COVID-19 pandemic leaves “unbanked” consumers few free options for check cashing
information provided by the Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Regulation
CHICAGO, Ill. (May 2, 2020) – The Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Regulation (IDFPR) announced new options for unbanked Illinoisans seeking to cash their stimulus checks without incurring check cashing fees. The FDIC estimates that over 22% of Illinois households are under- or unbanked. Many of these Illinois households will be receiving paper stimulus checks and will have few check cashing options that won’t incur fees.
Working together with industry associations, advocacy groups, and individual banks, IDFPR announced a number of banking institutions that are able to work with non-customers on cashing their stimulus checks for free. Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank, Fifth Third, and First Midwest, as well as others, are willing to provide non-customers in Illinois with check cashing options in order to ensure these funds go toward the food, housing, and necessities that people need during this difficult time, instead of being used on processing fees.
“During this time of financial hardship, we wanted to ensure that people were able to cash their checks,” said Deborah Hagan, Secretary of the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. “I want to thank JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Fifth Third, First Midwest, U.S. Bank, and others for working with us in this endeavor.”
In order to ensure proper social distancing and that everyone has the proper identification to cash their federal stimulus check, individuals interested in these options should contact the banks listed above, or email IDFPR at [email protected] to set up an appointment.
In addition, a working group of nonprofits including Ladder Up, the Economic Awareness Council, New America, Heartland Alliance, and Woodstock Institute have launched a website to help individuals access their economic impact payment and to help the unbanked as well. Consumers can visit www.getmypaymentil.org to access clear information about how they can receive their payments.
For people who are interested in taking this opportunity to open up their own bank account, the website also outlines safe, affordable banking options available through the Bank On program. This program certifies products as consumer-friendly financial service options that have no maintenance or inactivity fees, low minimum deposits and no overdraft. For more information on the national Bank On initiative visit https://covidbanking.joinbankon.org/.