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If my employer offers me a payroll card, do I have to accept it?

No. Your employer can’t require you to receive your wages on a payroll card. Your employer has to offer you at least one alternative.

Some employers will give you a choice between direct deposit to a payroll card, direct deposit into your bank account, or a paper check. Others may only give you a choice between a direct deposit to your own bank account or a prepaid card you choose, or a payroll card. State law determines what choices your employer has to offer to you, or if your employer must obtain your written consent before paying you with a payroll card.

Your employer or the card issuer must provide you with the card’s terms and conditions. Before you agree to receive your wages on a payroll card, make sure you understand those terms and fees. For example, some cards charge fees for out-of-network ATM withdrawals, receiving paper statements, or checking your account balance at an ATM. Some cards charge fees every time you make a purchase.

The CFPB’s prepaid rule, which came into effect April 1, 2019, requires providers to give you certain disclosures before you choose to be paid through a payroll card. However, due to phase-in rules, it may take some time before you start seeing the required disclosures. The disclosures include a “short form” that includes key fees and other important information and a “long form” that includes all fees and other information about the card.


You should be careful to check all the fees that may apply when you use your payroll card. Compare the payroll card to a prepaid card of your choice and also to a traditional bank account to see which is better for you.  If you start using a payroll card and you don’t like it, you can ask your employer to switch you to another option.