Little-Known Facts About Your Prepaid U.S. Bank ReliaCard
What Is a ReliaCard?
This product from U.S. Bank is designed to help people receive government benefits, such as unemployment compensation and/or child support payments. It is a debit card that is issued by state agencies in place of paper checks.
How to Start Using Your ReliaCard: Important Tips
- Make sure your info is up-to-date. Make sure that the Card Services department (which can be reached 24/7 at the number on the back of your card) has your updated address and phone number. This will ensure that you can get card replacements quickly and easily. It will also ensure that your identity verification goes smoothly whenever you need to speak to a call center agent.
- Know your provider's terms and conditions. Knowing your card provider's terms and conditions will help you understand how transactions are handled. Of course, due to the fine-print nature of the documentation, it can be easy to overlook the important items. Reading every disclosed piece of information will make you aware of U.S. Bank's policies and help you avoid headaches and the inconvenience of having to resolve problems.
Using Your ReliaCard for Gas
According to the current ReliaCard FAQ, gas stations may place a hold on your card that's greater than the amount of your purchase when you pay outside at the pump. For example, your ReliaCard may be pre-authorized for a $74.00 hold when swiped at the pump, even if you only bought $10.00 worth of gas.
The automated fuel dispenser is an unmanned terminal that doesn't "know" how much fuel you intend to purchase. Therefore, the second the card is swiped, the $74.00 hold is instantly initiated. (If you have less than $74.00 in your account balance, then the card will be pre-authorized for the remaining amount on your card.) Once the gas station comes and collects the funds for the actual gas purchase per your receipt, the unspent part of the hold will be available again in your card balance.
Example: If you pump $10.00 worth of gas, that $10.00 will be matched against the $74.00 hold (or another amount if there's less than $74.00 in your card balance). This results in $64.00 being returned to your available balance after the transaction is complete.
How to Avoid the Hold: Don't Pay at the Pump!
Don't pay outside at the pump—pay inside with the cashier instead. If you go inside the gas station and pre-pay for your fuel, no other amounts will be held on the card. You will only see the exact transaction amount. Per the card's FAQ, some ReliaCard programs don't even offer the pay-at-the-pump option, so you may need to always pay inside anyways.
Frequently Asked Questions About ReliaCards
Can I Leave a Tip?
If you go to a restaurant or a bar, your card will be pre-authorized for about 15 to 30 percent (the official FAQ suggests 20 percent) over your actual bill to accommodate a gratuity amount if you wish. If you don't leave a tip on the card, it will still be over-authorized for that percentage and then settle for the actual amount on your receipt once the establishment submits the invoice for payment.
Can I Go Over the Prepaid Card Limit?
Although these cards are prepaid, some merchants can force transactions to go through and be honored by U.S. Bank. Therefore, knowing exactly what your balance is before you make a purchase will prevent an over-authorization on your card account and help you avoid expensive overdraft fees. If you have opted in for the Overdraft feature that allows the card account to go into the negative, keep in mind that overdraft fees will be assessed for EACH transaction that makes your account negative each time—even if it's only over by one cent.
How Do Overdraft Fees Work?
Overdraft fees can occur in about 24 to 48 hours after the transaction that caused the card account to go negative has posted.
As a cardholder, you are entitled to have one fee reversed once per calendar year, regardless of the amount. It's your right, and you're entitled to ask for this courtesy when talking to Customer Service.
How Can I Cancel a ReliaCard Transaction?
If you make a purchase that you no longer want, by law, you the customer can't cancel it. Unfortunately, the merchant has to provide the Card Services Customer Service agent with an approval code, which is a 6-digit number that starts with a zero, while the charges are in pending status. Otherwise, the transaction has to settle, and then you may ask to dispute it with U.S. Bank.
Why Was My ReliaCard Rejected?
The ReliaCard comes with a security feature to prevent unauthorized use. If you attempt three transactions and those are rejected, the card will automatically block itself to prevent further use until you call Customer Service to have them unblock it. The same is true if your PIN is entered incorrectly three times.
How Do I Check the Balance on My ReliaCard?
When using an ATM, don't rely on the balance stated on your receipt as the most current information on your available funds. Always check your card through the automated phone line at 866-276-5114 or by accessing the card's website: U.S. Bank ReliaCard.
What If I Lose My Card?
Call Customer Service to report your lost card immediately and request a replacement. If you have yet to receive your card replacement, you can access your funds by asking Customer Service for a funds transfer to a valid checking or savings account at a bank or credit union. Depending on where you live, there may be a $2.00 fee, but it's free otherwise. When you call, make sure to have the bank's 9-digit routing number and the account number handy. Depending on your financial institution, the funds may be available in 1 to 3 business days, not counting the weekend or holidays.
What If I Want to Close My Account and Cancel My Card?
Finally, you're not obligated to keep your ReliaCard account open. You may choose to have your government agency close it and request that your benefit funds be direct-deposited into your bank, credit union, or even another prepaid card program of choice.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.