Direct Express

Direct Express

 1.3/5 (33 ratings)
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About Direct Express

Direct Express is a prepaid card that gives you access to your federal benefits regardless of whether you have a bank account. If you receive federal benefits and want a secure way to store and use your funds, Direct Express’ easy-to-use debit card gives you simple access and is accepted at many locations.

Overall Satisfaction Rating

  • 5 stars
  • 4 stars
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Pros

  • All funds are FDIC-insured
  • No bank account necessary
  • Works where Mastercard is accepted

Cons

  • No lines of credit or loans available

Bottom Line

Direct Express gives federal benefits recipients an easy way to access funds without needing a bank account. The majority of federal funds are eligible for use with Direct Express, and its application process is simple and free.

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Rated with 5 stars
Verified

I actually feel safe with this card because it is an extension of the disability/social security dept and the app they have is so useful and convenient way to get your balance and...

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Rated with 5 stars
Verified

I love this card. I don't have very many issues and if I do customer service takes care of it. Seeing all these bad reviews I felt I should share my experience. My card was cloned...

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What is Direct Express?

Direct Express gives consumers access to their federal funds through its convenient and secure debit card. You could be eligible for Direct Express’ card if you receive funding from one of the following government agencies:

  • Coast Guard
  • Defense Finance and Accounting Service
  • Department of Labor
  • Office of Personnel Management
  • Railroad Retirement Board
  • Social Security Administration
  • Department of the Treasury
  • Veterans Affairs
  • Veterans Health Administration

You can use your Direct Express card just like a debit card at ATMs and stores that accept Mastercard. To sign up for Direct Express’ debit card, call the company's enrollment center or visit your local federal paying agency. Direct Express doesn’t require a credit check or minimum balance to sign up.

Direct Express rates and fees

Most of Direct Express’ services are free, but there are some fees associated with certain services, including:

  • Direct Express Cash Access: 85 cents per transaction
  • Funds transfer: $1.50 per transfer
  • Card replacement: $4
  • Foreign purchase fees: 3% of the purchase price

You can cancel your Direct Express account at any time at no cost by calling the company's customer service office.

Direct Express FAQ

What bank does Direct Express use?
Direct Express uses Comerica. The Treasury Department announced a five-year agreement with Comerica as its financial agent in January 2020.
How long does it take to get a Direct Express card in the mail?
Applicants receive their Direct Express cards within seven to 14 days after approval. Once you receive your card, your federal payments automatically deposit to it.
Can I put money on my Direct Express card?
No, you can’t put money on your Direct Express card. The only funds you can access or have on your Direct Express card are those from the government.
How do I contact Direct Express customer service?
You can contact Direct Express’ customer service representatives by calling its customer service hotline.

Is Direct Express worth it?

Direct Express’ basic services are free, and its card doesn’t require a credit check or minimum balance. If you receive federal benefits from Social Security, the Department of Veterans Affairs or another government agency, the Direct Express card makes it easier for you to access and easily use your funds.

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How do I know I can trust these reviews about Direct Express?
How do I know I can trust these reviews about Direct Express?
  • 3,826,880 reviews on ConsumerAffairs are verified.
  • We require contact information to ensure our reviewers are real.
  • We use intelligent software that helps us maintain the integrity of reviews.
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Page 1 Reviews 0 - 10
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: May 29, 2022

I don’t know what they’re doing, but they all stick together, and change amounts at their will, and they can double talk their way out of it. For example: I had a refund transaction pending $89.97. When I called to get my last ten transactions over the phone, the refund became,”$70.20 trans to account; $14.77 trans to account;$5.00 trans to account?? Why? It = $89.97 but how and why can they manipulate the amounts. When asked to speak to someone, after many hangups, I was told $14 .77 that made the amount correct had been changed to a negative. Then they turned around and charged me fees for a new card that happened to = $14.77.

This happens all the time. And my remaining balance from old card became a negative on new card listed as card replacement fee. The same amount? They had already charged me a card rep. Fee. Now my balance is negative. Fee#2. I am posting this to bring awareness to a company that is doing underhanded business, that is ripping off the public, quite convincingly. If you have a refund credit transaction of $50 and they charge you $50 fee, they wash each other out, that’s where they’re good at it. One other incident has to be told. It was last year, Jan1st, 21. Bought Bamboo from Home Depot $160 and paid with direct express debit card. It was delivered a few days later, it was deducted from my card - Done Deal.

