USPS Is Now Letting You Do This, Effective Immediately
The postal agency is offering an exciting new service for customers.
You may think you know everything the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) can do, but the agency's services extend far beyond mail. You can also apply for a passport, get a money order, receive help with a marketing campaign, and buy paper goods at your local post office, according to Insider. And now, the USPS is gearing up to expand its services even more for customers across the U.S. Read on to find out what the agency will now let you do.
The USPS says it will start cashing checks for some customers.
The Postal Service is adding financial help to its services, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) reported on March 22. According to the organization, the USPS is now allowing customers in certain cities to cash payroll and business checks. If you're in Washington, D.C., Falls Church, Virginia, or the Bronx, New York, you are able to cash checks of up to $500 on to debit cards for a flat fee of $5.95 at your local post office.
The agency is looking to help adults in the U.S. who don't have a bank.
According to AARP, the USPS is expanding its service into the financial arena in an effort to reach millions of people in the U.S. who do not have access to an actual bank. American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein told AARP that the flat $5.95 fee is also an attempt to service these people in a cheaper way.
"It's a huge problem for the unbanked and the underbanked who often get caught in the payday lending and cash-checking predatory process," Dimondstein said. "Low-income people, whether they are actively working or retired, spend up to 10 percent of their income on these fees and services. Here you have a trusted public institution that already provides basic financial services such as money orders."
Millions of people in the country do not have access to a bank.
There are millions of people in the U.S. who do not have a bank, a checking, or savings account, according to AARP. The organization found that out of all the unbanked households, 3.1 million are headed by someone who is older than 50 years old. And 14.2 million 50-year and older households who use check cashers and payday lenders don't have access to mainstream financial services.
With that in mind, USPS expanding back into banking services will likely hit a lot of people who need it. According to AARP, more than 4,000 bank branches closed in 2021, so some small towns don't even have an available bank. But a post office location could be accessible to people in these areas. USPS has more than 31,000 post offices, with more than 17,000 in neighborhoods with no bank or just one if any, per AARP.
The Postal Service once allowed customers to cash checks.
This isn't the first time the USPS has offered this type of financial service. According to AARP, the agency allowed customers to cash checks at post offices decades ago. But the USPS ended its banking services in 1967 as more people moved to using actual banks with the expansion of the country's financial system. With its renewed service, the Postal Service said it is hoping to grow enough that customers will eventually be able to pay bills, deposit, and withdraw cash at their local post office.