What's up with that? prepaid cards and tax refund delays - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

What's up with that? prepaid cards and tax refund delays

Posted: Updated:

We're in the middle of tax season. Some people are turning to pre-paid cards as an option for deposits. But that option certainly didn't work for one Focus@ 4 viewer.

In a recent "What's Up with That" post, Savannah Dunaway Wilson wrote about her experience with Rushcard said the card didn't disclose..."...that they require loads of your personal information such as copies of tax returns, social security cards, and marriage licenses sent to them multiple times before they will even begin to consider crediting your money to your card."

The company's website says that additional documents are needed for direct deposits of tax refunds. Wilson contends she applied over the phone and was never told that.

Wilson says she asked a Rushcard representative to have her family's tax refund placed on her husband's Rushcard. They filed a joint tax return. She says the tax refund was available February 26th. But she says someone with the company told her-- in order to have it released--she must fax in forms of identification like a marriage licence, social security cards and photo IDs.

"I'm doing everything I can to satisfy what you required of me. Let's forget the fact that you never told me you needed this stuff in the first place," Wilson says while talking about those conversations.

Wilson says she sent multiple copies. One time, she says she was told the faxes were too dark. On the Better Business Bureau's website, Rushcard has had more than 500 complaints within the last three years, many of which concern the release of tax refunds. Nearly 300 of the complaints have been completed.

UAB finance professor Andreas Rauterkus says tax refund issues are among many that can come along with pre-paid cards.

"There are fees for activation, there are fees for using an ATM, there are fees if you don't use them for a while," Rauterkus says.

Attorney Suzanne Martindale with the Consumers Union says read the fine print. The cards, she says, often come with lots of red tape that traditional banks may not require.

"The banks already knows who you are you got an account with them and they have your identifying information...while we are still in tax season I think the better option may be to direct deposit into a bank account, of if you don't have a bank account, then you may want to look into getting a paper check and finding a cheap way to cash it," Martindale advises.

As for Wilson, that lesson came too late.

"We're not wealthy people. We don't have a lot of money...I'm sure I'm not alone in this. This is our hail Mary every year," Wilson says.

Focus @ 4 reporter Marissa Mitchell called the Rushcard company and emailed it several times Tuesday. Mitchell has yet to receive a response.

There are no federal regulations to consumer protections on pre-paid cards. But the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is working to change that as these cards have become so popular. Experts encourage consumers to read and understand cardholder agreements as well as check to make sure a prepaid card company is FDIC-insured.

  • Birmingham Area NewsMore>>

  • Windows of Downtown Ensley

    Windows of Downtown Ensley

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:33 PM EDT2014-08-22 01:33:21 GMT
    Local art is helping to renew downtown Ensley. In September you will be able to walk down 19th Street and see for yourself.Last May, the Ensley Merchant Association and REV Birmingham announced plans to enhance 19th Street with an arts program called The Windows of Downtown Ensley. Store windows will showcase original artwork from area artists at participating merchants each month. The initiative is being organized by Kuumba Community Art, an Ensley-based art program with special focus on you...More >>
    Local art is helping to renew downtown Ensley. In September you will be able to walk down 19th Street and see for yourself.Last May, the Ensley Merchant Association and REV Birmingham announced plans to enhance 19th Street with an arts program called The Windows of Downtown Ensley. Store windows will showcase original artwork from area artists at participating merchants each month. The initiative is being organized by Kuumba Community Art, an Ensley-based art program with special focus on you...More >>
  • Irondale police officer explains his department's policies responding to calls

    Irondale police officer explains his department's policies responding to calls

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:25 PM EDT2014-08-22 01:25:38 GMT
    There are a lot of moving parts when an officer responds to a call for help. The officer has to pay attention to what's happening around him, who needs the help and who's causing the problem. All police departments train their men and women. It's up to them to use that training.More >>
    There are a lot of moving parts when an officer responds to a call for help. The officer has to pay attention to what's happening around him, who needs the help and who's causing the problem. All police departments train their men and women. It's up to them to use that training.More >>
  • Vestavia Hills schools launch new drug testing program

    Vestavia Hills schools launch new drug testing program

    Thursday, August 21 2014 6:31 PM EDT2014-08-21 22:31:52 GMT
    Hundreds of parents are taking a step to make sure their child says no to drugs. Vestavia Hills middle and high schools have launched a drug testing program.More >>
    Hundreds of parents are taking a step to make sure their child says no to drugs. Vestavia Hills middle and high schools have launched a drug testing program.More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • Windows of Downtown Ensley