On last day of Jan, I get a text from Home Depot saying they’ll be delivering to my house soon. I thought to myself, ”boy they’re on the ball”. I already got it around the 1st. But I did not call, I figured they‘d figure it out. Couple hours later another text. I call Home Depot and no one can find or admit the mistake. I call Direct express and find my account is in the negative for $160. They approved it, without my knowing it. The way it works… if you don’t have money to pay for something, you don’t get it. Your card will never work if there’s no funds available. That’s it.

When trying to get to the bottom of this, I had written down the last 10 transactions (I often do this). It’s by phone automated and that was the only proof I had to show I was double charged. When they said or double talked their way around it, they said I’d have to fix it with Home Depot. No one would admit they should not have approved that second charge. So Home Depot is more than happy to help but when calling to verify the debit card second charge, Direct Express deleted all transactions pending and final total $160 right off the books. They told him there was no other charge whatsoever at the 1st of Jan. For $160 or anywhere. They deleted it away. There was nothing I could do. I told them to come out and look at my fence. It’s already done.

It’s been done for almost a month. I couldn’t have put it up in a day. But proof on paper didn’t have. I fought this until I just gave up. They know how to do it so no one’s the wiser. They work for the Federal government or with them. Nothing surprises me anymore. I can’t believe they’re doing this and getting away with it. Wake up people, Hello.. I’ve vented, I’m done, thanks for your time.

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Rated with 4 stars
Verified Reviewer
Original review: May 4, 2022

I'll admit getting through to a customer service representative is a bit of a challenge. Being on hold for 45 minutes to discuss a problem with your card is a pain in the **. When you get someone on the phone, they are not the friendliest, almost robotic in their interaction with you, but I have always gotten the problem fixed. They need web chat. I rate 4 out of 5 stars because of the customer service.

3 people found this review helpful

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    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: March 8, 2022

    On the 3rd of Feb, 2022 right before 3 am est. I and my payee went to our local wawa to withdrawal my funds to pay towards my rent, my payee noticed 176.67 or some odd close amount had been charged to this card that I know has never been approved to charge for any auto payments etc... Noone consulted anyone to make any charge or payments to this card so we took appropriate measures to report in a timely and respectful manner, we received dispute paperwork to dispute this unknown occurred transaction in which later we found out was not honored by Direct Express after telling my payee they would credit that amount back to my account if the papers were received back within a timely manner in which when that paper came from direct express we never left the post office before filling it out and immediately sending it back to direct express. "We did our part."

    They lied and were improfessional as always, you can never understand them or vice versa, when you call to fix one problem it is like a revolving door. They start messing with other crap that has nothing to do with the actual card at hand. "For instance whitelisting her other benefit card that had no problem whatsoever." See what I mean!! So long story short every day since the 3rd we have been on with dispute from that to ordering a new card to not being told we can't just activate it when it comes that we will have to go through a whole new security measure again.

    "It is way after the 3rd and we can not still after 3 different calls finding out the previous rep did not put in the correct dates caused another huge delay, me on the verge of eviction, and still I am unable to use my card. We just found out over 48 hours ago that they had to take off that whitelist that was on 3 times ago and might I mention it is past 48 hours for it to be lifted even if it does or does not work after 2 hour mark," per direct express.

    Now we're going into almost the middle of the month and still only was about to just use at pos only. Now it won't even do that again so I'm calling direct express and their phone lines are so high from there bull crap that it hangs up when you attempt to prompt to speak to a rep! Which by the way only offers to you if you wish to dispute a problem! We should not have to beg to obtain funds we went through to get fixed numerous times before it is like noone takes their time to read do their job and be considerate to anyone unless it happens to them or their loved ones! A

    13 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: March 3, 2022

    Have called Direct Express for the past 3 days unable to resolve my request for new card. Also, when I called each time, it took over an hour before a live person would come on the phone only to tell me they needed to transfer me to another dept? I tried calling several different numbers off the website and each time I called the automated system only gives one option to select from and when you select that option the phone hangs up on you!!!! HOW frustrating!!! I have complained to the Social Security Office as well as the US Treasury and sent an email to Direct Express regarding this issue. Hoping it will be resolved quickly.

