Recently I read an article in the Wall Street Journal by Sudeep Reddy entitled “Taxes Refunds Move to Debit Cards”.
In this article in examines a new pilot program the U.S. Treasury Department is conducting this year. The government is going to deliver tax refunds through prepaid debit cards to about 600,000 low- and moderate-income households this year.
The U.S. Treasury hopes to save money on paper and check problems.
Consumers in the income bracket that will be getting the invitation to participate in this pilot program are more likely not to have a bank account and need help with the fees associated with cashing checks. Of course they do. These people get money back while the harder workers and affluent consumers have to pay for their taxes.
The program is going to be managed by Green Dot Corp.
Besides this new pilot program, if you have problems at the bank, there are a couple other options out there for you.
H&R Block Emerald Prepaid MasterCard®
This prepaid MasterCard offers another alternative to getting a check from the government. You have to get H&R Block to submit your taxes, but this card has no credit checks, no initial load due when applying, and you don’t have to have a checking account. The card can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted and is reloadable after the initial load.
There are some fees you need to be aware of; such as ATM cash withdrawals will set you back $2.50, plus just checking your balance at an ATM cost a $1.00. If you need cash, that with cost you $25.00 to get it over the counter.
TurboTax Prepaid Visa Card
The TurboTax card is very similar to the other prepaid card. Accepted everywhere Visa is accepted, secure, and an easy way to get your refund if you don’t have a checking account. In addition, this card provides automatic discounts at top merchants and has a mobile app where consumers can track balances and transactions.
There are some fees you need to be aware of; such as ATM cash withdrawals will set you back $2.50, plus just checking your balance at an ATM cost a $.50. If you need cash, that with cost you $2.50 to get it over the counter at participating banks.
I suggest just getting the tax refund direct deposited in your checking account and spend the money how you want and with what you want.