American taxpayers will be able to receive their income tax refunds on a reloadable prepaid Western Union MoneyWise MasterCard as a result of a new relationship between The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU), a global payments leader, and CCH Small Firm Services (SFS), a leading provider of software for tax and accounting professionals.
The agreement will enable the nearly 200,000 tax professionals who use TaxWise and ATX, the two SFS tax software programs, to help taxpayers receive their federal and state income tax refunds on the Western Union MoneyWise Prepaid MasterCard - a prepaid debit card. Professionals using the SFS programs prepare more than 20 million tax returns annually.
Additionally, the MoneyWise Prepaid MasterCard will also be available to more than 11,000 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites, which are sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service to assist low-income and elderly Americans. These sites handle tax returns for millions of taxpayers annually, at no charge, with the help of volunteers.
Consumers who choose the MoneyWise Prepaid MasterCard also will be able to have their paychecks direct deposited onto the card as well as add money on the card at any participating Western Union Agent location in the U.S. and use the card, as a general purpose reloadable prepaid card.
The agreement builds upon Western Union's strategy in the United States, and complements Western Union's consumer experience by giving consumers the convenience of being able to receive their tax refunds through a Western Union MoneyWiseTM Prepaid MasterCard.
"This relationship will help millions of American taxpayers with a simple and seamless way to receive their tax refunds," said SFS President Jeff Gramlich. "Additionally, the IRS has been promoting this type of prepaid card as a way to provide unbanked taxpayers with access to the financial system."
Stewart A. Stockdale, President, The Americas and Executive Vice President, Global Key Accounts and Global Cards, Western Union, added, "Today's announcement is one example of how two major brands can leverage their presence and strengths to work successfully together to benefit consumers throughout the United States."
"As prepaid cards and services continue to gain momentum, particularly in today's economy, Western Union sees its prepaid services platform as an opportunity to strengthen both its relationship and value proposition with consumers."
Taxpayers who choose to obtain a card will direct the IRS and state revenue agencies to send their refunds directly to the card. The personalized Western Union MoneyWise Prepaid MasterCard will be mailed to the taxpayer within days of his or her tax return being filed with the IRS, so that the taxpayer will have the card before the IRS issues the refund.
The Western Union MoneyWise Prepaid MasterCard was awarded "Outstanding New Entrant" in the Best General Purpose Reloadable Card Program category at the 2010 PayBefore Awards ceremony at the Prepaid Expo in Las Vegas.
The Western Union MoneyWise Prepaid MasterCard
Reloading the Card:
* Reload money1 in-person at any of the over 46,000 participating Western Union Agent locations in the U.S.
* Use direct deposit through an employer
* Load a Western Union Money Transfer transaction directly to the cards
* Add funds online using a bank account
* A fee-friendly card
* The ability to use the cards anywhere MasterCard Debit is accepted including online and at ATMs1
* The cards are protected by MasterCard's zero liability policy
* No credit check or bank account required to sign up for the card
* The ability to manage the card account both online and over the phone
1 The Western Union MoneyWise Prepaid MasterCard is issued by MetaBankTM pursuant to a license of MasterCard International Incorporated. MetaBank; Member FDIC. MasterCard is a registered trademark of MasterCard International Incorporated. Fees and charges will be deducted from the card account balance in certain situations. Common card fees include: $1.95 ATM Withdrawal Fee (plus applicable ATM operator fees), $0.45 ATM Inquiry/Decline Fee, $2.50 monthly Inactivity Fee after 12 months of non-use and a $4.95 Reload Fee. Additional fees could include Re-issue card fee of $5, Bank to card transfer fee of $1, paper statement fee of $3, and currency conversion gains and fees. See Cardholder Agreement for a complete description of fees.