Last week, Georgia Republican Sen. David Perdue introduced a
resolution in Congress, alongside other Republicans including
his fellow Georgian Johnny Isakson, to throw out a new package of
rules for the prepaid debit card industry.
The rules, finalized by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
in October, include limitations on overdraft fees, which have
become a significant source of consumer complaints about the
financial industry — and an important revenue stream for
Georgia-based financial firm Total System Services, whose NetSpend
unit is the country’s largest manager of prepaid cards, according
to a 2015 financial filing.
The vast majority of prepaid debit cards don’t come with overdraft
fees, but NetSpend’s do, and the fees accounted for 10-12% of its
overall revenue in 2016, or $80-85 million, the company told
investors in October. Its parent has spent big on lobbying and
political donations in a bid to kill the rules: in the last three
months of 2016 alone, it spent some $270,000 lobbying
Again, this should be absolutely bipartisan. The people who are hit by these usurious overcharge fees are Republicans and Democrats alike. There’s no liberal/conservative angle to this. It’s just wrong.