By  Mon Oct 14, 2013

More Banks Offer Financial Relief to Federal Workers: 5 Things to Know for the Week

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Many banks have offered to provide financial assistance to federal workers who aren’t getting paid while the government shutdown is still in effect. More banks are joining in to help hundreds of thousands of furloughed employees who may be struggling financially.

  • Over the weekend, food stamp debit card users were unable to use their cards to pay for purchases because of connectivity issues on some Electronic Benefits Transfer systems. People in 17 states were inconvenienced by the outage as they discovered that they couldn’t pay for their items at the checkout.
  • More banks are stepping up to help the furloughed workers who’ve been adversely affected as a result of the prolonged government shutdown. Chase has announced that it is offering an assistance program for such federal employees who receive direct deposit. These customers will not be charged for late payments and fees on checking and savings accounts (as a result of a low balance). Citizens Bank also said it will waive certain fees on deposit accounts and credit cards.
  • On Wednesday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is scheduled to release the consumer price index for the month of September, and reveal the rate of inflation in the past six months. The data release is significant because it will determine the upcoming interest rate for Series I savings bonds, which will become effective on Nov. 1. However, the data release will likely to be delayed due to the government shutdown.
  • On Thursday, Sovereign Bank will officially become Santander Bank, as the bank said it would do earlier in July. Customers will see no major changes to their accounts as the bank rebrands itself. In the meantime, online banking customers can continue to use SovereignBank.com, but the bank’s website will soon change to SantanderBank.com.
  • The Isis Mobile Wallet, a competitor to Google Wallet and other digital wallets, is expected to make its nationwide launch in the next few weeks. Isis plans to introduce a redesigned version of its mobile app, which will be supported by most Android devices and by iPhones (via an NFC-enabled case).

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