Payroll Cards in New Hampshire

Examining the Effects of Payroll Card Legislation
PRS Briefs
PRS Policy Brief 1415-13
Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The use of payroll cards to pay employees has been a topic of contentious debate in recent years. Although many states have already passed laws regulating their usage, current legislation surrounding payroll cards is lacking in New Hampshire. In this report, we investigate the potential impacts of payroll card legislation in New Hampshire by researching the existing research literature, interviewing relevant stakeholders in New Hampshire, and examining the approach of Vermont, New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. We begin by introducing the relevant terminology as well as discussing the Electronic Fund Transfers Act that regulates their usage. This is followed by a literature review on and discussion of the costs and benefits of payroll cards to both employers and employees. On the employers’ side, payroll cards can save money and are more cost effective than paper checks; on the employees’ side, there is simultaneously a benefit for the unbanked, juxtaposed with unexpected and sometimes burdensome fees. We then discuss the laws regulating payroll card usage in New Hampshire and report our findings from interviews with key stakeholders to understand the qualitative impact of payroll cards in the state. The analysis of New Hampshire also explores the demographics of the unbanked in New Hampshire, a population that will likely be heavily impacted by payroll card legislation. The report concludes by examining case studies of payroll card usage in Vermont, New York, Hawaii, and Illinois in order to draw conclusions about how different payroll legislation may impact businesses and employees in New Hampshire.