As someone who often uses prepaid cards, I'm here to share my insider tips with you to help you use your card wisely.
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.
Jennifer on September 08, 2020:
I HAVE FUNDS BUT CANT USE MY CARD DO TO IDENTY SO I FAX THE INFO UPLOADED THE INFO TO MY ACCOUNT . NOW IM TOLD ITS IN REVIEW HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO REVIEW U HAVE ORIGINAL STATE ID AND SSN ALONG WITH LEASE AGREEMENT ! Tired of calling hearing that i have money available but the card doesnt work . wtf thats why your call volume is high
CoVid PA on August 29, 2020:
Reading all these posts may help fix this flawed system. When
I initially filed. The information stated that if I had been gainfully employed for more than 2 years I would have to request a new reliacard. So I did, Backlogged my claim for 8-10 weeks and never knew what the heck was going on besides a pending/ approved status letter. Still..great news! But no funds. Kept filing and BOOM I had hardcheck after hardcheck. Still no ReliaCard. Then somehow checks started hitting my bank acct via direct deposit. Total chaos, cause I havent had it set up since the previous UC claim some 4 years earlier. But scary thing, Wheres my ReliaCard I requested some 2 months ago? Then the 3rd world fraud hackers infiltrate the system. And we stop all direct deposits and I get 2 ReliaCards the sameday? So 1 for UC benefits, and 1 for Pandemic Stimulus maybe? Well thats a NO. Customer Service told me to destroy card #????, So I did, got text alerts that money was going on card as planned. Go to use card: balance is $0. WTF now. Seems money went to other card that was never activated. So Bank Rep transfer balance to my active card. YEAH Happy! Then somehow my money started getting split up. Some went into direct deposit acct, some to Relia Card? WTF again. Bank Rep has no answer for that issue. But its a glitch that has not lost my money. And of course the money deposited to the wrong Reliacard acct had to be transfered again. HAPPY again! Finally my money issues settle down again. Still being split for unknown reasons but UC goes to my bank acct, and pandemic funds to ReliaCard. I call again to customer service and explain that my funds are going to wrong acct and I need them transferred again to my active card. Shouldn't be a problem, But... This bank rep stats that the should have never transfered the money in the first place and should have reordered me the destroyed ReliaCard that was never activated.? Overwhelming process.. But atleast she found it in her heart to waive the 15$ replacement fee! What a blessing! So had no way to access any funds again for the mandatory 7-10 business days awaiting new card arrival. But now I am all good 4 months later. Still have no answer to why they sent funds via direct deposit to my bank account when I never set it up again. But its still being split as it stands today. And I am soon to return to my employer now that this CoVid 19 dilemma has lessened in threat level. Good luck to all of you still battling this system, just remember to dust yourself off, and get back up!
RockSoul on August 19, 2020:
How is this in anyway more secure and preventing fraud? Verifying my bank account for direct deposit is much more secure and uses less labor and resources to achieve it. This card goes through how many hands and then sits in a mailbox (if it ever arrives), which at any point along the way it can be lost or stolen and easily activated by anyone. Then you have the expense of manufacturing, shipping, and providing customer service for this card and all the issues that come with it. Plus we are then asked to provide our sensitive information to yet another system, which is surely high-risk for potential cyber attacks and data breeches. I hope after this sh!t show people will see the incompetence of their government officials and clean house this election. It's time for "We The People" to hold these positions. We need to elect people with common sense and a true understanding of day-to-day living for most Americans. These out-of-touch, wealthy incumbents (State and Federal, Democrat and Republican alike) have been administrating too long. They just come up with "brilliant" plans and expect someone else to figure out the implementation, then pass the blame when it all goes to sh!t. They live in a fantasy world free from consequence. It's got to change and soon. America can't go on like this much longer.
Stormylove2 on August 11, 2020:
I just found, that I was giving a utility allowance a year ago. I never received this info or a card. Will the money still be available for me, once I get the card. I have been on hold with them for 2 hours. I was advised to call them if I didn’t have a card. Any info greatly appreciated. Thanks
Nowell Clay on August 10, 2020:
I got disabled from my account because my finger said my password was wrong I followed all the steps to get back in and it failed I'm not stupid everything I needed to type in was right in front of me.
Help me! on August 09, 2020:
How do I get my account number and routing number from this ReliaCard prepaid card?
Charleston Greg on August 08, 2020:
Can I get a refund back into my reliacard, if the bank I sent the money back to was closed??
somewhere in the south on August 07, 2020:
i called customer service waited 2 TWO & a HALF 1/2 HOURS to get hung up on when i didnt have my 16 digit card number because it was stolen. I understand this company is getting hammered pretty hard with the volume of calls they are recieving daily but just as i had to be patient customer service could have given me 5 mins of their time especially after the time i waited to get thier a$$ on the phone.
