Is a prepaid debit card a bank account?

If someone receives government benefits on a prepaid debit card, is that considered a bank account or is it technically cash?

“Considered” by who? The payee, the payer, the sending and receiving banks who facilitate the direct deposit transactions from the govt. to the cardholder, the IRS, the FDIC, etc.?

I wouldn’t consider it a bank account or cash. It’s an “asset.”

I agree. So if you were listing your assets would you just call it a “prepaid debit card” with x amount of dollars on it?

It depends on who you’re listing them for.

A debit card (assuming it’s issued by a bank) is a bank account in the ordinary meaning of those words - a series of transactions between a bank and its customer in each of which money is either lodged with or withdrawn from the bank.

Depending on the circumstances, there might be some debate over whose bank account it is - i.e. who is the bank’s customer. The person holding and using the debit card is usually but not always the bank’s customer.

The answer depends. Is this a tax question?

No, not a tax question. I’m applying for the medicare savings program where one must list assets. (Bank accounts etc.) That’s why I wanted to know if any balance on the card is considered cash or a bank account.

I’d list it as a bank account. “Cash” to me is notes and coin. But so long as you list it as one or the other, so that it gets taken into account in totting up your assets, I can’t see anyone getting hugely excited.

Thanks. That’s what I thought too. And in the same vein, if I have a secured credit card is the deposit that I put up considered my asset as well if the card issuer has the money? It would be easier if I could just call all these things “cash.”

Again, the purist in me says that this is not cash that you have; this is a debt that someone owes to you, and if the someone is a bank and the debt arises in the course of a banking relationship then this is a bank account.

But the pragmatist in me says that so long as you include it in your assets and so long as Medicare know about it and can take into account, it probably doesn’t matter hugely which column you put it in.

In my limited experience which may not apply…

Those prepaid refillable cards which you can get your payroll on are bank accounts created in care of so-and-so. A $20 debit card you can buy at checkout with cash and not associated with a customer’s details are probably considered an account by the bank and nobody else. You should ask medicare. If it was me and I couldn’t get an answer from them, I’d say screw it and list it as cash (unless it was more than like $3000 worth or had a complicated transaction history.)