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A Thing Truck

Truck on Down to the ATM

Have you heard of TransPay? TransPay was originally Transcash+, a debit card trucking companies used to transmit payroll and expense reimbursement to their drivers. NTS introduced the card in 1995, and since being acquired by First Data in February of 1996, began issuing a similar program called TransPay.

Like Trans-cash+, TransPay is a debit card that allows retailers and franchises to dispense commission, reimbursement, and payroll to employees. Each employee is issued a TransPay card and a PIN, and each week money is deposited into their account. Then the employee withdraws money from an ATM (the worker gets one free initial transaction a week) or uses a "GreenBack" to withdraw money from Western Union (yet another First Data company). The "GreenBacks" are described as "much like bank checks" and can be made out to cash or a payee.

The program which is marketed as being easier, cheaper, and safer than mailing checks to employees, is targeted at companies whose employees are dispersed throughout the country. TransPay eliminates the cost and hassle of overnight delivery and doesn't force the employee to venture into an unsafe neighborhood to retrieve cash from a wire service. Claim Services Resource Group, Inc., of Dallas is the first national user of the card.

NTS's next marketing push is convenience stores. But, how is this any better than traditional means of payroll? These employees are not traveling, they are going to work everyday.

A few questions:

1. Wouldn't all this be simpler if the money was just ACHed to a checking account?

2. Shouldn't the card be called something other than debit, since it actually only works at ATMs?

3. Does NTS really think people will pay for access to their own money, on top of ATM fees?

The answer to all questions is "Yes." You have to remember, NTS receives a fee for the initial transaction as well at $2 every time the employee accesses the account, after the one free transaction per week.

According to one company who uses TransPay, "Though some employees may complain about the charges, the convenience is well worth the fees." Well, of course it is, but for whom?



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