The Facts About Direct Express Emergency Cash

Millions of Americans depend on the Direct Express card for fast, efficient access to government benefit funds. Though the Direct Express card has many benefits, one downside is that if the card goes lost or missing it takes up to 10 days for a replacement to arrive. What happens when you need your funds before your replacement card can arrive?

The good news is that Direct Express emergency cash can help you bridge that gap.

Here, we’re going to talk about Direct Express emergency cash. Read on to learn how you can access your funds even when waiting the 10-day interval for your new card to arrive.

Direct Express Emergency Cash: The Basics

Before tackling what a Direct Express emergency cash advance is, you must understand what a Direct Express card is.

Most people who qualify for and receive government benefits get their payments via a checking account. However, because not everyone has access to a bank account, Direct Express cards provide an alternative way to accept payment. Any federal benefit recipient who gets social security payments or similar funds can apply online or by phone.

When you receive a Direct Express card, you can collect and use it similar to a debit card. These funds can be spent anywhere and can also pay rent and utility bills online or by phone. You can use all of the funds on the card until you have $0.00 remaining. You cannot overdraw because these cards are made for those in government programs and only access the cash you have been paid.

These cards take around 10 days to arrive in the mail after you apply for them. You cannot activate the card or use your available funds during this time frame, which poses a problem for many people in immediate need.

Defining Direct Express Emergency Funds

Before receiving their Direct Express card in the mail, many struggling individuals will turn to other sources for their needed funds. They may:

  • Ask friends and family to lend them some money
  • Visit a bank to ask for a loan
  • Visit a private company to ask for a loan
  • Borrow money from a predatory payday loan service
  • Take out an expensive title loan on their vehicle

Direct Express emergency cash assistance is another source for obtaining crisis money.

Also known as Direct Express Cardless Benefit Access, Direct Express crisis money lets cardholders get up to $1000 associated with other funds available in their account. It doesn’t give you any extra money but rather allows you to access funds already in your account.

So, Is Direct Express Emergency Cash a Loan?

Direct Express emergency cash is not a loan. It’s your money, and when you do get your replacement card, any emergency cash you withdraw will no longer be in your account. You will not get funds beyond your benefits.

Direct Express emergency funds can’t provide you with any more money than you already have in your account. Unfortunately, you will not receive additional payment on top of your government benefits no matter what your need is.

If you have funds in your account, Direct Express emergency cash will give you immediate access to that money, allowing you to spend your money without a card.

This alternative access helps individuals and families make ends meet during the time period between applying for Direct Express and receiving/activating their card. If you’re currently beginning the application process, applying for a Direct Express emergency cash advance might be the right choice. 

Can Anyone Else Benefit From This System?

Beyond those who are waiting for their brand-new Direct Express card to arrive, others can benefit from emergency cash:

  • People who have lost their Direct Express card have canceled it and are waiting for a new one to arrive in the mail
  • Those whose cards have expired and are now waiting for a new one to arrive in the mail
  • Those who have had their cards compromised and were forced to cancel it and ask for a new one

How Can You Get Direct Express Emergency Cash?

As you may expect, you cannot simply enter a PIN at store registers and purchase things without a card. This may sound inconvenient, but it is actually a good thing. The aforementioned system would be extremely insecure and could lead to your account being compromised.

If you lose your card or are waiting for one to come in the mail for any reason, you will need to obtain your funds in the form of cash. You can get up to $1000 in your account, but it needs to be a cash payment.

But where can you get this cash?

The most common location is a MoneyGram facility within your local Walmart. Nearly all Walmart stores have a MoneyGram center to make it simple and fast for you to access your money.

How to Access Your Cash With MoneyGram

MoneyGram is the world’s 2nd largest money transfer network after Western Union.

You can send money to your MoneyGram account with the Direct Express mobile app. Since you should already have this installed on your mobile device, this is a quick and easy way to access your funds without the physical card present. You can also make this transfer by calling Direct Express customer support at the toll-free number 1 (866) 606-3311.

Once you receive the money transfer:

  • Ask for the reference number associated with your transfer
  • Gather your reference number and personal identification for easy access at the station
  • Go to your local MoneyGram venue
  • Complete the receiver form
  • Hand it to the MoneyGram agent
  • Receive your cash

It really is that easy!

What Fees Are Associated With Emergency Cash Advances?

As you may expect, there are fees associated with taking out a money transfer. If you choose to take out the full amount of $1000, the fee will be around $12. If you only choose to take out around $500, the fee will be closer to $8.50.

The more money you access, the lower percentage the fee will be. It, therefore, may be best to take cash out in larger amounts so that you can avoid additional fees later if you need more funds.

Is This a Secure System?

MoneyGram is a trusted network that has been in operation since 1940. They only work with banks and transfer operators that are part of a network of trusted vendors. These vendors are all monitored and authorized by the government, so you know that the system is as safe and secure as possible.

Direct Express and Payday Loans: A Last Resort

As we discussed earlier, you cannot advance future government benefits payments with a Direct Express card. This is because they are prepaid cards rather than credit cards. You can only use them to get access to funds that have been given to you in previous payments.

However, some lenders offer payday loans to those who do not have bank accounts but instead use Direct Express. This is a dangerous option that should only be considered as a very last resort. If you must, you can apply for these small, immediate, and high-cost loans with many vendors both in-person and online. To apply for a loan, you will submit your:

  • Name
  • Personal contact information (phone number, address, and email)
  • Social security number
  • Birthdate
  • Identification card/driver’s license
  • Income details (including income from the programs that place funds onto your Direct Express card)

Once you are approved, the loan will immediately be put onto your Direct Express card. You can use it at any location that accepts the card.

Be aware that you will need to pay the loan back with interest next time you receive your benefits payment, so use payday loans as a last resort.

Direct Express Emergency Cash: Your Money, In Advance

Losing your Direct Express card can mean waiting up to 10 days for a new one. Luckily, you can access your own federal benefits funds in the meantime through Direct Express emergency cash. Just be sure you are aware of how such a withdrawal will affect your Direct Express balance.

If this article about Direct Express emergency cash was helpful, you may qualify for free wireless service through the federal Lifeline program. You can check your eligibility now by clicking here.