Facing one of the most challenging economic periods of the last 50 years, Citi Prepaid quickly eliminated over one million checks annually issued by Maryland's Division of Unemployment Insurance. The State now delivers efficient, economical payments to beneficiaries with their Citi Prepaid solution, which also provides impressive benefits to the State and its citizens.
Since the early 1990s, Maryland has had a strong interest in shifting their unemployment payments to a prepaid card program to leverage the efficiency and efficacy of electronic payment delivery. However, with the inability to find the right partner to power the program, the initiative never got off the ground for the State. Numerous factors motivated Maryland to make the move to prepaid cards to facilitate electronic delivery of their unemployment payments, including extensive costs related to check printing, administration and delivery, costly and inconvenient equipment breakdowns and major burdens related to the re-issuance and security of paper checks. The State needed a fast, reliable, cost-effective method to provide unemployment payments to citizens who depended on them. It also needed to eliminate the burdens of paper checks, during one of the most challenging economic periods of the last 50 years. Additional concerns included eliminating high fees charged by check cashing agencies for citizens who had no personal banking accounts, as well as providing the unemployed with easy, "no fee" access to their funds.
Citi Prepaid rapidly implemented and launched a comprehensive solution allowing Maryland to quickly shift from paper checks to electronic delivery for unemployment payments. This fully customized program features personalized Citi Visa® Prepaid Cards for beneficiaries. According to Maryland's Unemployment Insurance Assistant Secretary, "This new program eliminates the problems caused by lost or delayed checks, and can save beneficiaries the costs of fees sometimes associated with cashing checks. It's a great program for our State, and for our residents."
The Citi Prepaid solution provides fee-free fund access for recipients:
At Citibank network ATMs for cash access
Everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted to make retail purchases
At banks that display the Visa logo for cash access
At participating retailers that provide cash-back purchases
Recipients can also manage their account for free online and make bank transfers for free. They can also access their account and get 24/7 multilingual toll-free support. These tools provide significant benefits to the recipients who traditionally have had limited means to access their account information. It also gives added efficiency to the State, as Customer Service is now managed by Citi Prepaid.
The Citi Prepaid solution eliminated 100% of paper checks for new beneficiaries in a matter of weeks, saving the State an estimated USD400,000 annually in check-related costs alone. According to Maryland's Unemployment Insurance Assistant Secretary, "For Maryland, beneficiaries who once had to avail themselves of usurious check-cashing locations can now get their unemployment funds fee-free with Citi's extensive cash access network. While the system is just months old, we are already beginning to see significant cost savings. We chose to implement prepaid cards for new claim filers only, so our savings and other operation improvements will be incremental." The solution has also streamlined processes for Maryland's Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. Plus, it has provided a valuable cost saving program to the citizens of the State.