WageWorks Inc. commemorated the 25th anniversary of TransitChek, the nation’s first commuter benefits program.
Originally launched in 1987 as a $15 tax-free monthly fringe benefit, the employer-provided, federal tax benefit has since expanded and evolved.
According to the 2010 TransitCenter Inc. Commuter Benefit Impact Survey, the commuter benefit is one of the “Core Four” most commonly offered benefits (health, retirement, disability and commuter) by employers. Based on industry figures, the benefit has been adopted by more than 10,000 employers and is used by an estimated 2.7 million employees nationwide. The growing popularity of the benefit has been driven primarily by the substantial savings the program yields for both participants and their employers. IRS allowable amounts for transit and parking are exempt from withholding and payment of payroll taxes by the employer. These benefit amounts are also excluded from the employee’s gross income for federal tax purposes and from state and local taxes in most states.
“The providers of TransitChek have spent the last 25 years maximizing savings for commuters,” said Dan Neuburger, president of WageWorks Commuter Services. “The commuter benefit has evolved immensely in the past quarter century and become an invaluable cost saving tool for millions of Americans and their employers. Each day, more employers are recognizing the value and importance of commuter benefits as part of a portfolio of employee spending account benefits, and we have continued to make it easier for companies to increase employee participation by integrating technology such as mobile access,” he added.
A Timeline of Commuting Innovation
From 1987 to today, TransitChek has introduced a wave of innovations that has driven the growth of commuter benefits and made it more convenient to participate.
A decade after launch of the original paper voucher, the TransitChek MetroCard was introduced in New York City, and by 2000 the Premium TransitChek MetroCard allowed for a MetroCard valid for up to a year. By 2003, the TransitChek Premium Program was available via a Web-based application. In 2004 came the TransitChek QuickPay Card, a prepaid Visa card, which offered pre- and post-tax benefits for transit and parking, and monthly electronic funding. The TransitChek QuickPay Prepaid Visa Card and the TransitChek Prepaid Visa Card are issued by The Bancorp Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. The Bancorp Bank, Member FDIC.
Continuing its legacy of innovation, in 2011 TransitChek Mobile was launched as the next generation of commuter benefits, enabling commuters to change and manage their commuter benefits online, via their mobile phones.
Most recently, TransitChek unveiled its new website, www.transitchek.com, at the SHRM 2012 Annual Conference and Exposition. The new site features enhanced content and tools, such as video, to support employers and commuters in saving with the TransitChek program.