My tax refund came on a debit card!July 6, 2012: 5:30 AM ET
My Connecticut income tax refund came in the form of a Visa debit card issued by Chase Bank. Apparently, in order to get any or all of the money owed me, I must activate the card. This requires giving my Social Security number and other personal information. How can I get the money I am owed without opening a credit card I do not want, and which will show on my credit report as a potential liability? – William S.
Evidently, this year the state of Connecticut got an idea: Taxpayers who opted not to receive their refunds via direct deposit received a debit card instead of a check. Setting aside any kind of deal the state may have made with Visa, this approach also means that your refund sits with the state of Connecticut until you access it — which works in the state's favor. The other sneaky thing is that you can check your balance once for free — but after that, there's a fee to see how much money you have remaining.
"Go to your bank and have them pull the money out and deposit it into your account," says Paul Lupo, an enrolled agent with Lupo Associates in Shelton, Conn. "That's what I've instructed my clients to do."
A note: Even if you activate your card, it won't show up on your credit report, because it's a debit card, not a credit card. But if you simply have your bank transfer the money from the debit card to your account, you won't have to worry about it either way.
— Kate Ashford
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