May-11-11 New Jersey’s UI Debit Card rated best in US
“New Jersey has one of the best UC (unemployment compensation) prepaid cards, with multiple free ways to access cash, including some out-of-network ATM withdrawals, free account information and no penalty fees,” stated The National Consumer Law Center.
The report, entitled “Unemployment Compensation Prepaid Cards: States Can Deal Workers a Winning Hand by Discarding Junk Fees,” included a graphic displaying a two-thumbs-up for only New Jersey and California.
“The best overall UC prepaid cards are the California and New Jersey cards offered by Bank of America. Both cards offer recipients ample free ways to get cash and information with no junk fees,” the report stated.
Commissioner Harold J. Wirths of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development authorized the issuance of debit cards for Unemployment Insurance benefits last November. By the end of March 2011, all Unemployment Insurance claimants were receiving their benefits electronically through either a debit card or direct deposit to a bank account.
“My department negotiated the most user-friendly debit card agreement in the nation for people who unfortunately find themselves unemployed and collecting benefits. Many fees associated with other states’ programs have been eliminated, and the program is saving taxpayers between $7 million and $8 million annually in processing and mailing costs,” said Commissioner Wirths.
The switch to debit cards is enabling the department to go paperless in some operations, while helping people collecting Unemployment Insurance to avoid the heavy fees often associated with check-cashing operations.
The program’s success prompted the department to expand its debit card use on April 18 to people collecting Temporary Disability Insurance and Family Leave Insurance.
“Debit cards are a fast and secure way for people to access their money, and it has helped my department to save millions in tax dollars,” said Commissioner Wirths.
The National Consumer Law Center report can be found by clicking here. The ranking of the Unemployment Insurance cards was based on several factors:
- Free in-network ATM withdrawals
- Free bank teller withdrawals
- Two free out-of-network ATM withdrawals each month before incurring a $1 fee
- Free cash back from a purchase
- No overdraft or denied transaction fees
- No ATM fees for balance inquiries either in or out of network
- Free automated and live customer service calls
- No fees for point-of-sale transactions
- No inactivity fees