Tuesday, January 14, 2014

TransitChek for MetroCard & MetroNorth Commuting

One of the easiest things one can do to save some money on her MTA commute is to use TransitCheck. Signing up for the TransitCheck program is really easy, and will help cut down on commuting costs. Used to its full potential, TransitCheck can save an employee up to $1,825.00 per year, and the company up to $350.00 per employee, per year.

The program allows one to buy MetroCard, Metro-North tickets, and even some parking pre-tax, which means that while one will still pay $112.00 per month for her Unlimited Monthly MetroCard, that money is taken from her paycheck before taxes are applied, lowering the amount she pays in taxes just a little. Also, since the money is split up over the course of the month's paychecks, she does not need to worry about budgeting for her MetroCard, or even buying one -- it is delivered with her paycheck once a month.

The only possible drawback is that if one's 30-Day Unlimited MetroCard or 7-day Express Bus Plus MetroCard is lost or stolen, she cannot file a claim because her MetroCard cannot be traced to a credit card. But if this is something one worries about, she can simply take her pre-tax amount in a different form, and buy smaller amounts, so a lost or stolen card will not do as much monetary damage. I no longer buy a Monthly Unlimited MetroCard, so instead, I receive the pre-tax amount requested on a Visa card that works at any MTA machine. This allows me to use some of the money for the subway, and some of the money for Metro-North.

Most companies offer TransitCheck, but not every employee thinks to ask. If one is not already taking advantage of the program, she should sign up for it right away -- the only requirement is to decide how much she wants taken out each month. I have used the program in both part-time and full-time positions, so I know being part-time does not disqualify an employee from taking advantage of it.

However, sometimes a company is resistant to signing up for TransitCheck because they assume they will have to pay for it. When I first came to work with my current company, TransitCheck was not offered. I had to ask several times for this benefit, but once I pointed out that it doesn't cost the company anything, and in fact, the company saves up to $350.00 per employee per year in payroll taxes, they were on board, and signed up right away.

So whether one just needs to take advantage of the program already offered, or convince her company to offer it, one should do so today. It might be a small savings, but why pay a penny more in taxes than one must?

Both images from TransitCheck.

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