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Does your stimulus debit card have a totally made-up name? You’re not alone

Several people have reported that their spouse’s last name was used in place of their own on IRS stimulus debit cards.

Does your stimulus debit card have a totally made-up name? You’re not alone
[Photo: eipcard]

Yesterday evening, my husband and I checked the mail. We had received a mysteriously blank envelope from an address in Omaha, Nebraska. Even more strangely, it was addressed to him but used my last name instead of his.

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The letter turned out to contain an IRS stimulus debit card, issued by Money Network Cardholder Services. But the company didn’t just get my husband’s name wrong on the letter—it also put the incorrect name on the Visa debit card itself, along with “K Schwab,” an abbreviated version of my name.

Two months after the CARES Act was signed into law, millions of Americans have yet to receive stimulus payments. The process has been held up by a raft of issues, including poor communication, entirely avoidable loopholes, and unnecessary delays. Now, instead of receiving paper checks or direct deposits, about 4 million people will get prepaid debit cards, the Treasury Department announced earlier this month. But even this part of the stimulus rollout has its own problem: made-up names.

My husband isn’t alone. On Twitter, several people have reported that the card issuer replaced their last name with their spouse’s—identifying them with a name that is not theirs.

In addition, the unmarked envelope has caused problems across the country. People don’t recognize the name “Money Network Cardholder Services” or “MetaBank,” the Treasury’s financial agent that issued the card. As a result, some unsuspecting citizens threw out or cut up their card because they thought it was spam, since, as one Twitter user pointed out, it looks “EXACTLY like a pre-approved credit card junk mail.”

When reached for comment, a spokesperson for the Treasury Department said that individuals can get a free replacement card, that the standard fee of $7.50 will be waived for the first reissuance of any stimulus debit card, and any initial reissuance fees will be reversed.

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About the author

Katharine Schwab is the deputy editor of Fast Company's technology section. Email her at kschwab@fastcompany.com and follow her on Twitter @kschwabable

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