Educating the World about Payroll Cards, one blog at a time…

Category: Visa

What do I need to do to protect myself if my payroll card is lost or stolen?

I’m not being cheesy when I say, I’m sorry for your loss. Losing your payroll card is a scary and nerve-wracking thing. But it is not the end of the world. Hopefully you have a MasterCard or Visa branded payroll card, like the ReadyFUND$ MasterCard Payroll Card. If you do, all of your funds are FDIC insured. Which means MasterCard or Visa will cover any funds that result in someone stealing and fraudulently using your card, just like a bank debit card or a credit card.

The important thing to do is to immediately call your payroll cards customer service number, ironically located on the back of your payroll card, but it also comes in your payroll card packet or on the payroll card material and you should be able to find it on your payroll card providers website. Letting the payroll card company know as soon as possible that your payroll card was lost or stolen helps ensure your money is protected. They can immediately stop any activity on your card, set up a new payroll card and transfer your funds to it automatically.

Any funds that are stolen after you report your payroll card lost or stolen are covered. However if there are any funds stolen before you report your payroll card lost or stolen you can be held liable for a portion, up to $500 according to the Federal Trade Commission.  I would also strongly recommend signing up for text or email alerts. These alerts notify you of your daily balance, any activity and when funds get below a threshold you set, say $100. This will help you spot anything out of the ordinary even before you may realize your payroll card was lost or stolen.  It may be scary and nerve-wracking, but there are small simple steps you can do to ensure you and your money are protected.

How Can I avoid Fees on My Payroll Card?

All payroll cards and prepaid cards have fees. Sorry, that’s the way it is. While some payroll cards fees may be higher than others, there is always a way to use your payroll card without every paying a fee. Want to know how? Don’t worry I am going to tell you. Read on…

First: All payroll cards have to let you access your payroll deposit 100% free of charge after you get paid. The way that payroll cards usually do this is after you get paid, each time, there are certain transactions that allow you to access all of your paycheck without incurring fees. So if you wanted to transfer your paycheck to a bank account-FREE. Or, if you wanted to withdrawal all of your money at the bank-FREE. There are usually multiple transactions that give you this ability. If you don’t want to take all your money off the card, but still want to limit fees, keep reading.

Second: While not all payroll or prepaid cards offer this, especially not prepaid cards, good payroll card companies will offer free POS purchase transactions. That means when you are buying something at the register, whether you select credit or debit, you won’t get charged a fee from your card. Some even allow you to get cash back with no charge. Prepaid cards are not usually this way, and like I said not all payroll cards are, but there are some good companies out there that do this.

Third: Sign up for text alerts! Or email alerts, or whatever makes you happier. I cannot stress this feature enough.  Balance alerts help cardholders avoid those pesky “Non Sufficient Funds” fees. You can sign up for balance alerts daily, so you know your balance first thing each morning. Or even anytime your balance changes. That is what I do. I know automatically when my payroll hits my card and my balance after every transaction. If I don’t know if I have enough on my card I can either look at my last text or simply request it. If you receive text alerts to your cell phone, there’s a number you can text something to, like BAL or BALANCE, and receive a reply back to you with your current balance. This is a life saver if you are ever in line with a cart full of groceries and can’t remember if you had $50 or $150 left.

Fourth: See if there is a “partner” network your payroll card uses. While you will get charged for withdrawing money from an ATM, if your payroll card partners with a specific network you may be able to avoid additional fees. Some ATMs charge fees beyond what your payroll card company charges. Find the network that does not charge users of your specific payroll card any additional fees. You may still pay the ATM withdrawal fee to your card, but it will be less than paying one to the card and one to the ATM.

Some of these suggestions will help you avoid fees all together. But that may not be practical for everyone. If you can’t eliminate, at least you can minimize.

Is my Mobile Phone really going to become my purse or wallet?

Mobile phone technology has grown so rapidly in the past 2 decades. I remember watching Saved by the Bell when Zach Morris had a “mobile phone”. It was a huge brick with an even longer antenna. Now the Saturday Night Live Will Ferrell skits featuring the matchbook sized cell phone aren’t too far off. We’ve evolved from playing snake on our brick phones to playing Angry Birds, updating our Facebook statuses and watching YouTube videos on our smart phones before breakfast.

