This 56-page Public Policy Institute report authored by Sandra B. Eskin includes a model state statute designed to improve the regulation of check-cashing practices, a comparative state law chart, and summaries of existing state laws that regulate check-cashing. Almost one third of families headed by persons age 50 and older do not have checking accounts. These households, including many Social Security and Supplemental Security Income recipients, must often use check cashers and other "fringe" bankers to obtain cash for living expenses. The high fees (up to 21 percent of a check's value) charged by check-cashing outlets mean less income is available from pay checks and government benefit checks to make ends meet. This model state statute was developed from the premise that older and low-income consumers should not be exposed to extraordinarily high charges and a variety of unfair practices in order to access basic banking services. Its provisions incorporate the best features of existing state laws and include limits on check-cashing fees, prohibitions on the use of deceptive practices, and remedies for consumers such as a private right of action. The publication also contains a comparative state law chart and summaries of all existing state laws regulating check cashing.
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