Rep. Cindy Axne wants the Treasury to improve how Americans get stimulus checks from the federal government.
Axne sent a letter to Treasury and the IRS, urging the departments to make improvements to the communication, distribution and financial costs related to sending payments as prepaid debit cards.
“While we understand that sending prepaid debit cards is a part of attempting to get payments out faster, we would urge additional consideration of how to ensure the cards are providing the benefits they are intended to,” the members wrote. “The possibility of debit cards was not widely known, so we worry that sending these cards may have slowed use of EIP funds for many.”
Axne and other members are encouraging the federal government to expand communication with payment recipients on how to tell that the cards are authentic and how they can be traded for a check, cash or a deposit.
They also want to see the elimination of card-related fees, including penalties for ATM withdrawals.
“In this effort to soften the economic blow from coronavirus by providing these [cards] any fees are likely to simply add insult to injury,” they wrote. “We understand that the card provider needs to cover its costs, but we hope you will ensure that all fees are waived for people trying to use these cards, regardless of where they live.”
Finally, they want to see the cardholder agreement simplified for the economic impact payment debit cards.
“We worry that distributing these by sending prepaid debit cards this week may have created confusion which unnecessarily limited the ability for Americans to use these payments during this crisis,” they wrote.
According to her office, Axne wrote the letter after getting numerous calls from confused Iowans who were unsure of the authenticity of the cards and didn’t know what rules came with using the cards.