How Do Unemployment Debit Cards Work?

••• Julia Fuller

Loading the Debit Card

An individual who is eligible for unemployment benefits will receive a reusable unemployment debit visa card instead of paper checks every two weeks. On the back of the debit card is a toll free number. Call the toll free number as soon as you receive your debit card to set your 6-digit pin number for using the card. Every two weeks, if you file your unemployment claim on the correct date, your card will have your new benefit amount added to its available balance. You can call the toll free number to find out your cash balance on your debit card or check your balance at an ATM. There is no charge for calling for your balance. Each benefit period you may check your cash balance at an ATM machine once without paying a fee.

Getting Your Cash

Take your debit card to an ATM machine or teller once you know there is a cash balance. Insert the card into an ATM machine and enter your 6-digit pin number. Choose the "Fast Cash" option to get your money. Enter the amount of money you want to withdraw. When using the ATM you must enter at least $20 and you may enter higher amounts in $20 increments. You may make two withdrawals from an ATM, or one from a teller, each time benefits are added to your card without incurring a fee unless transactions are made outside the U.S.

Using Your Debit Card for Purchases

Use your debit card at a point of service such as a gas station, restaurant, or store to make a purchase. Choose the items that you wish to purchase or fill your gas tank. Swipe your debit card through the electronic credit/debit card reader or give your card to the cashier to swipe it. Enter your 6-digit pin number yourself; do not tell your pin number to the cashier. Confirm the amount of the purchase. Choose yes, if it is correct. The amount of your purchase will be automatically deducted from your cash balance on your card. Currently there is no fee for point of sale use of your unemployment debit card.

About the Author

Julia Fuller began her professional writing career eight years ago covering special-needs adoption. She holds a bachelor's degree in accounting from Marywood College, is co-owner of GJF Rental Properties as well as a livestock and grain crop farm. She worked for the United States Postal Service and a national income tax service.

Photo Credits

  • Julia Fuller