Leonard Edwards, 57, doesn’t have a checking account. He can’t afford one.
Once a month, the Social Security Administration adds money to his Direct Express Card. Though it looks like a typical debit card, he isn’t allowed to deposit money to it and can’t write checks from it.
Burdened with severe osteoarthritis, the former FBI employee and ex-Marine has had two hip replacements and is on disability leave.
When he goes to pay rent and utilities, the Northwest Washington, D.C., resident has to choose between coughing up “convenience fees” to use some online payment portals or spending his hard-earned dollars on money orders. Banks charge about $5 for each one.