Mullery bill would protect workers from hidden fees in debit payroll cards

HARRISBURG, June 1 – State Rep. Gerald Mullery has introduced legislation (H.B. 1274) that would ensure employees who are paid with a debit card have access to the full amount of their wages and no-cost access to their accounts.

"More employers are using debit cards instead of a check or electronic fund transfer to pay their workers," said Mullery, D-Newport Township. "Many of these payroll debit cards are brimming with hidden fees, reducing employees’ take-home pay. That’s not right, and it must be addressed."

Mullery noted that employees of a Shavertown food restaurant who were paid with a debit card filed suit in 2013 because of these fees. According to a news report, transaction fees ranged from 75 cents for an online bill payment, up to $10 per month if the card remained inactive for more than three months.

Mullery’s bill would allow employees to make at least one free withdrawal or transfer each pay period up to the full amount of the wages paid. It also would require employers to provide a way for employees to check the balance on their debit card electronically and through an automated telephone system without charge.

In addition, the bill would require employers who issue a debit payroll card to provide the following information to their employers:

  • The terms and conditions related to the use of the payroll card;

  • The no-cost methods available to access wages;

  • The no-cost methods available to check payroll card account balances;

  • A list of all fees that may be assessed to the employee by the payroll card issuer; and

  • A statement listing possible transaction fees assessed by third parties when using the debit card.