Prepaid Cards at Tax Time and Beyond: Findings from the MyAccountCard Pilot

Research Report

Prepaid Cards at Tax Time and Beyond: Findings from the MyAccountCard Pilot

Abstract

Despite advances in electronic payment, electronic delivery of tax refunds eludes many low-income families. Approximately 17 million Americans lack bank accounts. The Treasury Department's random assignment MyAccountCard pilot offered low-income adults a prepaid card for electronic delivery of tax refunds and everyday financial transactions. Tests of card features show that pilot participants were unresponsive to a linked savings account, but were sensitive to pricea $4.95 monthly fee (versus no fee) decreased applications by 40 percent. The card appealed most to its target population: unbanked adults. Last, a quarter of people who directly deposited their tax refund the first year did so the next.

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