OAKLAND -- The city and its municipal ID/prepaid debit card provider, SF Global, have negotiated two fee reductions, Mayor Jean Quan announced Sunday.
A third ID card office for the public will open May 1 at 86th Avenue and International Boulevard in East Oakland. The existing offices are at 250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza and in the Spanish Speaking Citizens Foundation at 1470 Fruitvale Ave.
In a statement, the mayor said "direct pay" charges will be eliminated, which means it will cost card users nothing to get federal benefits direct-deposited to their card. SF Global is absorbing the costs associated with the reduction, according to the release. This is different from direct deposits, for which the Oakland card has never issued charges.
Monthly "point of sale" charges will be capped: Users will be able to swipe the card to make purchases as many times as they want over the course of any given month and pay no more than $12.50.
Since the doors at the first-of-its-kind municipal ID/prepaid debit card program office opened Feb. 1, more than 3,300 people have applied for the card, said Sean Maher, with the mayor's office.
The debit card function provides users with the protections of federal banking laws, which are stronger than the privacy laws afforded other ID-issuing government bodies, Maher said.
"These fee reductions would not have been possible without the overwhelming support we've seen from the community since we launched the program," Quan said in the statement. "I'm pleased that so many people are ... getting better access to banking services -- avoiding the high fees they would pay at check-cashing places -- and the security and freedom afforded by an official identification card."
More information is available at the two open offices, at www.oaklandcityid.com or by calling 888-997-3522.
Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.