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For immediate release
January 29, 2013                                       

Pennsylvania Treasury’s Debit Card Program Earns Top Ranking from National Consumer Group

Treasurer McCord thanks NCLC for recommending improvements

Harrisburg – Pennsylvania was one of only three states to receive the highest rating for its unemployed workers prepaid debit card program in a report released today by the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC). Pennsylvania joined California and New Jersey in earning “two thumbs up.” The report devotes an entire page to highlighting the features of Pennsylvania Treasury’s new card program.

NCLC rates debit card programs for their convenience of use with minimal fees. Lauren Saunders, one of the authors of today’s NCLC report, said reduced fees and other changes that are in line with NCLC’s 2011 recommendations made Pennsylvania’s unemployment prepaid card now “one of the best in the country.” In the previous report in 2011, Pennsylvania had received the third-highest ranking of “neutral.”

Last week, State Treasurer Rob McCord announced significant improvements to the card program through which about 150,000 Pennsylvanians get their unemployment compensation and workers’ compensation benefits. He estimated the contract with a new provider, JP Morgan Chase, will save those Pennsylvanians about $5.2 million in fees annually by expanding the network of ATMs and increasing the number of free withdrawals at those machines, and through other free services, such as online bill pay, customer service calls, and cash withdrawals from tellers at participating banks.

McCord was quoted in the NCLC press release saying: “We looked to the National Consumer Law Center’s leadership and their easy-to-reference report when it came time to build a better program in Pennsylvania and it was a great resource. The National Consumer Law Center report informed us about the practices of other states and identified areas where we could improve.”

The press release, the full report, and other information are available on the NCLC web site at http://www.nclc.org/issues/unemployment-compensation-prepaid-cards.html.

For more information, visit www.patreasury.gov.

Media contact: Gary Tuma, 717-787-2465 or gtuma@patreasury.gov

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