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Would You Do Your Banking at the Post Office?

Could your bank teller go postal? Offering basic consumer banking services in the form of prepaid debit cards is just one of many ideas the U.S. Post Office is considering to boost its bottom line.

The government agency is in desperate need of revenue and raising the price of stamps -- to 45 cents for a letter starting Jan. 1 -- is hardly enough. Annual losses for the post office could reach $16 billion a year by 2016 unless Congress passes legislation that allows it to branch into other business activities, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The post office could also make money by offering diverse services, such as leasing its trucks to the private sector, acting as an operations consultant for retail shipping, or selling non-postal goods among other ideas, the Journal reported.

But expanding on a service it already provides -- offering basic bank transaction services -- could be a boon to millions of underbanked Americans. A report from the Post Office's Office of the Inspector General earlier this month suggested that the independent government agency move into the prepaid debit card business.

A U.S. Post Office spokesperson said that the organization is considering the recommendation, but hasn't made a decision.

Offering prepaid debit cards could help the growing number of low-income Americans who could find themselves marginalized by the rising fees at retail banks. With one in three people willing to change banks over fees, there are signals that many consumers are looking for new alternatives to their banks. The post office already offers basic transactions like check cashing and money orders and prepaid debit cards would be a natural evolution for the institution.

Add to that, the increasing emphasis on electronic payments. Both the government and employers are moving toward direct deposit for all payments, while many companies are channeling customers into paperless billing.

Would you use the Post Office as a bank if it offered reloadable and prepaid debit cards? We want to hear from you.

Catherine New can be reached at catherine.new@huffingtonpost.com.

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Bassplayer68

NO!! I FIRED ALL MY BANKS, and switched to a Credit Union. And will never do business with banks AGAIN!!

August 20 2012 at 3:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Anibeth45

No. Why shoud I bank there? Post offices are not banks.

November 06 2011 at 3:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rabban192

I don't even go to the post office to mail letters. Why would I go there to do my banking.

The worst service in the world is at the post office. As a matter of fact I've posted the following request several times:

Please close the post office in my neighborhood at 574 East Cuyahoga Falls Avenue, Akron, Ohio. The customer service is terrible. I went in this past Saturday, and had the awful experience. The staff acted like they didn't want to be there, and also acted like they were doing me a favor in helping me. All I went there to do was to buy a book of 20 stamps for $8.80, thirty-five minutes later I wished I hand never gone into the place. Will buy my stamps from the bank form now on.

Please close the office at 574 East Cuyahoga Falls Avenue, Akron, Ohio, it's a waist of money to keep the place open, and even worst is the staff is rude, and insulting.

October 21 2011 at 10:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sylviawilll

In our neighborhood they can't even get mail in the right boxes.

What do they make, at least $20/hr with deluxe benefits including pension.
They need to clean house and hire literate people at $12-15/hr.

October 21 2011 at 12:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Plummer, Joseph

I mailed to myself 5 letters from different post offices in a 100 mile radius to see how soon I would recieve them, received only one, What happened to the others, the one I received came from downstate, the others went thru chicago. somewhere in the vastness of mail, 4 letters are floating around with million s of others..... trust the P.O. with my banking, no problem, lol,

October 20 2011 at 12:15 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Plummer, Joseph's comment
LEE Resolution

I would think you'd have better things to do with your time.

by the way, did you you respond in writing to the one letter you mailed to yourself?

October 20 2011 at 1:14 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to LEE Resolution's comment
hgeorgech

yes, an idle mind is a dangerous thing ... the lad needs employment (or a hobby)!

October 20 2011 at 2:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down
Howard

Where do you live? Dogpatch? Our mail service is excellent - except for receiving mail at random times during the recent cutback and reorganization we're quite happy.

October 20 2011 at 1:16 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Howard's comment
savemycountry911

and getting other people's mail and them getting yours.

October 22 2011 at 8:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
jigokurei

The number one issue I have with most Post Offices is the lack of polite customer service.

If the Post master general wanted to make a difference in their bottom line, they may want to look closer at the service they provide to customers first; that is, they should work on ridding the culture of complasency and indifference from the attitudes of many of the Postal workers; especially those at the front desk. This may boost sales a bit, and would potentially limit the amount of times they need to raise rates. Secondly, make sure there are enough tellers to accommodate long lines quickly...this I know is a real challenge.

I would be much more willing to do business at the Post Office if the level of service I received matched my expectaions more...that of being polite and professional.

Also, the postal service needs to look as running their business like a real free-enterprise business, and not bet bogged down beaurocratically. They need to be competitive with FedEx and UPS.

Additionally, it is possible that the Post office could be a great way to transfer funds electronically, like PayPal. They already have a Money Order system in place, they need to take it to the next level; by providing a wire process that can deliver an instantanious payment to any other postal location. This competitve opportunity for the Post Office to add value to its delivery system--challenging Western Union.

But perhaps these ideas are just to radical for the U.S. Postal Service.

October 20 2011 at 12:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Vinny

Since they removed the stamp machines from the lobbies of every Post Office, I've had plenty of time to watch the 'Super Slo-Mo' speed of the work of their employees. It's amazing that they get anything done, because their employees have never had to exert themselves in any fashion, and speed must be a forbidden atribute for them. Its not as if they are badly paid. A letter carrier riding around in the little truck is paid a minimum of $63,000 a year, together will all governmewnt benefits, and no degree required. God forbid that they should be allowed to handle ANY banking service, and they will NEVER put their hands on any money of mine, if I can help it. The very thought of that is scary. They can't managed their business as a virtual monopoly, so to entrust the PO with handling people banking affairs is completely unbelievable.

October 20 2011 at 12:04 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
dabrownman

Nothing like putting you money in a taxpayer funded bankrupt union Ponzi scheme, designed by Marxists posing as Socialists, that is soon to close and steal your money which they will use to make sure illegal aliens are granted immediate citizenship and given your Social Security benefits that you thought were yours.

October 20 2011 at 11:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dabrownman's comment
phbotham

You get today's blue ribbon award for the most political ideology crammed into a single convoluted head spinning sentence. I'm in shock and awe man!

October 20 2011 at 12:56 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Watts Up!

I have to be honest with the community regarding our local USPS office. In almost twenty years I have been a merchant only one unit (package) has been lost but paid for since it was insured. Recently - a couple months back - I received ,on two different occassions two packages with missing contents where the senders had to re-ship the items at their cost. Even more recently; a very important package was held at the USPS office for ten days without me ever getting a notice on my address that the package had even arrived. I had to do all the work needed to pick up the package in person. USPS posted a notice under the tracking number that they had left a note on my address which I never saw that Saturday. One question rose; what about the three attempts that they used to offer? USPS has been performing poorly.

October 20 2011 at 11:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Watts Up!'s comment
dabrownman

You can spot a postal worker every time.

October 20 2011 at 12:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
drusus5845

In Germany you can bank at a post office. No reason it would not work here but the greedy, money grubbing, fat cat, overweight banking lobby will stop that as quick as a wink. I still believe the protests ion the City
Park outside of Wall Street should go to K Street in DC where all the lobbyists have offices and take that advice from Warah Palin, "Lock, Load and revolution" is on the table. I'm sure yu will get some veterans as advisors.

October 20 2011 at 11:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to drusus5845's comment
dabrownman

Here you can bank at any grocery store which is a lot more convenient. Never trust a culture rooted in ant Semitic National Socialism.

October 20 2011 at 12:08 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply