What are my options?
Federal rules, as well as many state laws, stipulate that, "employees must have a choice of wage payment method and be able to change it," Dunn says.
The choice is often between a payroll card and direct deposit, whereby pay is electronically credited to a worker's bank checking account or savings account, Dunn says.
Michael Collins, faculty director of the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin, says an estimated 8 percent to 15 percent of workers don't use a bank.
"A checking account might carry fees of several dollars a month, and if you don't keep a large balance, that's just too much," Collins says. "And many dropped their bank because of high overdraft fees."
Chittaro says for the "unbanked," or people without a checking account, the obvious choice between direct deposit and a card is the latter. Some workers choose payroll cards, not because they are dissatisfied with banks, but because they like the ability to immediately shop or use the card online.
Indeed, payroll cards and banking services are alike in that consumers must use them carefully to avoid fees, Collins says.