Proponents of Postal Banking hope the test will do better than the one the Postal Service launched in September, offering check cashing at four urban and suburban East Coast locations. The customers cashed six checks, generating a $35.70 fee, according to a Postal Service regulatory filing in January.

The pilot capped the amount at $500, charged a fee of $5.95, and asked users to purchase a gift card.

“I don’t know if a driver can be called a serious driver if they’re not in a neighborhood that actually has a demand for the services,” said Porter McConnell, director of the Take on Wall Street campaign at Americans for Financial Reform. McConnell, who in 2020 co-founded the Save the Post Office Coalition, said high fees, low limit on gift card amounts and lack of advertising also undermined the pilot.

“Checks cashed must reach $2,000. It should be much cheaper. It must be cheaper than Walmart, not $2 more. It needs to be in the neighborhoods that need it,” McConnell said. “You have to advertise. It must be sent in mailers. At least, some posters, some signage. It’s all very basic.

Postal banking is a catch-all term for financial services offered by the Postal Service, including checking and savings accounts, small loans, and non-banking services such as ATMs or check cashing .

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