Publication Date



This article describes a pilot program encouraging low-income workers to have their tax refunds directly deposited into low-cost bank accounts. The program did not lead to substantial saving and asset accumulation in the short-term. However, surveys and interviews suggest that the program helped some participants spend money more slowly and more thoughtfully, introduced some to account ownership or direct deposit, and encouraged some to obtain other mainstream financial products. Thus, the program may have helped low-income families “get on track” for future saving and asset accumulation.

Document Type

Working Paper


Financial Inclusion

Original Citation

Beverly, S. G., Romich, J. L., & Tescher, J. (2003). Linking tax refunds and low-cost bank accounts: A social development strategy for low-income families? (CSD Working Paper 03-17). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.


tax refunds, bank accounts, financial services, savings, low income, social development, Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), saving