State to Issue Prepaid Debit Cards Instead of Checks for Tax Refunds
PHOTO: Virginia will now use prepaid debit cards instead of issuing checks for tax refunds. Photo courtesy of VA Dept. of Taxation.
January 4, 2013
RICHMOND, Va. – Beginning with the 2012 state income tax refunds, Virginia will no longer be issuing paper checks, and if you don't use direct deposit for your refund, you will be issued a prepaid debit card.
Joel Davison, public relations manager for the Virginia Department of Taxation, explains the new prepaid debit cards will save the state about $200,000 per year. He says they are a good alternative.
"This is much more secure than a check, because you don't have to sign it and take it to the bank, you don't have to pay any check-cashing fees. It's basically a lot more secure."
The prepaid debit card can be used just like any other debit card, he says.
"You can use it to pay bills in person, to buy things at a retailer, get cash back like you can with a debit card. You can take it to a Master Card bank and cash the whole thing out for free."
For married taxpayers who file jointly, adds Davison, each spouse will receive a card and have equal access to the refund amount.
Once you receive your prepaid debit card, Davison says, you will need to activate it with your personal information before it can be used. He also cautions that the card must be used within six months after activation, or you will incur inactivity fees.
For a complete fee schedule and more information about the prepaid debit card, visit the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Taxation website.