Some banks keep reminders of clients in the event of an overdraft

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A Minneapolis couple with a USAA account – a disabled veteran and his wife – were eagerly awaiting their relief payments, the woman said. She and her young family had just moved into their own apartment after living with their extended family as they struggled to get out of under thousands of dollars in debt.

But the woman, who did not want to be identified by name for fear that her financial problems could affect the careers of her family members, had to leave her job after being unable to find child care when the Minnesota has ordered all daycare centers closed because of the virus. She was counting on an emergency payment to help pay the rent and buy the formula for her 10-month-old daughter.

But the USAA told the couple that they were keeping the money because their account was overdrawn.

The woman showed screenshots of a Twitter exchange between her husband and a representative from the USAA to the New York Times. Using the verified USAA Twitter account, the representative explained that if the family’s bank account had a negative balance, “any deposit in the account will go towards the negative amount owed to the bank.”

After the article was published on Thursday, the USAA announced that it would suspend overdrafts for the next 90 days.

“This will allow members to access their entire stimulus payment to cover rent, food and other important necessities,” said Matthew Hartwig, spokesperson for the bank in an e- mail. “As of today, we will apply this policy retroactively to all member accounts with a negative balance when first stimulus checks are deposited, so that members have access to their stimulus funds.”

Government checks are intended to cushion the financial blow of the pandemic against some of the hardest hit Americans. Anyone who earns up to $ 75,000 in adjusted gross annual income and has a Social Security number will receive $ 1,200. Married couples who file joint tax returns will receive $ 2,400 if their adjusted gross income is less than $ 150,000. The amount decreases for those who earn more.

In a March 2018 survey, the Pew Charitable Trusts, a non-partisan research institute, found that more than 39 million Americans had incurred overdraft fees in the past year, with people primarily using overdraft as credit. .

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