Crazy things are afoot with the Virginia state income tax refund program. We recently received a very small refund from Virginia. $5.61, to be exact. Instead of just sending us a check, or doing a direct deposit into our bank account, Virginia sent us two debit MasterCards, one for my husband and one for myself.
In order to access the money on the debit cards, I had to create an online account with the company handling the debit cards. This involved the usual account information, including fighting with their username and password requirements, and a security image, a name for the security image, and a security question.
Once I’d set up the account, I activated the cards.
Then, I had the choice of using it to shop, doing a cash withdrawal at one of the affiliated banks, make an ATM cash withdrawal, or transfer the funds. I transferred the money to my regular checking account, which I where I would have put it in the first place had I been given the option.
All in all, I’d say it took me 15-20 minutes to arrange for the transfer of that $5.61 to my checking account. In addition to wasting time, the State of Virginia tax department incurred the costs of creating two debit cards and mailing them to our address. In my opinion, this seems really wasteful and unhelpful. I am sure that the company that administers this program made it very attractive to the State tax people, and surely there are some things about this program that aren’t immediately evident. But I can’t see how this is an improvement over the old way.
Have you receive your Virginia income tax refund via these debit cards? How did you find that process? Did you like it, or did you find it frustrating? I’m curious!