American Prospect editor-in-chief David Dayen told Hill.TV’s “Rising” that a pilot program launched by the Postal Service last month would not only compete with the check-cashing services offered in convenience stores, but would also provide the option to purchase gift cards.

The Postal Service began offering banking services at four pilot sites on September 13. The program allows customers to cash corporate and payroll checks and place those funds on reusable gift cards.

“You can get to a point where you actually have a bank account,” Dayen said. “You have a debit card, you can pay bills with if you combine it with their money order products, you can even transfer… peer to peer. You can make a money transfer at one post office and have someone pick it up at another.

The American Postal Workers Union has been lobbying for postal banking services since 2016, but Dayen said former Postmaster General Megan Brennan “simply ignored the request.”

When the Postmaster General Louis De JoyLouis DeJoy20 State Attorneys General Continue Postal Service Slowdown Mail delivery is set to become slower and temporarily more expensive., who was appointed by the board of governors of the postal service appointed by Trump in June 2020, took the top job, the union has found an unexpected ally, Dayen said.

“When Louis DeJoy joined the team last year, even though the Postal Workers Union was vocal critics of most of the policies it instituted, they engaged him on this particular concept of financial services, and DeJoy liked the idea, ”Dayen said.

The pilot program is available at one location in four cities on the east coast: Washington, Baltimore, Falls Church, Virginia and the Bronx, NY

Dayen says the Postal Service has not released any data regarding its usage, but he expects the program to expand in the coming months.

“I understand after the holidays they’re going to expand this to all of these four pilot cities,” Dayen said. “So every postal location in these cities will have that capacity. And they’re going to add marketing muscle – they’re going to actually advertise the product. “