Direct Express

Direct Express

 1.8/5 (580 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

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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.

Top Direct Express Reviews

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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?
  • 4,010,481 reviews on ConsumerAffairs are verified.
  • We require contact information to ensure our reviewers are real.
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For more information about reviews on ConsumerAffairs.com please visit our FAQ.

Page 1 Reviews 0 - 10
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Aug. 11, 2022

I had to literally shut my Direct Express debit card down that I was getting for SS. These people are the worst at customer service and I had my Identity Stolen from me through an internet scam and could not get a hold of Direct Express to save my life! ON HOLD FOR HOURS on the phone, or phone call completely dropped! so, I had to lock my SS profile with the Government and the only way to make changes to my SS is in person, at an office. ALL BECAUSE OF DIRECT EXPRESS INCOMPETENCE. Word of Advice? STAY AWAY from Direct Express. WORST. COMPANY. EVER.

18 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Aug. 6, 2022

It appears I am not the only one disgruntled with this company. I had several dealings with the customer service department of Direct Express. My credit card information was stolen and they were not at all helpful. Took 13 days not 10 to get replacement card. When I called to see where the new card was they said they could cancel that one and send a new. What??? And wait 13+ more days. You people don't seem to realize you are playing with people's livelihoods.

To make someone on a fixed income wait a 1/3 of a month to access their funds. I received my insurance cards within 3 days how is it that it takes 13 days for D.E. to mail a card within the U.S. I was charged the $4 fee for replacement even though 1st was to be free. The 1st time I paid $13.50 to get card replaced so this one should have been waived. When I complained they denied the return of the $4. Called to speak to supervisor and was hung up on 3 times. Monies that were taken by theft have not been returned and I was verbally threatened that if I did not get paperwork back within 10 days I most likely would not.

Paperwork arrived today with date of 7/26... I put back into the mail today 8.5...that is 10 days...so NOW WHAT.... I won't receive $ stolen from me. I think the U.S. Government needs to find a more customer service based company to deal with it's elderly clientele as Direct Express MasterCard is not the one. They nickel and dime fixed income customers which in my book is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE. For this reason I am cancelling my account and opening an account with someone who knows how to treat it's customers. Beware Social Security recipients Direct Express MasterCard is a disreputable company and will not give you good service. Take your business to a regular bank you will be better served.

12 people found this review helpful

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    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Aug. 4, 2022

    After having a $40 charge on my card for months from an unknown place, reporting fraud twice, with no results I finally just cancelled my card and got a new one. I got my new card but then I couldn't use it. Called, waited, no joke, 2 hours on hold. Dude said he lifted the whitelist or whatever and I had to wait 2 hours to use my card. Well, I waited 3 just in case. Still card don't work. Call back, no joke waited 1.30 hrs finally, the lady verified some declined purchases, lifted a block and said I would not have any problems. Again, thing don't work. Call back another 2 hours on hold, he said the first guy put it in wrong, did another whitelist thing and again, gotta wait 2 hours to use it. At this point it 8:30 pm. Been on the phone since 10am. Seriously! No joke!

    I fell asleep, tried to get an Uber to work. Card don't work still!! Wtf!? Now to many callers, call back later, been getting this all day. I had to call out of work. My first freaking day! Dude wtf is wrong with these people. I don't understand. So I found a solution. I walked to a bank and did a directexpress withdrawal with the clerk, I just withdrew all money and got a prepaid Netspend/Western Union card. No more problems. It sucks to have to do, but it's better then dealing with incompatent screwups and wasting my days even trying with these people. Seriously. Not worth it.

    9 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: July 29, 2022

    This bank sent my card to the wrong address and it was activated and my SSI money was stolen. They refused to reimburse the money and claim they didn't do anything wrong. They apologized in an email after I notified them that the initial email only expressed regret not the reason for the regret.

    8 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: July 26, 2022

    DE has to be the most Unscrupulous and Worst Financial Institutions.

    First, approx. 5M Customers with SSDI and SSI Debit Cards.
    2nd, One (1) incoming telephone line and Fax line.
    3rd, Approx wait times 90 minutes -2 HRS.
    4th, Pre-recorded 24/7 Message: "We are experiencing heavier than normal call volume."
    5th, DE is not able to explain why and how so many debit cards are hit with Fraudulent Charges. The dollar figures in the tens of Millions.
    6th, No dispute forms are available for download.
    7th, You may as well swim in shark-infested water!!

    8th, DE Reps and Fraud Division personnel are arrogant, inexperienced and should be working elsewhere, like Dollar General or Cicis Pizza.

    My card has been compromised 2X and funds not returned; despite sending all documentation. This Parasite of a Financial Institution has taken advantage of the Disabled and Mentally Challenged customers that are not able to hold and wait for two hours or the elderly customers that just plain give up. A Class Action Law Suit Must be initiated, so that, the customers whom have been taken advantage of/ have their funds rightfully returned and the Culprits from DE be exposed and spend the next millennium behind bars while making the DE Debit Cards!!

    12 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: July 12, 2022

    On 6/29/2022 All my ID docs and bank card were stolen by an abuser/stalker. Between 7/1/2022 to 7/5/2022 It took many calls and 22 hours on hold get Direct Express to answer the phone. I told them of the card and ID theft. They claimed they would cancel the stolen card and would send me a new card. A Direct Express Fraud Department agent 'verified' me by sending a code to my email. Agent said they would debit my account $18 for the new card and it would arrive in 2 days. They had NO hesitation sending a new card to my mom's address in another state using an email verification code. The card arrived 4 days later.

    On 7/8/2022 I called the Direct Express number to activate the new card - after over 5 hours on hold - my call was transferred to the Fraud Dept. Direct Express Fraud Dept REFUSED activate the new card. Direct express agent (and a "supervisor") Demanded front and back copies of my driver license, birth certificate and social security card. <<-- ALL THE ID THAT THEY KNEW WAS STOLEN BEFORE THEY SENT A NEW CARD. They refused to accept a copy of the police report. They refused to verify me using any security questions. They refused to verify me using the same email verification code method they've been using for the 3 years I've had DirectExpress. MY ABUSER/ID THEIF COULD HAVE FAXED ALL MY STOLEN DOCS IN AS THE "PROOF" THEY WERE DEMANDING. ONLY MY EMAIL IS SECURE OR SAFE!

    They have KNOWINGLY left a domestic abuse victim stranded, with no access to my own money, food or shelter, and KNOWING my phone would be shut off any minute. I can not even call for help if my abuser finds me. Direct Express "supervisor" told me: "Too bad. It's not my problem. If you don't like it have your money deposited somewhere else." When I informed her I absolutely intended to make that happen, the Direct Express "supervisor" said: "Go ahead but if you cancel Direct Express, we're keeping the money in your account and there's nothing you can do about it."

    I tried calling back two days later on 7/10/2022. Direct Express has voided the card number they sent me and removed my social security number from their system. I now have no way to contact them and no way to get the money they've stolen from my account. Even after Direct Express has taken my money and locked me out of my account, they keep giving my personal info to my abuser. Direct Express has given an abusive stalker my mom's address and phone number - enabling him to Harass and Threaten an 80 Year Old Lady. And I have no way to make Direct Express Stop endangering us or make them refund my money.

    7 people found this review helpful
    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.

    8 people found this review helpful
    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.

    4 people found this review helpful
    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

    20 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.

    20 people found this review helpful
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    Direct Express Company Information

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