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Cartwright Presses Treasury for Answers on CARES Act Stimulus Payment Prepaid Cards, Timing of Forthcoming Checks

Jun 16, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (PA-08) today sent a letter to the U.S. Treasury Department following calls from concerned constituents who received their CARES Act stimulus payment in the form of a prepaid card that came from outside the U.S. Treasury Department, as well as those who still have yet to receive their payment.

“I’ve heard from many constituents who were unsure if the card they received was a scam, or worried about sharing sensitive financial details with a company outside the Treasury. Americans need to know that their personal financial information will be kept safe, especially during this challenging time,” Cartwright said. “I’m eager to hear from the Treasury Department on behalf of my constituents who received these cards, and those who are still waiting to get the relief they were promised under the CARES Act.”

The letter can be read below and here. More information about the prepaid cards can also be found below.

The Honorable Steven Mnuchin, Secretary
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20201

Dear Secretary Mnuchin:

As you know, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act provided economic impact payments (EIP) to eligible U.S. citizens up to $1,200 plus an additional $500 for each dependent child.  Initially, the Treasury issued the EIP by either a direct deposit or paper check.  On May 18, 2020, the Treasury announced that future EIP would be issued by MetaBank through a prepaid debit card.

I have heard concerns from constituents in my district regarding these prepaid debit cards. Many families were not expecting mail from MetaBank and threw away the prepaid debit card or are hesitant to share personal information with an unfamiliar company. This added both time and expense for many hardworking families to have access to the EIP. Additionally, MetaBank has issued certain fees on these cards, including an ATM withdrawal out-of-network fee, over-the-counter cash withdrawal fee, and an ATM balance inquiry fee.

As a strong believer in governmental transparency, I am requesting additional information into the Treasury’s decision to use these prepaid debit cards.  In particular, I request an answer to the following questions:

  1. How was it determined that this particular group of Americans was singled out for prepaid cards when most people received checks or direct deposit?
  2. What specific measures are being taken to safeguard taxpayer personal identifiable information?
  3. What steps are you taking to ensure the contractor is being responsive to requests to replace lost or stolen cards?
  4. Are any more major changes to the disbursement of economic impact payments planned for the future?
  5. Could you please provide a general update on how many payments have been distributed and a timeline for future payments?

Many individuals and families in my district and across the U.S. are still awaiting this critical relief. Thank you for your consideration of this important issue.  I look forward to hearing from you soon.