PISSED !!! Somewhere in the SOUTH
Don gallicio on August 06, 2020:
I have money in my account but the Mac machines r saying to contact my financial institution I don't even know what that means but I can't get thru to anyone to find out
Keith Brosius on August 06, 2020:
I'm locked out of my account I need to get back in
AriesMoon on August 06, 2020:
The security features do not work. And reporting unauthorized charges requires you to print out a form and fax or mail it in. During a time where we should be limiting public interactions and staying at home, the last thing I want to do is go out and fax a form! I've been dealing with someone using my card on a fake Amazon website. It shows up as AMZN.com on my transactions- Amazon never abbreviates their website. Be careful out there and change your PIN regularly!
Ericc on August 05, 2020:
Anybody have a problem with the ATMs or Sending Money from your card? But there not saying the real problem.. money's on your account and everything but it won't allow you to spend or make any transactions?? HELP ME PLEEEEEEASE
Bryan on August 05, 2020:
It asking me for my last 4 of my ss and i did and still not doing
ML on August 04, 2020:
Customer service is ridiculous. I waited for 45min and finally someone picked up and there was all this laughter in the background from i guess the rep's coworkers. Then when i explained my issue she just hung up on me. I guess she didn't know how to solve my issue, which is that i can't make an online account through my web browser or the app. It doesn't recognize my card number (which is definitely valid because ive used the card several times already). So frustrating.
Rolando montemayor on August 03, 2020:
Need to get a refund. Need help to understand why.. They take out money..
Doesn’t even matter on July 29, 2020:
They are by far the worst!!!!
Marlo on July 29, 2020:
Why does my newly received and activated card shows 0 balance?
MaackBeeam814 on July 28, 2020:
I have $8000 on my card and everywhere I go to use it says card is declined but I'm still allowed to log in my account
Orlando woody on July 28, 2020:
Need my card unlock1
Edward Rodriguez on July 27, 2020:
WHY don't they answer the phone!
John Conrad on July 26, 2020:
Can you overdraft on atm withdrawals
Kate B on July 24, 2020:
I had the same experience as people described below. I read online that it might be faster to request a callback. THEY CALLED ME 40 MINUTES LATER!! Here's what I did:
I called the customer service number, and since I didn't have my card yet, I waited for the message asking for my last 4 digits of my card # to play 3 times. After 3x, it gives you the balance. I then pressed "0" (to report a lost or stolen card- even though I hadn't receive one yet). After waiting 1-2 minutes, a message came on warning me of the extremely high wait times, and gave me a choice: continue to wait, or receive a callback. I chose callback, entered my cellphone number, and received a call about 40 minutes later. My PUA was straightened out in 2 minutes. I did this again when my card hadn't arrived, and was called a half hour later. Before that, I called 6 days straight, waiting 7+hours each time. Just putting it out there. Good luck everyone!
Dutchess Redd on July 21, 2020:
What if i want too cancel my relia card account and i have funds available
Sam on July 11, 2020:
If a transaction was refunded Does the money go back on the ReliaCard? If not how do you get your money back?
lisa on July 02, 2020:
can the usbank reliacard be used as a form of direct deposit after you return to work
F on May 29, 2020:
I suggest to everyone on this board to file complaints with the Federal Reserve, the OCC, and the FTC:
Adam pitre II on May 28, 2020:
Why can you not get in touch with a customer service representative this is a damn joke I've been trying to dispute charges on my card for 5 days I mean come on
E on May 28, 2020:
Us bank should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. They are making a fortune by working with the govt, and providing a supremely inferior sub par service. Transfers don't work, atm will not work, cards don't get sent, they wont answer their phones, the list goes on and on. they are essentially holding peoples money with limited access.
I suggest to everyone on this board to file complaints with the Federal Reserve, the OCC, and the FTC:
Messiah on May 27, 2020:
Welcome everyone, to the world of prepaid debit cards!
