Sen. Brown proposes digital account for unbanked households
WASHINGTON — Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, is calling for legislation that would require banks to offer free digital accounts to consumers without bank accounts so they could easily access cornonavirus relief funds.
As Congress and the Trump administration consider sending individuals coronavirus relief payments in the form of checks, Brown is proposing a “FedAccount” digital wallet that would allow consumers to receive money quickly and inexpensively. Roughly 8.4 million U.S. households do not have bank accounts, according to a 2017 report from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
“My legislation would allow every American to set up a free bank account so they don’t have to rely on expensive check cashers to access their hard-earned money,” said Brown, the top Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee.
FedAccounts would have no account fees or minimum balance requirements and would be opened at local banks and post offices, under the legislation. The Federal Reserve would be responsible for overseeeing the FedAccount program.
Account holders would receive debit cards, online account access, automatic bill-pay, mobile banking, and ATM access. Each post office or bank with less than $10 billion of assets woud be reimbursed each quarter by their regional Federal Reserve bank for the actual and reasonable operational costs incurred in offering the pass-through digital dollar wallets.