Debit card wages should help save workers money - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Debit card wages should help save workers money

WASHINGTON (NBC) - In another effort to reduce the number of checks it prints the U.S. Treasury Department is making some tax refunds this year by debit card.

Consumer advocates like MSNBC.com's Bob Sullivan love it.

"The debit card system is an idea whose time has come for issuing tax returns," Sullivan said.

The Treasury Department is asking a specific group of about 800,000 taxpayers to participate in the debit card experiment this year.

"They tend to be low to moderate income, and we're pretty sure that many of them do not have bank accounts," said Richard Gregg the Assistant Treasury Secretary.

Officials estimate 10 million taxpayers don't have bank accounts and often fall prey to predatory pay-day lenders or others who charge exorbitant fees just for cashing a check.

"Pretty soon those companies will no longer be able to take money from families that can't cash their IRS checks," Sullivan said.

The Treasury Department plans to mail the card and load it electronically as soon as the return is approved, making it ready immediately for retail and other use.

"You can also go to an ATM, use it on the web, just like any other card," Gregg said.

The benefit for other taxpayers is the $40 million a year the Treasury Department can save by not having to print so many checks.

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