"direct express card"

Last updated on 11/2/19

The Direct Express debit card is a prepaid card issued by the US Department of Treasury Department.

It is offered to those who receive federal benefit payments, including Social Security Benefits and Supplemental Security Income.

It is an option for meeting the federal law that requires all government benefits to be received electronically. The card is issued by Comerica Bank.

This post on “How to Sign Up for Direct Express Debit Card” will cover:

  • Benefits of Direct Express Card
  • How to Sign up for Direct Express Card
  • How long it takes to get Card
  • Where You Can Use the Direct Express Card
  • Who can Apply for Direct Express Card?
  • FAQs

"direct express debit card"

Benefits of Direct Express Debit Card

If you are thinking of receiving your federal benefits payment via the direct express debit card, there are several benefits to doing so.

Here are the key benefits why we think the direct express debit MasterCard is a great alternative to traditional bank account:

Safe to Use

With the Direct Express card, there is no need to carry large amounts of cash and no risk of lost or stolen checks.

Easy to Use

When you sign up for the card, your federal benefits payment will automatically be deposited to your card account on payment day each month.

You no longer have to wait for a check to arrive in the mail.


With your Direct Express card, you can make purchases anywhere Debit MasterCards are accepted.

You can also get cashback at retail locations, banks and credit unions, and ATMs throughout the world.

Most services are free

One of the best features we like about the Direct Express card is that most of the services the card offers are free when compared to other prepaid cards.

Here is a table that shows you all the free services:

"Benefits of Direct Express Card"

We have provided the video below from the Treasury Department, which explains in detail all the benefits that come with the card.

You will learn how convenient and easy it is to use the Direct Express debit card.

We highly recommend watching this video if you are thinking of signing up for the card.

How to Sign up for Direct Express Debit Card

The sign-up process for the Direct Express card is very simple.
If you are currently receiving federal benefit payments such as Social Security or Supplemental Security Income, here’s what to do:
Call the Direct Express card enrollment center toll free at 1 (800) 333-1795 and a representative will walk you through how to sign up.
You can also sign up online. To do so, click here.

How long it takes to get Card

One of the most frequently asked questions is how long it takes to receive the Direct Express card in the mail once you have applied.
Here is how it works:
Once you call the phone number above to sign up, your information is going to be verified to make sure you are a recipient of federal benefits.
Once that is confirmed, it takes about 7-10 days for the card to be mailed to you.

Where You Can Use the Direct Express Card

The card is very easy to use when making purchases. All you need to do is present it anywhere Debit MasterCard is accepted.

Once the purchase is complete, the money is automatically deducted from your account.

You may also get cashback with your purchase at many merchant locations, including grocery stores, pharmacies, and some convenience stores.

Your card can also be used to make purchases online and pay bills with merchants that accept Debit MasterCard.

You also have the option to use the card to buy money orders at the U.S. Post Office or other locations that accept the card.

"How to Sign up for Direct Express Card"

Who can Apply for Direct Express Card?

The US Treasury now requires that federal benefit payments (including Social Security, VA benefits) must be made electronically.
You can, therefore, choose to have your payments sent via direct deposit to your checking or savings account at a bank or credit union.
Alternatively, you can sign up for Direct Express Debit MasterCard Account.
If you are not compliant with the law, you may be enrolled in the Direct Express program unless you are granted an exception from the law.

The following federal benefits can be received electronically via the direct express debit Mastercard:

  • U.S. Coast Guard
  • The DFAS Annuitant Pay
  • DFAS Retired Military Pay
  • DFAS Former Spouse Pay
  • Black Lung
  • Federal Employee Workers Comp
  • Long Shore and Harbor Workers Comp
  • Energy
  • Civil Service Retirement/Annuity
  • Civil Service Survivor/Annuity
  • Railroad Retirement Annuity
  • Railroad Retirement Unemployment/Sickness
  • Social Security Retirement
  • Supplemental Security Income
  • DC Pension
  • The Veterans Compensation and Pension
  • Veterans Education MGIB
  • The Veterans Education/Selected Reserve
  • Veterans Vocational Rehab and Employee
  • The Chapter 33 – VA EDU Post 911 – Post 911 GI Bill
  • Chapter 35 – VA DEP EDU ASST – Dependents Education Assistance Program
  • Chapter 1607 – VA EDUCTN REAP – Reserve Education Assistance
  • Veterans Health Administration
  • Compensated Work Therapy
  • Veterans Medical Research

Direct Express Questions

Here are the top questions asked by new recipients of the Direct Express card:

Is the Direct Express Card safe?

Yes, the funds on the Direct Express card is FDIC-insured up to the maximum legal limit.
In addition, federal consumer laws protect you against unauthorized use of your card.

If you are a victim of fraud or see unauthorized transactions on your card, contact Direct Express customer service immediately.

Finally, if your card is lost or stolen, it will be replaced upon request.

How do I avoid Direct Express transaction fees?

It is understandable that most cardholders are worried about Direct Express card fees.

That’s because a majority of cardholders are on a fixed income and do not want their money eaten up in fees.

Here are the steps you can take to avoid Direct Express fees:

First, always try and use your card at surcharge-free network ATM to make your one free withdrawal.

For subsequent withdrawals, use a Direct Express card surcharge-free network ATM to reduce the amount of fees that you pay.

Second, use your Direct Express card at stores and retail locations to pay for purchases instead of getting cash at an ATM.

Make a purchase using your PIN, especially grocery stores.

You can also get cashback for free at grocery stores, Pharmacies and convenience stores.

When you get cash at the ATM after your one free withdrawal, you will be charged a fee.

Third, you can get cash from a teller free of charge at any bank or credit union that displays the MasterCard acceptance mark.

Finally, use your Direct Express card to buy money orders at the U.S. Post Office and other locations that accept Debit MasterCard.

What’s the Easiest Way to Check my Card Balance?

The easiest way to check the balance on your Direct Express card is to log in online and review your account information. Click here to log in to your account.

If you need help logging in, see our login help here.

You can also view your card balance on the Direct Express Mobile app. Click here for details on how to download the app on your phone.

In addition, you can also check your card balance at no cost by calling the Direct Express card toll-free Customer Service Department number.

They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The number to call is 1 (888) 741-1115.

Finally, you can check your card balance at any ATM that displays the MasterCard acceptance mark, at no cost.


We hope this post on How to Sign Up for Direct Express Debit Card was helpful.

If your question was not answered and are still having trouble signing up for a Direct Express account, please let us know in the comments section below.

Be sure to check out our other articles on Direct Express including Direct Express log in help and Top Complaints about Direct Express Card.



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