As the year comes to a close, so too does the era of paper unemployment checks in the District of Columbia. The DC Department of Employment Services recently announced that all new recipients of unemployment insurance benefits will share in the advantages that come with receiving automatic payments through either Visa prepaid debit cards or direct deposit.
According to the DC Department of Employee Services, claimants who select Visa prepaid debit cards will be able to:
- Access fee-free funds at in-network ATMs
- Make fee-free purchases everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted
- Pay bills using their prepaid debit card
- Access fee-free cash at Visa member banks
- Access fee-free cash at participating retailers
- Manage their account online 24/7
- Access their account via toll-free interactive voice response systems 24/7
Government agencies using Visa Prepaid cards instead of checks for disbursements can lower costs and increase operational efficiencies while providing consumers with more convenient and secure access to funds. Approximately 39 states are using or are in the process of implementing Visa prepaid card programs to disburse child support, unemployment, TANF and other benefits through more than 80 programs.
In fact, today, approximately 30 of 38 state unemployment insurance card programs and 32 of 49 state child support programs are delivered by Visa1.
Visa programs are helping states including California, Maine, South Carolina, Connecticut, New Jersey and Ohio save millions of dollars in administrative costs associated with paper based programs – including lost or stolen check replacements, bank processing and handling fees, check fraud and check printing costs – while providing greater reliability for the delivery of benefits.
Visa prepaid cards offer a secure, convenient and cost-effective alternative to checks and cash, providing consumers a better way to make everyday purchases, pay bills, and receive deposits. Visa prepaid cards can be especially valuable for those consumers without checking accounts or traditional banking relationships, helping these consumers move from an inconvenient, unsafe, and potentially costly cash-and-carry lifestyle to more convenient and secure access to funds.
By receiving benefits on a Visa prepaid card, benefit recipients can enjoy:
- Money Management and Control – Prepaid cards offer consumers greater access to and control over their finances than checks or cash, by enabling cardholders to only spend funds loaded on the card. Cardholders can track their spending online for improved budgeting.
- Convenience – Cardholders enjoy immediate access to their funds through direct deposit and can eliminate check-cashing fees. Disbursement recipients can use their Visa prepaid cards to easily make purchases anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted – in-store, online, or by phone – from paying bills, to making travel reservations, and buying gas at the pump.
- Security – Like all Visa products, Visa prepaid cards are protected by Visa’s Zero Liability policy2, which means consumers pay nothing for unauthorized purchases made with their card.
Visa works with governments all over the world to help get benefits to people faster and with less disruption while helping save taxpayer money by eliminating the costs associated with checks.
1Data reflects public information available through individual state agency websites.
2Visa’s Zero Liability policy covers U.S.–issued cards only and does not apply to ATM transactions, PIN transactions not processed by Visa, or certain commercial card transactions. Cardholder must notify issuer promptly of any unauthorized use. Consult issuer for additional details or click here.
Posted by: Hyung Choi, Visa Head of U.S. Prepaid Products on November 14, 2011 at 2:37 pm