Kathoga on May 17, 2020:
It took me months to sort out my issues with USbanks ReliaCard. Unfortunately, the reliability of ReliaCard cards and services seem to be overwhelmed by unemployment. My advice is to stay on top of getting your issue resolved. I was placed on hold for up to 14 hours in the past and still managed to become disconnected. The phone lines are consistently overwhelmed so it’s best to call late evening/early morning 1am-8am. Be sure to call the ReliaCard branch of USbank and hold out to speak to a physical person If your card hasn’t arrived or is lost, stolen, or just missing order a new card ASAP. Make sure they have your correct/current account information. Misinformation is usually the root of the problem with missing debit cards. My card didn’t arrive for over a month and I finally discovered the had a previous debit card on my file from 2018. I had never activated or requested that card but it prevented me from actually receiving a 2020 debit card. The ReliaCardS won’t expire for like 3 years from their issue date so you get one until you order another. If it’s missing or errored get a new one. Hold times are long, the wait music will cut out sporadically but stay on the phone line. Talking to a customer service rep is the only way to resolve most of the issues with ReliaCard. It’s a very frustrating process but stick with it until your issue is confirmed as resolved. They’ll express mail a new ReliaCard for a 15 dollar charge that’ll be deducted from your debit card funds. Keep calling because it can take multiple attempts to get through and confirm a resolution. I would call back if your hold time exceeds 4 hours. I’ve gotten through in 30mins by calling back every few hours. They aren’t going to change the way they do business unfortunately customers have to be extra persistent. The phone call should only take a Minute when you finally get through. They do eventually answer the call and fix the problem. Just stay professional and calm. Emails and messages no response from my experience. Best of luck
james on May 16, 2020:
May God Destroy this company. I have seriously broken my tv that's how much stress I got from being on hold for 4:45 minutes. this is a terrible company and the state is even more stupid for providing service that is ruining people's mental health. I don't need unemployment anymore it's better to sell drugs than want this money which could make me lose my mind
DNJ on May 13, 2020:
THE WORST EVER HOLDING ON OVER FIVE HOURS 6 STRAIGHT DAYS.......THIS IS TERRIBLE. WE NEED TO EXPOSE THESE PEOPLE. I GOT A PAYMENT 2 WEEKS AGO AND IT STILL HAS NOT BEEN DEPOSITED TO MY ACCOUNT. I CALLED BBB TODAY AND MADE A FORMAL COMPLAINT. I URGE EVERYONE HAVING THESE TYPE SERVICE PROBLEM TO FILE COMPLAINTS AGAINST THIS COMPANY. THEY ARE DEALING WITH PEOPLE MONEY....... RELIA CARD IS A VERY UN RESPONSIBLE COMPANY...IF U ARE EXPERIENCING THESE PROBLEMS FILE COMPLAINTS AND EXPOSE THEIR TERRIBLE SERVICE
Laurie Allen on May 12, 2020:
i ended up getting help from child support division lady. I have waited on hold for over 30 hours (no shit). The worker sent them an email and 5 days later i got card in mail. Phone lines are a joke
Chad on May 12, 2020:
What a fucking joke UNrelia card is!!! Geeze! On hold for over 4 hours today at 3 different times. I have a lot of $$$ on these stupid ass cards, and don't even have one of them in my possession! How is that possible???? Was transferred to "someone higher up" well, was on hold for well over an hour. called back, on hold for well over an hour, well, called back late, on hold for an hour and a half. Is this company going to give me interest or what I would normally make an hour??!!! WTF?! And the sad thing is that Im very educated with over 14 years of college! Can anyone help me with this??! Geeze! Thanks, Chad
Brenda on May 08, 2020:
I have been calling sense April 14,2020 to get my debit card that was sent to a old address that I use to live at 5 yrs. ago why?. My new address was given but I still do not have my card Why? can someone tell we what can I do to get in touch with this bank?
Carla on April 25, 2020:
2 weeks and hours of being let on hold. I desperately need to feed a new card but they won’t answer their flipping Phone!!!!
WeAllWeGot Everything LLC on April 23, 2020:
They are not answering their customer service telephone number. US Bank Reliacard is not answering their phones and are holding thousands of peoples unemployment money. In a global pandemic!!!! Disgusting!!!!!! Everyone tell somebody and expose the company!!!!
Clint Riaer on April 22, 2020:
Ive called the number for 2 weeks and been on hold for 4 hours plus a d they will not answer. Can anyone help me. I lost my card a d cant access my account online. Help
Mitzi Fuller on April 14, 2020:
How can I get the routing number for my reliacard? It says to call the number on the back of the card but its always a busy signal when I call.
Cherie Adams on September 03, 2019:
I sent myself a check through Reliacard Bill Pay. The check was never sent and now I have to wait 30 days to get my money back. My car payment has bounced and now I have to cover those fees plus come up with an additional $535 to cover my car note. I recently lost my job and don't have that kind of money. These people could care less regarding their incompetence!
M on May 30, 2018:
I ordered a replacement card express cost $16.00. They be 5 days later. Wasn't I waited all day to not miss the U.p.S. driver. Called at the reliacard for a tracking number waited half an hour on the phone to talk to a human. He said he doesn't know which service it went out on. Couldn't give me a tracking number. So I'm waiting a half a day not able to leave to go to the store so I don't miss the express delivery driver.
