Ways and Means Democrats Demand Answers on the Use of Prepaid Debit Cards to Deliver Economic Impact Payments

May 28, 2020
Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Amid recent reports that the Department of Treasury’s (Treasury) practice of using debit cards to deliver economic impact payments (EIP) has been confusing Americans, House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman John Lewis (D-GA), along with all of the Democratic members of the Oversight Subcommittee, called on Treasury to explain the practice and clarify the protections given to recipients. Treasury announced earlier this month that an estimated four million individuals would receive their EIP by prepaid debit card. Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Congresswoman Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-NY), Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA), Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI), and Congressman Brendan Boyle (D-PA) all signed on to the letter.
 
“Treasury recently stated that these cards are ‘secure, easy to use, and allow [Treasury] to deliver Americans their money quickly.’ However, recent reports indicate the cards are creating confusion and actually may delay when Americans receive this emergency assistance,” wrote the lawmakers. “In the last week, there are reports that taxpayers are confused by the EIP prepaid debit cards and are concerned that they are scams.  For starters, the cards arrive in a plain white envelope from ‘Money Network Cardholder Services,’ which is not a name that taxpayers recognize. Further, there is no indication on the envelope or the card itself that it is an EIP or that it comes from Treasury. Alarmingly, if an individual calls the number listed in the accompanying materials, the activation line requires the individual to enter a substantial portion of his or her Social Security number.” 
 
The Ways and Means Democrats concluded: “When added together, these facts are leading many individuals to believe that the debit cards are junk mail or a scam.”
 
The lawmakers requested that Treasury respond to the following questions by June 2, 2020:
1. The number of cards that have been mailed to date and the number activated;
2. The number of cards for which taxpayers have requested a replacement and, if known, the reason for the replacement;
3. A schedule of all fees associated with the cards, including replacement and mailing fees;
4. The total dollar amount of all fees charged to users to date and, if known, the reason for the fee; and 
5. The criteria used for selecting these taxpayers to receive a card instead of a paper check.
 
The full letter is available HERE.
 
Treasury's 6/19 response can be found HERE
 
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