Treasury addressing issues with stimulus debit cards

DES MOINES ― After discussions with officials at the U.S. Treasury, the Iowa Attorney General’s Office reports that several problems with Economic Impact Payment debit cards should be resolved. 

Nearly 4 million Americans have received their stimulus payments by prepaid debit card, instead of by paper check or direct deposit. The debit cards have created much confusion, and the Attorney General’s Office has heard from about 200 Iowans with questions and concerns regarding potential fraud, customer service, access, fees and other problems with the cards. 

“While we appreciate that prepaid debit cards are secure, we are concerned that this confusion could be exploited by scammers and result in financial harm to those an Economic Impact Payment was intended to help,” Attorney General Tom Miller said. “We’re pleased that the U.S. Treasury is addressing our concerns.” 

Many consumers believed their card to be fraudulent or a solicitation and discarded it. They later had difficulty getting a new card without the card number.  

The U.S. Treasury has waived the $7.50 replacement fee for the first replaced card, and it has changed the phone system to help recipients reach a live customer service representative. Consumers should call 800-240-8100, press “2” when prompted to report a lost or stolen card, and enter the last six digits of their Social Security number. 

Representatives from the offices of the Iowa and Nebraska attorneys general and the National Association of Attorneys General spoke with U.S. Treasury officials on Monday. The Treasury officials said they have taken the following measures:
• increased the daily limit for cash withdrawals from $1,000 to $2,500, which should cover most consumers; 
• allowed recipients to transfer all of the money from their EIP card to a bank account for free; 
• verified that cards issued with an incorrect last name (such as a spouse’s name) are still valid. 

The Treasury officials said they will work with MetaBank to update the website to address the above issues. They also promised to answer any further questions from attorneys general in a timely manner. 

The Treasury indicated that nearly all of the cards have been mailed out. 

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