There unlawfully stealing from us!!! on November 11, 2017:
I don't have access to my money! And I verified with them before I left home 1200 miles ago. I'm here and they're now being liers. The manager said I have no choice but to keep this account open or ill never have access to my money. It was is a settlement from work and now I don't have a job due to an injury and I have no money after numerous failed surgerys and 4 yrs later... I'm sueing them if it's the last thing ill ever do. I won't ever give up. I'll take it to the highest court. I know my wright's as a US citizen..
sheila on September 19, 2017:
can i put money on my reliacard
Jrry on January 18, 2017:
Don't try to use this card at actual restaurants it will be declined. Happened twice now on my business trip out of state. Luckily my work buddy had cash and I could goto the bank. Ridiculous... Works at fast food should work at restaurants.....humiliating!!
Tabitha on January 02, 2017:
what does it mean when my account says the status of my payment is Temporary Number but where my payment comes from shows that it was placed on the 29th but its the 2nd and i still havent gotten it yet my payments always place on a friday and now nothing for almost 5days .. HELP please i need my rent money and i cant find out whats going on
Leonine1 on December 08, 2016:
Reliacard is a scam being run by U.S.Bank. They hold on to our money longer than any other direct deposits. So when the State posts the money to our account, US Bank holds it for at least an extra day before making those funds available to us. For one person or one account, that isn't much money. But with the hundreds of thousands of accounts from the various states, that adds up to alot of money. And when they hold $74 of our money when we get gas and an extra 20-30% for gratuity at restaurants - they profit from that as well. It's a racket. They are profiting big time from us. They are greedy, immoral and fraudulent. I hate banks. They are all liars and thieves.
Christina on October 29, 2016:
Keeping your information updated seems easy enough, but I've been jumping through hoops trying to do this for weeks now and all I've managed to to is get my original card deactivated. I've been charged $15 for a new card, with my old name on it again, and when I asked them to cancel that because they still had my name wrong- they cannot re activate my other card.
They want me to go somewhere and fax my social security card and ID to them now, after sending me to change my information with the state twice and then telling me that they didn't get it. Pretty scary to think about sending my social security number to a bank that can't even figure it out. Meanwhile they keep referring to me as Miss (old name) when they know I'm frustrated because, almost three years later, I can't seem to get my name changed with them.
Jessica lyman on May 03, 2016:
can I still withdrawal my money off my card if it just expired April 2016?
Janet rodriguez on October 26, 2015:
Can i use my reliacard in mexico?
jcm_blabs (author) from My Bunker in the Midwest on July 12, 2015:
Have you tried their website? Otherwise, try calling them at 866-276-5114. Best wishes.
Priscilla Wakefie on July 12, 2015:
How do I go about getting my routing and account numbers for my Prepaid Us Bank Reliacard? I receive child support from the state of Michigan.
Ken Kline from USA on March 23, 2013:
I never knew all of this. Fascinating information. Any thoughts on the American Express Prepaid?
stephanie mcsparen on March 13, 2013:
i misplaced my new reliacard but need the money out of it now i still have my expired card what can i do?
monicamelendez from Salt Lake City on July 17, 2012:
It's definitely a good idea to prepay for gas. I find it strange that they haven't figured out a way to fix this issue. It happens with quite a few cards - especially secured cards.
Brenda on June 15, 2012:
My daughter has a mandatory college orientation tomorrow morning and our flight to Phoenix was overbooked so we decided we'd fly to Alburquerque N.M. rent a car and drive to get her to ASU by 7:00am in the morning. We get to car rental place have everything set to go. I hand the lady my U.S. Bank reliacard and it comes up declined. I call only to find out the State of IA has a block on the merchant & all car rental retailers. They won't take cash and now my poor daughter will miss her mandatory freshman orientation. Why block any retailers? The State of IA doesn't think a parent could need to provide transportation to their kids?
Rachael on May 19, 2012:
Does anyone know if you can link this card to Paypal?
It's a Visa debit with a routing number, but what about the account number? Is this just the 16 digit card number? I can't see that being right.. When I called 866-276-5114 (customer service/back of card) the lady had no clue what it could be (half the time I had no clue what she was even saying) and told me to call US Bank and the same thing happened. I can't access any online banking other than going to www.reliacard.com (put in my username, password, etc) which gives us certain information such as Ballance, Transactions, Bill Pay options, and whatever - but it does not give me (or I can't find) the information to use "manually" (that might not be the right word I'm looking for). Basically, all I want to know is what my damned account number is so I can link my Debit card to Paypal.
Anyone who can shed some light?......
* She said I could get my account information over brunch! Haha :) It took a few times until I realized she was telling me to go to a local "branch"