    11 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Feb. 7, 2022

    The PNC Bank ATM machine kept my US Direct Card, asking me to contact my financial institution. When I finally, got thru to a live person, she did not know why it was taken. According to PNC Bank representative, the ATM is serviced by a third-party company, and they could not contact them. I was told that I would be charged $13+ to get the new card shipped to me USPS! Well, I had no choice as I needed my card to pay my monthly bills. Well, it's been longer than the allocated days and no card yet. However, I cannot speak with a live person now because they are always and you can't be placed in a queue, so they hang up forcing you to keep calling back. This is unacceptable and Social Security should get another vendor who cares about their client and wellbeing. We need our funds and it's not fair they have all of the control and won't even allow you to speak with them. Poor Service.

    23 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Feb. 5, 2022

    I fully hate Direct Express with a passion. It's bad. They suck so bad I'm gonna put in a lawsuit against them and sue their **, they are some low-down dirty dogs who don't care about people who getting their benefits thru disability for ssi ssa or ssdi veterans. They have me waiting a month and I still hasn't received my card. I ordered a replacement card because they canceled it due to me having a dispute. I ordered 3 replacement cards, still haven't gotten any one. I can't pay my rent, eat dinner, nothing. I'm so screwed because of these rotten ** people. I'm just so disgusted. I don't know what to do smdh, it's horrible, a freaking nightmare on Direct Express Street...

    34 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Jan. 19, 2022

    For no apparent reason, they indiscriminately lock you out of certain vendors. When I've called to find out why, they don't have a reason. I am so disgusted that I tried to link my checking account tonight to transfer funds. I tried many to verify that it was indeed me and I wanted to perform this action, and the website wouldn't take my reply - on top of that - they say I have to wait 2-3 to even transfer the funds - What?!?! This is my money and I should be able to transfer funds within 24 hours. I have changed my direct deposit to go into one of my bank accounts, and I am done with these clowns. They do not allow you to do what you want with your own money, it's absurd. For what is supposed to be a convenience, is anything but. Now I have to call customer service, and we all know how rotten their customer service is! I cannot wait to be done with them. Just horrible.

    28 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Dec. 30, 2021

    It took me four times for Direct Express to send my card overnight. They claim my address does not exist. They can not speak English. They are rude, dumb as rocks. I hate them people and so dumb they should not be in business.

    30 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Dec. 1, 2021

    I want to let people know to begin with Do Not Trust these people with your benefits because it is impossible to get money back if it gets stolen or removed without your consent. They are rude about it. As soon as you call to tell them the only option you always get is get a new card and that's as far as it goes because even if you have them check it they will come up with some excuse that covers their ** so we lose whatever it is. You can bet on that. I would think for disabled and elderly people they would be more helpful and protective of their accounts but that is not the case with this company. So soon as I finish this I am going to have my soc sec changed to my Netspend card. I have never had these problems with them. They make sure if your money gets taken that you get it back. So good luck to all that have this. I am honestly hoping you guys find you an alternative so you don't get screwed like I have. Have a great day. Dianne **

    43 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
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    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Nov. 20, 2021

    It seems if you use this card for online purchases and you need to return items for a refund you are out of luck. It is only the SSA who is authorized to put funds on your card, a vendors refund where you used the card to initially purchase notwithstanding. This ends up sucking because your card will hang up somehow and if you try to remedy this the entire amount of funds on your card can disappear. If you pay with DE and vendor must issue refunds in the same manner you initially paid with.

    There's a lot of cardholders call in their cards as lost or stolen when they try to get out of a recurrent charge or a 3 day introductory charge that rolled over into some exorbitantly charged adult websites and date sites mostly. You can get out of these charges for a little while this way but soon enough you will find the entire amount of funds on your card disappear because you ran out on a network of high risk processors and didn't properly end your contract with them. This card features a courtesy roll over to new card numbers for expired cards, lost or stolen cards so you wont have to go through updating vendors with your new card numbers. This is largely for the vendors benefit not yours however.

    It's easy to predict and guess what someone's new card number is if you know a little bit about how card numbers are generated. That hasn't changed since the 1980s and shady vendors are onto it. It's really risky using a debit card and most users of the DE card will at some point see the entire amount of funds on their card disappear usually when its freshly loaded. Its next to impossible to talk to live customer service and if you happen to get lucky enough to talk to someone they will hang up on you because they give themselves 45 days to resolve complaints. I switched to bank deposits which seem safer and less hassle to receive SSD benefits.

    15 people found this review helpful
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    Direct Express Company Information

    Company Name:
    Direct Express
    Website:
    www.usdirectexpress.com