When the federal government was issuing Trump's $600 COVID 19 relief stimulus checks, Trump decided it would be a grand idea to issue some of the checks as prepaid debit cards. It's already causing bigly problems for many people, including some who thought it was a scam and threw the cards away:
Stimulus payments arriving in the form of prepaid debit cards are being confused for scams.
Some Americans expecting their second $600 payment are reportedly discarding the mail, believing the cards to be fake.
About 8 million Americans are set to receive their payment as a prepaid debit card mailed to their home address, instead of a paper check or direct deposit.
The switch may cause confusion for some, prompting the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to warn the public that the second payment may be in a different form than the first.
It's easy to see why people would be confused when they got it in the mail. The envelope has no markings to indicate it's from the government and it does look like a scam:
But the problems don't end there. If people accidently throw it away, it won't be replaced and they'll still get taxed for it:
According to the IRS and as reported by KSL-TV, those who throw away their card cannot be issued with a second payment and will need to try to claim it when filing their tax return.
Yet that is not all. There's more. There's always more.
Another problem with these prepaid debit cards has been known for years. Namely, they're cheaper for the payer because it shifts the costs to the payee in the form of user fees. It was first learned the hard way when some companies started using them to pay their low income employees:
But in the overwhelming majority of cases, using the card involves a fee. And those fees can quickly add up: one provider, for example, charges $1.75 to make a withdrawal from most A.T.M.’s, $2.95 for a paper statement and $6 to replace a card. Some users even have to pay $7 inactivity fees for not using their cards.
These fees can take such a big bite out of paychecks that some employees end up making less than the minimum wage once the charges are taken into account, according to interviews with consumer lawyers, employees, and state and federal regulators.
The fees can get so bad that workers aren't even getting minimum wage. Likewise, the people who need the $600 the most aren't even going to get all of that, which is adding insult to injury.