    Windows of Downtown Ensley

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:33 PM EDT2014-08-22 01:33:21 GMT
    Local art is helping to renew downtown Ensley. In September you will be able to walk down 19th Street and see for yourself.Last May, the Ensley Merchant Association and REV Birmingham announced plans to enhance 19th Street with an arts program called The Windows of Downtown Ensley. Store windows will showcase original artwork from area artists at participating merchants each month. The initiative is being organized by Kuumba Community Art, an Ensley-based art program with special focus on you...More >>
    Local art is helping to renew downtown Ensley. In September you will be able to walk down 19th Street and see for yourself.Last May, the Ensley Merchant Association and REV Birmingham announced plans to enhance 19th Street with an arts program called The Windows of Downtown Ensley. Store windows will showcase original artwork from area artists at participating merchants each month. The initiative is being organized by Kuumba Community Art, an Ensley-based art program with special focus on you...More >>
  • Irondale police officer explains his department's policies responding to calls

    Irondale police officer explains his department's policies responding to calls

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:25 PM EDT2014-08-22 01:25:38 GMT
    There are a lot of moving parts when an officer responds to a call for help. The officer has to pay attention to what's happening around him, who needs the help and who's causing the problem. All police departments train their men and women. It's up to them to use that training.More >>
    There are a lot of moving parts when an officer responds to a call for help. The officer has to pay attention to what's happening around him, who needs the help and who's causing the problem. All police departments train their men and women. It's up to them to use that training.More >>
  • 2 Kentucky firefighters injured while helping college students take ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

    2 Kentucky firefighters injured while helping college students take ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

    Thursday, August 21 2014 7:31 PM EDT2014-08-21 23:31:34 GMT
    Police in Kentucky say two firefighters were seriously injured when the fire truck's ladder got too close to a power line as they helped college students take part in an ice bucket challenge.More >>
    Police in Kentucky say two firefighters were seriously injured when the fire truck's ladder got too close to a power line as they helped college students take part in an ice bucket challenge.
    More >>
  • American Ebola doc: 'I am thrilled to be alive'

    American Ebola doc: 'I am thrilled to be alive'

    Thursday, August 21 2014 7:25 PM EDT2014-08-21 23:25:34 GMT
    The Atlanta hospital where two American aid workers were brought after getting infected with the Ebola virus will hold a news conference to discuss their discharge.More >>
    Calling it a "miraculous day," an American doctor infected with Ebola left his isolation unit and warmly hugged his doctors and nurses on Thursday, showing the world that he poses no public health threat one month after...More >>
  • Vestavia Hills schools launch new drug testing program

    Vestavia Hills schools launch new drug testing program

    Thursday, August 21 2014 6:31 PM EDT2014-08-21 22:31:52 GMT
    Hundreds of parents are taking a step to make sure their child says no to drugs. Vestavia Hills middle and high schools have launched a drug testing program.More >>
    Hundreds of parents are taking a step to make sure their child says no to drugs. Vestavia Hills middle and high schools have launched a drug testing program.More >>
  • Gov. Nixon taking National Guard out of Ferguson

    Gov. Nixon taking National Guard out of Ferguson

    Thursday, August 21 2014 6:27 PM EDT2014-08-21 22:27:00 GMT
    It's been a quieter night in Ferguson, Missouri. Some demonstrators returned to the streets Wednesday evening to protest the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old by a white officer, but in diminished numbers.More >>
    Gov. Jay Nixon on Thursday ordered the Missouri National Guard to begin withdrawing from Ferguson, where nightly scenes of unrest have erupted since a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black 18-year-old nearly...More >>
  • Ebola doctor: 'I am thrilled to be alive'

    Ebola doctor: 'I am thrilled to be alive'

    Thursday, August 21 2014 6:25 PM EDT2014-08-21 22:25:04 GMT
    Calling it a "miraculous day," an American doctor infected with Ebola left his isolation unit and warmly hugged his doctors and nurses on Thursday, showing the world that he poses no public health threat one month after getting sick with the virus.More >>
    Calling it a "miraculous day," an American doctor infected with Ebola left his isolation unit and warmly hugged his doctors and nurses on Thursday, showing the world that he poses no public health threat one month after getting sick with the virus.
    More >>
  • No easy or cheap solution to ridding Birmingham of abandoned buildings

    No easy or cheap solution to ridding Birmingham of abandoned buildings

    Thursday, August 21 2014 5:50 PM EDT2014-08-21 21:50:42 GMT
    Birmingham is an older city with a lot of aging properties. Birmingham Fire Marshall C.W. Mardis believes we will continue to see more and more vacant buildings in the next few years. .More >>
    Birmingham is an older city with a lot of aging properties. Birmingham Fire Marshall C.W. Mardis believes we will continue to see more and more vacant buildings in the next few years. .More >>