The Postal Service has provided financial services to just six customers through its Banking Pilot.John Sanders
The mailing agency has received $35.70 from the restricted program. Since launching a trial program in September, the United States Postal Service has only given financial services to six people, raising questions about whether the postal service would extend the initiative that many progressive legislators and organizations have urged for years.
USPS venture into banking
Last October, USPS began its modest venture into banking with little fanfare at four post offices. It enabled consumers at such stores to pay for Visa gift cards worth up to $500 using “business checks”—that is, checks having the firm’s name written on them and made payable to the person.
Between September 13 and January 12, the six checks sold generated just $35.70 in fees for the Postal Service, the agency said in a report with its regulator on Friday. It offered a total value of $548.46 in gift cards.
The USPS has not attempted to publicize the availability of its banking services. Before the program gained national media notice, the USPS exclusively advertised the availability of the check cashing service via signs in the four targeted post offices.
The local services at four East Coast post offices fell well short of the far more extensive array of financial services requested by many activists and left-leaning politicians for years.
Refusal to comment by postal management
Postal management refused to comment on the pilot’s future intentions, stating that you will make any choices after an additional review of the inaugural program’s performance.
According to USPS, the initiative’s effectiveness will be determined by consumer use and whether or not there is a visible value to the community. According to University of Michigan research, one-fourth of all U.S. census tracts, home to 21 million people, do not have any banks inside their boundaries.
When the USPS announced the program, representatives from the American Postal Workers Union said that the first facilities and services were intended to serve as a “proof-of-concept” for the Postal Service. The union hoped that the trial would be expanded in early 2022, both in terms of services supplied and areas where they are accessible. The most specific area for development would be to accept gift cards for checks over $500.
Visa gift cards are currently available in tens of thousands of post offices. Management determined that there would be few legal obstacles to simply accepting another form of payment for them. The cards that USPS presently has in stock have a $500 value limit, explaining why the current limit is in place.
For the time being, however, postal management claims that it has not joined the financial services industry, instead of informing the Postal Regulatory Commission that it has merely begun taking a new method of payment for an old product.
It stated it initiated the pilot at the request of the APWU and did not seek prior clearance from the commission owing to the program’s restricted scope. The USPS has provided minimal training to the three-dozen workers at the four affected post offices, including a service lecture and a PowerPoint presentation.