So back to the question at hand, will my cell phone replace my wallet? Probably. Although I’ve never used it, there’s an app on my iPhone that you can swipe and charge someone’s credit card, great for a small business owner. It even organizes your customers “cards” by brand, their name, stores receipts and keeps accounting records.  Starbucks now has a mobile payment app too. Your phone displays a barcode that you place under their scanner, the barcode is linked to your Starbucks card, and the transaction is processed. Starbucks said it saw 3 million mobile transactions in the first 9 weeks after launch of the app. Europe began testing the iPhone “iWallet” last January. The iWallet allows consumers to pay for things the same way you buy a song on iTunes. It is setup and linked to your card of choice.

These companies may be onto something. Strike while the irons hot. This market is small now, not very saturated, and deemed sort of a niche. If someone like Apple grabbed this projected $600 billion market, you can believe the adoption rate would increase faster than the iPhone saturation. I’m not saying start throwing away your Gucci purses and Kenneth Cole wallets, but maybe start being aware of apps available for your phone and start noticing those funny box barcodes you see in retailers. Soon, in the not so distant future, someone will be writing a blog about how they remember us and our inefficient cell phone payment apps while they’re scanning barcodes on their wrists to buy a cup of coffee.

What scares employees about prepaid cards? Halloween Edition

 Are you an employer that has considered implementing prepaid payroll cards only to have your employees run and hide from the ghouls and goblins of electronic pay? This frightening experience is more common than you think. The largest reason businesses do not implement payroll cards is the scary uncertainty it brings to their employees. Most of the fright for employees is misconception, some is misunderstanding and some is just fear of change. Let’s highlight these below and let you know what you can do to unmask these ghouls and goblins for your employees.

Misconception- Some employees have a skewered view of what payroll cards are and what they can do. Many employees don’t realize they can still get access to all of their money, and at no charge. In a niche where cash rules, employees may have to be educated to the benefits of payroll cards versus cash. For instance no check cashing fees. If it is a MasterCard or Visa Card you can pay bills online or over the phone. Shop online and anywhere the card is accepted. Get your paycheck instantly without having to drive anywhere. Get cash back. For these employees, they may not have had this feature available to them before and may confuse payroll cards with other prepaid cards on the market. A little education and real world examples will help this group of employees feel more comfortable and even excited about payroll cards.

Misunderstanding- Employees in this group may have fears and misunderstandings about how payroll cards work and impact their money. These employees may worry about losing their money little by little with fees. They may worry about being able to get their money off of their card. They may even be worried if they lose the card they lose their money. These are legitimate worries, and may have been valid with previous payroll cards. But payrolls cards have made leaps and bounds in the past few years ensuring consumer protection. Funds are FDIC ensured and if a cardholder loses their card it’s the same as someone losing their debit card, the funds are protected. Many payroll card providers have also limited the fees charged to cardholders. And recent payroll card regulations ensure payroll card providers give cardholders the opportunity to 100% access of their money at no charge. Paper checks don’t even offer that since many times they have to pay a check cashing fee that payroll cards eliminate.  These card holders want to be assured that they can access their money when they want it, and that they are not going to be nickel and dimed in fees. 

Fear of Change- People in general know this fear all too well. For many, the advancing fear of technological progression can be overwhelming. What’s a tweet? Why do I need a Facebook? You can do what with your phone now? This kind of fear doesn’t just happen with technology. This group of employees may feel this kind of fear as well when asked to change their spending and payday routines. Check cashing and fees may just feel easier and less overwhelming to deal with then direct deposit and debit cards. But as with all change, things just get easier as you do it. For many employers, when the choice of change is left up to the employees,  there is minimal adoption.  You know it’s good for your business. You know it’s good for your employees. You just have to implement it and be patient with your employees, and they will accept it.  You may even have them try it for several pay periods and if they don’t like it, you can always go back to checks (although that never happens). According to the NACHA 97% of employees that use electronic pay are satisfied with it. Trust that you are making the right decision for your business and employees.

Don’t be afraid to implement an electronic pay solution for your employees. You are benefiting your employees, saving processing costs for your business and doing your part to save the planet. It may be scary for a little while, but just like some of the ghouls and goblins of Halloween, this too shall pass.

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