According to the IRS, direct deposit is the “fastest, safest way to receive your tax refund.” The IRS reports that nearly 75% of taxpayers get a refund. And the vast majority of those had their refund deposited directly into a checking or savings account, or a prepaid card. There are several advantages to direct deposit of a tax refund:
- You can get your refund much faster, typically in about 8 to 10 days;
- More secure than getting a check in the mail (thousands of refund checks are returned to the IRS each year);
- For those without bank accounts, direct deposit avoids expensive check cashing fees; and
- You can get access to your refund faster than waiting for a check to clear.
While most prepaid cards offer direct deposit of government checks, some make it easier to set up than others. In addition, prepaid cards offered by tax preparers often come with unnecessary fees. So we’ve cut through all of the marketing hype to create this list of the best prepaid cards for tax refunds.
Our list favors those prepaid cards that provide excellent instructions on how to set up the direct deposit of the refund.
- RushCard prepaid Visa makes the top of our list for one reason. It frequently offers a cash bonus when you have your tax refund direct deposited onto the card. And the folks at Rushcard have provided some really helpful information on tax refunds. For example, it points out that if you file a joint return, the prepaid card should be in the name of the first person on the return.
- Netspend prepaid card does an excellent job of walking through the steps necessary to get your refund deposited onto a prepaid card. In addition to the routing number and bank account number, both of which are supplied once you get the card, they also walk through the steps to set up the deposit.
- Green Dot Visa. And Green Dot waives its monthly fee if you load $1,000 or more to the card saving a few extra bucks. You can quickly get your account number and routing number for the Green Dot card via text. Just text DDinfo to 37267.
- Walmart MoneyCard has some great benefits, like cash back rewards and a savings vault, in addition to offering a fast way to get your refund.
- AccountNow partnered with ezTaxReturn.com to help its cardholders prepare their tax returns. In addition, AccountNow has previously run contests with cash prizes when using the card to get your tax refund. Contests typically start in January, so check back for updated details.
- Emerald Prepaid Mastercard: The Emerald Prepaid Card is the only card by a tax preparer to make our list. It’s offered by H&R Block. The card offers low fees and is ideal for those that use H&R Block to prepare their tax returns. Unfortunately, it’s not available online. You’ll have to get this one at an H&R Block office.
If you do use a prepaid card to get your refund, you can track the status of the direct deposit. Offered by the IRS, it’s called “Where’s My Refund.” You’ll just need your social security number, filing status, and the amount of your refund.