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Without a bank account, families pay a premium to use check cashing services, losing their hard-earned income to predatory lenders. What’s preventing them from joining the financial mainstream?  Often lacking financial role models of their own, unbanked men and women can find banks intimidating, may be unable to meet minimum balances, and worry about overdraft fees or fines.

In collaboration with Community Financial Resources, we offer a pre-paid debit card to give participants immediate access to funds with no monthly fees. By using direct deposit, paychecks can automatically be loaded onto the debit card, eliminating the need for costly check cashing. Funds are not only more accessible, but more easily tracked, helping families keep an eye on spending and develop better financial habits.

How it works

Our prepaid debit card looks and acts just like a credit card—accepted anywhere a Visa debit card can be used—but you’re spending your own money instead of borrowing from a bank. Via direct deposit, participants can load the card with their paycheck, benefits such as Social Security, and even tax refunds. That money is immediately available with no fees or waiting in line to cash a check. Using a debit card instead of cash creates an online transaction history to help participants track expenses and keep spending in line.

Do I qualify?

To qualify, participants should have a Social Security Number or ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number).

How to apply

For San Mateo County inquiries, call Rob Lajoie, Director, Financial Empowerment Program, at 650.403.4300 ext 4415 or by email.
For Santa Clara County inquiries, call Freddy Pacheco, Financial Empowerment Supervisor, at 408.577.1981 ext 311 or by emaill.

Peninsula Family Service is able to offer Lending Circles thanks to a partnership with Community Financial Resources (CFR). As founders of this innovative program, CFR collaborates with select community-based organizations to to encourage beneficial money-management behaviors among low to moderate-income households.