where sometimes a “hold” of an estimated amount of final payment will be placed on your account to make sure you have enough money to pay the bill. For example, at gas stations if you are paying at the pump it may cause a hold of up to $75; consider instead paying inside with the cashier and signing the receipt where no “hold” will be placed on your card. In addition, hotels, auto rental, and restaurant merchants may hold the amount of your estimated bill until final settlement of the transaction, making these funds unavailable for other purchases. These holds may take a week to remove, so keep that in mind when making these special types of transactions. Remember to always check your available balance before making a transaction.
If you do not have a bank account, you either need to get one (not at Bank of America) or refrain from using your debit card as much as possible. For all purchases that you are able to pay via cash (grocery shopping, gas, etc.), stop at a Bank of America ATM machine, withdraw the money, and use cash instead of the EDD debit card.
Note: If you use another bank’s ATM instead of Bank of America's, you will be charged $1 after two withdrawals.
This Is What Occupy Wall Street Was All About
When big banks are allowed to profit from people who are sick, from people who are taking care of sick family members, and from people who are unemployed—largely due to the big bank’s unethical behavior—something is very wrong with our country.
What’s worse is that 99% of Americans are having a hard time changing this, because the 1% has all the money and the power.
Updated Information for COVID-19 Precautions
When you sign up for unemployment, there is now an option to receive paper checks;
Due to COVID-19, I would recommend that you use the transfer option on Bank of America's website rather than visiting the bank in person. It still can take up to three days to receive the funds in your bank account, however.
No, there is no minimum amount required to be remaining on your EDD card. You can use or transfer the entire amount. Your balance can be zero. The card remains open, so EDD is able to deposit money onto the card.
Gas stations will sometimes put an additional sum of money onto your purchase amount, however, and hold those funds until the transaction goes through. Why? I have no idea.
If you are calling Bank of America, I recommend doing so first thing in the morning—the wait time is not as long.
Nevertheless, I still recommend that you do not use your card. I recommend getting the cash out of BofA. Don't give them any more money!
Questions & Answers
© 2011 Jenifer L