TN Taxpayers Paying Thousands for EBT Card ATM Fees

In The News Piece in WSMV
July 29, 2014

"The fees and the surcharges that we are talking about are a real problem that require a real solution," said Aleta Sprague with the New America Foundation.

The New America Foundation is a nonprofit public policy think tank that studies new strategies to help low-income families.

Channel 4 spoke to Sprague after uncovering that since March 2012, the state has paid nearly $8.2 million to the private company FIS to administer EBT cards for government assistance, such as food stamps as well as TANF benefits, which allows low-income Tennesseans to actually get cash out. But after two ATM withdrawals, the EBT card user is charged, and that's when the fees start adding up, totaling more than $80,000 in two years.

Those charges are deducted from the EBT card user's monthly benefits. That means more money from the taxpayer and less to help the needy family who relies on that government assistance.

The New America Foundation says to use direct deposit with banks and avoid the fees.