Eppicard | Scammers target state payment debit cards

Friday, May 21st, 2010 By

Red ATM machines

Eppicards can be used the same as a standard debit card. Image from Flickr.

There are currently 19 U.S. states that use Eppicard to process and distribute state payments. Recently, Eppicard users have been the target of phishing scams. Are Eppicards an effective way for states to distribute benefits?

How Eppicard is used

The Eppicard system is a third-party “servicing” company that provides financial services for states. In 19 states, Eppicards are used to provide child support, unemployment and state benefit payments. In general, an Eppicard works very much like a debit card – the payment is deposited into an Eppicard account, and then the money is debited electronically when the card is used at an ATM or store.

Eppicards targeted by phishing

In Ohio, many Eppicard users are being targeted by e-mail and text message phishing scams. Eppicard users are receiving messages asking for them to update their Eppicard PIN. The Eppicard users are told that they need to update their information in order to get a personal loan or continue accessing their account. If Eppicard customers use the fake link or text message to “update” information, the scam artist empties their accounts. The FBI and state benefit agencies have issued warnings to rely only on www.eppicard.com or the state agency for information on Eppicard accounts.

Are Eppicards best for benefits?

The Eppicard system is, in general, a contractor for state benefits. The Eppicard system does offer benefits for some users; because they look and act like debit cards, Eppicards can be much simpler to use than other available benefit systems. However, Eppicard has garnered multiple complaints for business practices that look more like a Rush Card than a public service. Eppicard charges as much as $1 for every ATM transaction. Calling Eppicard customer service also creates an additional charge. Card replacement, denial of funds, overdraft fees and even balance inquiries end up with charges. While the Eppicard may be simple for states to use, there are concerns that the additional charges are taking advantage of people receiving state benefits. Most states, though, provide an alternative to the Eppicard, such as paper checks or direct-deposit systems.

  • Valerie

    3 weeks ago, New Mexico started using Eppicard and both my son and I have had nothing but problems. I also have posted on other message boards asking people if they have had the same problems and have received responses stating that they have. We are on our third payment today through this Eppicard and for the third time, our payment is not immediately showing up in our accounts in the morning as it did when NM used Bank of America. Also, both my son and I and other people are having problems with Eppicard charging unauthorized fees to our accounts. We are supposed to get two free calls to their customer service per month, and one free ATM cash withdrawel from Wells Fargo ATMs per week. Both my son and I have been charged fees and have had to call their customer service, using up our free calls. Now my son has another unauthorized charge, but cannot call because he will be charged for the phone call. NM used Bank of America before switching to Eppicard and for the 1-1/2 years that I and my son have been on unemployment, not once was there a problem, so there is no reason that the State had for dropping BofA and switching to Eppicard except perhaps someone in the State made a "sweeheart deal" with these crooks.

  • Rick

    The government needs to handle all aspects of the eppicard system. The fee charges for transactions are typical of private for profit graft.

    Private industry just can't be trusted, outsourcing ends up costing more and most of the time the only incentive to outsource comes from some sweetheart deal cooked up between contractor and legislators. The public certainly doesn't want tax dollars going to line the pockets of for-profit business.

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