Direct Express Card Review
The Comerica bank direct express card is a prepaid debit card that is used to pay Social Security Benefits to those eligible. The card is an alternative to depositing the benefit payments in traditional bank account. Cardholders have the same functions as a regular bank issued debit card that comes with traditional checking accounts. That includes the ability to make purchases at retail locations, restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores etc. You can also shop online and make bill payments. You can also get cash at ATMs, make hotel reservations and rent a car.
Comerica bank is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and provides banking services to individuals, businesses and also has a wealth management business. In addition to Texas, they have branch locations in Arizona, California, Florida and Michigan. Comerica provides the social security card services under license with MasterCard International on behalf of the United States Department of the Treasury’s Financial Management Service (FMS). Here is how to apply for a direct express debit card.
If you are a recipient of Social Security Benefits, you are required by federal law to receive your payments electronically. That means that you can either have a traditional checking or savings account through a bank or credit union or you will be automatically enrolled in the Comerica Direct Express Debit Card program and your payments will be send there at due date. For more fee information, visit www.directexpresshelp.com.
Some of the most frequently asked questions about this program include the following: First, most people want to know if they can use the card to pay their bills online just like they will do with a traditional checking account from a bank. The answer is Yes. Another question is whether this program comes with the excessive number of fees that typically get charged with prepaid cards. The answer is NO. The Department of the Treasury has made sure Social Security recipients are not burdened by fees by choosing to sign up for this program. As a result, the Direct Express program is one of the best debit card programs on the market when it comes to fees and charges.
Looking for a Checking Account
Determine what you are looking for in a checking account. Compare different institutions to see what checking accounts most closely match the qualifications that you are looking for. Some things to consider when finding a checking account are.
1. Account Fees
Be sure to research the banks that have free checking accounts without many hidden fees. Some fees that are common are monthly checking account fees, fees for transactions, ATM fees, and minimum balance fees. Ten dollars per month might not seem like a bad deal; however, when you figure that you could be saving $120 per year on a monthly checking account fee, it would be better to find the free options. Find a checking account that will give you free transactions, ATM usage, and no monthly fee.
2. Minimum Initial Deposit and Balance Amounts
Keeping money in a checking account to meet minimum balance requirements is cutting down on money that could be accumulating interest in a higher interest account. Some banks require a minimum balance of between $500 and $1500 just sitting in your account each month. Minimum initial deposits are almost always required. Make sure it is a low amount that you have to make, anything less than $100 is acceptable. Try to aim for a $25 minimum initial deposit until you determine that this account is one that you want to keep.
3. ATM Accessibility
Before opening a checking account, be sure that the bank you are choosing has plenty of ATM’s that are conveniently located for you to use. Most banks charge an ATM fee for out of network ATM use. You will be racking up the fees if your bank doesn’t have ATM’s in your area. Check the fees your bank charges for ATM usage as well. Some banks are known to charge for each transaction, balance checks, or deposits done using an in network ATM. You should always get a checking account that offers free ATM access.
4. Mobile Banking Access
In this day and age people are always on the go and mobile banking is a convenient way to keep up on your finances. Any good bank will have a mobile app or ways to track your account activity online. You should look for mobile banking that allows you to transfer money, pay bills, deposit checks all from your computer and/or mobile device.
5. Overdraft Protection
The most complained about issue dealing with banking is overdraft fees. When you over draft a checking account, spending more money than you have available in your account, you will be hit with a sometimes very costly overdraft fee. Many banks charge around a $30 fee for overdrafts, with additional fees until the amount is paid. Look for a bank with overdraft protection to avoid incurring unnecessary fees. Overdraft protection allows you to link your checking account to a savings account that has money available in case of an accidental overdraft.
When researching to find the best checking account for you visit the branches, talk to customer service representatives, look at the website and don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. Keep all information that you collect in a folder in case you have any issues after opening an account.
A list of major banks to consider are:
1. Bank of America
2. Wells Fargo
3. JPMorgan Chase
5. US Bank
7. TD Bank
8. Capital One
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