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NJ To Replace Unemployment Checks

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ATM, Bank of America

Bank of America (credit: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – New Jersey will become the 30th state to replace weekly unemployment checks with debit cards or direct deposit.

However, check-cashing businesses, which collect $521,118 each week in fees, tell the Statehouse Bureau of The Star-Ledger of Newark and The Record going paperless will inconvenience customers and cut into their profits.

The state said it will save as much as $8 million a year.

The Labor Department expects to send the last checks by February, forcing 460,000 recipients to get direct deposit or receive a Bank of America debit card.

Critics said debit cards and direct deposit could cost the unemployed more in the form of out-of-network ATM fees and overdraft charges.

Those opting for debit cards will be permitted two no-fee withdrawals per month at ATMs not operated by Bank of America. They will not pay fees for purchases from stores that accept Visa debit cards.

(Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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