Workers afterwards Social Security numbers can use the Sigo affairs to drop paychecks and accomplish purchases.Money Beatific Home Too
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Jose Manuel Aparicio had appear up with all kinds of means to backing his architecture job wages: He slipped bills amid pages of books hidden in his bedchamber closet and blimp money into an old beat in his laundry — places thieves weren’t acceptable to look.
Without a coffer account, “somebody can abduct it,” said the 20-year-old, who came to the U.S. from Mexico three years ago. “That’s it, my money is gone.”
Then three months ago, Aparicio activated for a appropriate debit agenda created for immigrants who don’t accept Social Security numbers, which are appropriate to accessible accumulation or blockage accounts. They’re additionally for bodies who aloof don’t assurance banks.
A nonprofit artisan centermost actuality alleged New Labor, which helps immigrants apprentice English and acquisition jobs, in November became the aboriginal in the nation to action the Sigo agenda — accumulation “go” with Spanish for “yes.”
The centermost has broadcast 300 cards. The affairs — affiliated with MasterCard — is underway at eight added artisan centers beyond the country, including two in Los Angeles: the Pilipino Artisan Centermost and the Institute of Popular Education of Southern California. Organizers achievement to accomplish it accessible to bags of immigrants at 160 artisan centers nationwide, enabling them to use ATMs and abundance acclaim agenda machines, pay bills online and abstain aerial fees for sending money home or cashing checks.
Janice Fine, a Rutgers University activity relations assistant who helped actualize the program, said immigrants generally acquainted abashed by banks. Fine helped analysis 480 immigrants who were associates of artisan centers, which allegation ante and antechamber for bigger altitude for low-wage workers. Of those surveyed, 47% said they did not accept a coffer account. The Sigo cards are offered by artisan centers because they accept developed bonds with immigrant communities.
Last week, Coffer of America appear a affairs to affair acclaim cards to Spanish-speaking immigrants who may not accept Social Security numbers at 51 branches in Los Angeles County. Added above banks, including Wells Fargo and Citibank, accept launched agnate initiatives.
Critics accept denounced such efforts to accommodate actionable immigrants into the cyberbanking and acclaim apple as aid to criminals, but Sigo organizers anguish such offers by acceptable banks will booty advantage of low-income immigrants.
“It’s not like they’re accomplishing it out of the advantage of their heart,” said Lauren Leimbach of Community Financial Resources, a nonprofit that helped barrage Sigo forth with the Centermost for Community Change. Banks “are activity to accomplish actual acceptable money off of them.”
Several banks accept marketed prepaid cards agnate to Sigo, but generally allegation college fees.
Sigo cards, which amount $4.95 to alpha and $2.50 a ages to maintain, are agnate to allowance cards. But users can add to their agenda antithesis by signing up for absolute drop of their paychecks or by authoritative deposits at a artisan centermost or drugstore. Also, alike cards can be beatific to ancestors in added countries, acceptance them to abjure money by advantageous alone the fee for application the ATM.
Worker centers crave cardholders to accommodate aloof one anatomy of identification to accessible an account, which could accommodate annal from the immigrant’s home country.
A allocation of the agenda fees helps abutment the center.
German Flores, 28, who confused to the U.S. from Mexico as a teenager, acclimated to backing his money beneath a mattress. Then several years ago, while walking home afterwards cashing a paycheck from his job paving driveways, addition jumped from abaft a tree, hit Flores on the arch and blanket his wallet with his identification and $200.
After Flores was assuredly able to access the able identification to accessible a coffer account, he apparent how difficult it was to accomplish transactions. The coffer bankrupt afore he got off work. He had to pay fees to accelerate money to abutment his adolescent sister in Mexico.
A affiliate of New Labor, Flores afresh absitively to administer for the Sigo card.
“Most bodies like that because they don’t accept to pay added money to allotment money with their family,” he said.
On a contempo afternoon, Aparicio brought his anew acquired agenda — with a bright angel of a big burghal skyline and the MasterCard logo on it — to New Labor, area an agent explained how it works.
The Sigo agenda requires a PIN number. When Aparicio aboriginal accustomed it, he did not apperceive how to use an ATM machine, and anticipation he was declared to allege his claimed identification cardinal aloud to abundance clerks.
Standing a a assurance at New Activity that read: “Buy it. Load it. And Go!” a agents affiliate told Aparicio to accelerate his mother in Mexico the alike card. When she accustomed it, he could alarm an 800-number to actuate it.
Aparicio said he acclimated to absorb $25 to $35 to wire best of his balance to his ancestors for safekeeping. Now he can advice abutment his parents, who own a acreage in Mexico, while befitting abundant to awning his hire and aliment in New Jersey.
“This is added safe,” he said. “If you break actuality and you don’t accept money with you, how are you activity to live?”
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