MS leads the way in electronic programs, but can still be costly - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

MS leads the way in electronic programs, but can still be costly

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

With debit cards ruling payment options, many state assistance programs like child support and unemployment went to cards a few years ago as well, and since then the programs have become a huge success.

"The top advantage is the convenience, they receive their money quicker," said Department of Employment Security customer operations director Jimmy Giles.

The cards can also end up costing those who rely on them. Currently folks are allowed up to three transactions a month at three banking agencies across the state, after that fees pop up at about $1.75 for each transaction. However, there are couple of ways to escape them.

"After you go over the three cash withdrawals, you can still avoid the fees by asking for cash back when you make a purchase," said Department of Human Services program administrator Rickey Berry.

"If an individual selects, they can have money deposited in their own personal account as opposed to using the debit card," said Giles.

With little or no complaints from customers for the Department of Human Services, the cards mean big savings and a way to get out of the check writing business.

"We save tens of thousands of dollars a year in postage and paper costs," said Berry.

At the Department of Employment Security, the savings are even higher at more than a million dollars of taxpayer money each year.

"That's cost savings for paper, for printers, for staff to handle the checks, for mailing costs etc.," said Giles.

Mississippi is one of the top states in the nation when it comes to these programs, a model other states try and implement.

"We've probably been visited by 30 states in the last two years wanting to gain an understanding of how Mississippi runs the unemployment insurance program."

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