What is the Direct Express Program?
The Direct Express MasterCard is a prepaid debit card where you can receive your federal benefits electronically.
The Direct Express program makes it easier and safer to receive federal benefits.
With the Direct Express card, your federal benefit payment is automatically deposited into your card account each month on your payment day.
You can enroll in the Direct Express Program in a few easy steps:
- Check your eligibility for the Direct Express Program
- Order a Direct Express card
- Create your Direct Express account
- Activate your card
- Start receiving your benefits and using your card
Step 1: Check your eligibility for the Direct Express Program
If you are receiving federal benefit payments such as Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or VA benefits, you are eligible to apply for a Direct Express MasterCard debit card.
You can also sign up for a Direct Express Card if you are a representative payee receiving Social Security benefits for someone else.
If you are applying for benefits, you have to be approved and receive your first payment before you can enroll in the Direct Express program.
Step 2: Order a Direct Express card
To order your free Direct Express card, you need to call the Direct Express card enrollment center toll-free at (800) 333-1795. The service is available Monday-Friday between 7am and 7pm CST.
Comerica Bank, the Direct Express card issuing bank, will notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) or another federal paying agency that you have a Direct Express card.
They will also provide your agency with all the information they need to start sending benefit payments to your account.
It will take around 7-10 business days for your new Direct Express card to arrive in the mail.
Step 3: Create your Direct Express account
After you have received your card, you can create a Direct Express account either by visiting the Direct Express website or through the Direct Express mobile app.
To create a Direct Express account online:
- Go to the Direct Express website.
- Select your card number and click on “Proceed to Login”.
- For cards starting with “533248”, click the “Create New User” button and follow the instructions. For cards starting with “511563”, go to the “Activate/Register Card” section, type in your card number, and click the “Activate/Register” button.
- As a new user, you are required to enter your card information and provide your social security number and email address.
- Choose your user ID and password.
- To log in, go to the Direct Express website and select the starting number of your card.
- Click on “Proceed to Login”.
- Enter the user ID and password that you have selected.
- Once you have successfully entered your user ID and password, you will be logged in to your account.
- Now you can select a four-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN). This is the PIN code you will be using to get cash at ATMs from your Direct Express Debit Card.
To create a Direct Express account via the Direct Express mobile app:
- Download the Direct Express mobile app on your smartphone:
- If you have an iPhone and your card starts with “533248”, download the app from the App Store here. For cards beginning with “511563”, download the app here.
- If you have an Android phone and your card starts with “533248”, download the app from Google Play here. For cards beginning with “511563”, you can download the app here.
- Click the “Create New User” button and follow the instructions.
- Choose your user ID and password and use them to log in to your new account.
- Select your four-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) code.
Step 4: Activate your Direct Express card
When you receive your Direct Express card, you have to activate it before you can start using it for cash withdrawal and purchases. Your card will be ready to use immediately after it is activated.
There are three ways to activate your Direct Express card:
- Call Direct Express customer service toll-free at the number listed on the back of your card. You will be required to enter the number printed on the front of your card, your date of birth, and the last four digits of your Social Security number.
- Enter your card information on the Direct Express website and click the “Activate/Register” button. Log in to your account and activate the card.
- In the Direct Express mobile app, click on the “Register” button to sign in and activate your card.
Step 5: Start receiving your benefits and using your card
When you have completed the enrollment, your federal benefits payment will start arriving on your Direct Express account on the scheduled payment dates.
It’s important to remember that you can have access to your federal benefits payments only after you have received and activated the card.
You can use your Direct Express card to:
- Withdraw cash at ATMs
- Make purchases at grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, and convenience stores
- Get cash back at retail locations
- Pay bills and set up automatic bill payments
- Make online purchases
- Buy money orders at the U.S. Post Office
- Make withdrawals and purchases outside the United States, wherever MasterCard is accepted.
What if I have a problem accessing my account?
- Instead of logging in through the Direct Express website, try accessing your account on the mobile app. Sometimes the Direct Express website is down and it’s still possible to use the app.
- Make sure that you are using the correct user ID and password. If you don’t remember your user ID or password, you can request a new one by clicking on the “Forgot Your User ID” or “Forgot Your Password” button.
- Call Direct Express customer service toll-free at the number on the back of your card to find out if there are any issues with the Direct Express website or with your login details.
How do I contact Direct Express customer service?
If you have any questions about enrolling in the Direct Express program, setting up your account, or general questions about your Direct Express card, you can call customer service toll-free at one of the following numbers:
- Customer Service: (888) 741-1115
- Hearing-impaired: (866) 569-0447
- International: 1 (765) 778-6290 (collect).