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Bank of America launches prepaid debit card for teachers

Bank of America has launched the Visa Supply Shelf Card, a prepaid debit card that allows teachers to make purchases of classroom supplies.

The card, ranging in value from $25 to $750, can be used at designated school supply merchants, either in their stores or from their websites. Other important features include 24-hour access, both online and through a toll-free number, to check card balances and transaction history.

Issuance of Supply Shelf cards to individual teachers is managed by school districts or other educational organizations. The bank says that administering the program is far simpler for both teachers and administrators than the current typical processes involving purchase orders and the execution of paper checks.

Administrators also benefit from improved visibility of available balances through daily or monthly reports. They can exercise control by pre-authorizing only certain merchants or by blocking purchases from certain merchant types, such as gas stations and restaurants.

Cathy Bessant, president of global product solutions business at Bank of America, said: After careful study of cash and check disbursement practices for school supply purchases, we created this product that significantly minimizes delays, provides greater transparency and streamlines the school supply purchasing process.