Bank of America Faces Class Action for High Prepaid Card Fees Charged to Ex-Inmates
Bank of America is the latest financial institution to be sued for high prepaid card fees. Former inmates in Arizona are now taking action against the bank, claiming they were charged excessive fees to access their money once they were released from prison.
Often known as “release cards,” these prepaid cards hold funds collected during an inmate’s time in prison. This could be money the person had when entering the facility or money that friends and family members have sent while the person was incarcerated. Either way, this may be the only funds the ex-inmate has access to when he or she gets back into society.
The former prisoners are complaining they had no option other than the card to receive their release money. This card is accompanied by fees that most prepaid cardholders do not have to pay, such as $15 to withdraw money from a bank teller line. Bank of America has not yet issued a statement in response to the allegations, but the case could potentially cost the bank thousands of dollars in reimbursements.
Such was the case in a similar lawsuit that JPMorgan Chase recently settled. The bank agreed to pay $446,822 to released prisoners affected by the fee structure, as well as up to $250,000 for fines and court costs. JPMorgan is the exclusive provider of federal release cards, so their lawsuit reached a much larger group of inmates than Bank of America’s suit in Arizona.