USPS pilot expands postal banking after years of skepticism


The postal service, after years of skepticism, is quietly pursuing its plan to expand its postal banking services.

USPS launched the pilot program on September 13, which allows customers to cash paychecks and business checks in the form of gift cards.

Customers can purchase a one-time gift card up to $ 500, using corporate or payroll checks as a form of payment. USPS will not accept checks over $ 500 and will not issue cash for checks.

USPS spokeswoman Tatiana Roy said the USPS is leading the pilot in conjunction with the American Postal Workers Union, and called it “an example of how the Postal Service is leveraging of its vast commercial footprint and its resources to innovate “.

“Delivering new affordable, convenient and secure products and services aligns with Postal Service’s 10-year Delivering for America plan to achieve financial sustainability and service excellence,” Roy said in a statement.

Four post offices are currently participating in the pilot project in Washington, DC; Falls Church, Virginia; Baltimore, Maryland; and the Bronx, New York.

The agency already offers some basic financial services, including money orders, electronic funds transfers and the cashing of checks issued by the Treasury Department, but would need legislation to support more robust services to his more than 34,000 points of sale.

The Congress Research Service Note USPS offered some financial products in the 20th century, but they have not been available since the agency ended the Postal Savings System in 1967.

The USPS is moving forward with the pilot after reluctantly receiving nearly a decade of postal banking proposals from Congress.

Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (DN.Y.) and Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) Joined Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) and Bill Pascrell (DN.J) in April to introduce the latest banking postal reform effort.

The coalition urged colleagues to include a postal banking provision in the spending bill for fiscal year 2022. Lawmakers have said banking services will help the postal service generate $ 9 billion in revenue per year.

Former Post Minister Patrick Donahoe rejected the idea of ​​postal banking before his retirement in 2015.

The USPS, under the leadership of its successor Megan Brennan, said it would remain open to offering more financial services, but expressed some reservations on diversification into nondelivery services.

“Our main function is delivery, not the bank,” the agency wrote in July 2016. “As far as our research concludes that we can legally provide additional services for profit and without distracting ourselves from our core business, we would consider them. However, public policy and regulatory discussions must be addressed before the Postal Service invests in an area outside of our core function. “

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