Cardholder Frequently Asked Questions
General Debit Card Program Information
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) offers the Massachusetts DUA Debit Mastercard® in conjunction with Bank of America. With the Massachusetts DUA Debit Card, DUA now provides two convenient electronic ways for Unemployment Insurance (UI) recipients to receive UI benefit payments. You do not need to have a bank account to use the Massachusetts DUA Debit Card.
You’ll have access to your funds 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for purchases everywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted, and cash access via PIN-based point-of-sale (POS) terminals and ATMs.
Here’s how the cards will work:
- If you do not select direct deposit when you file your UI claim, you will automatically receive the debit card. DUA will instruct Bank of America to issue a debit card to you. At any time while you are receiving UI benefits, you may change your payment method to direct deposit.
- After you claim your weekly benefit payment, DUA will send the funds within 2 business days to your debit card account. For questions regarding your unemployment insurance benefit amounts and dates of disbursement to your account, please login to www.mass.gov/uionline or contact the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance TeleClaim Center at 877-626-6800 from area codes 351, 413, 508, 774, and 978 or 617-626-6800 from all other area codes.
- You can then use your Massachusetts DUA Debit Card to make purchases or withdrawals until the funds are exhausted.
- You can’t make any additional deposits to the account. Only DUA can fund your card.
- This is not a credit card and attempting to use your card for purchases that exceed your balance may result in the transaction being declined.
Debit Card Benefits
Convenience and flexibility
The Massachusetts DUA Debit Card is a particularly useful option for recipients that don’t have bank accounts. The card is cost-efficient, secure, easy-to-use, and provides many options for making withdrawals and purchases.
Benefits of the card include:
- No more rushing to the bank to cash or deposit the UI check
- No more check-cashing fees
- Use the card everywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted – in stores, online or by telephone
- Get access to cash at point of sale* terminals, ATMs and at Mastercard affiliated banks and credit unions
- Use your card to pay bills in person, online or by telephone
- Account information and customer service are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Recipients can transfer funds from their debit card to their own bank account. In addition, recipients can take the card to any bank in Massachusetts or nationwide that accepts Debit Mastercard to make a free cash withdrawal.
* Point of sale: a retail merchant that accepts debit cards.
How to Activate Your Debit Card
Activation of your card is simple and secure. It’s no more difficult than activating a credit card.
- You’ll receive your Massachusetts DUA Debit Card along with instructions on how to activate and use it. Once you receive the card, you can activate online or by calling 1.855.898.7292 toll-free. Once activated, you may use your card.
- For security reasons you’ll need:
- the 16-digit number that appears on the face of the card
- the 3-digit card security number that appears on the back of the card
- the last four digits of your social security number
- During the activation process, you’ll be asked to create a personal identification number (PIN). The PIN can be used to make ATM withdrawals and PIN purchases.
- Once your card is activated, you’ll be given the account balance and may begin using it immediately. In a few cases, a UI recipient may receive the debit card before his/her claim has been approved by DUA, and the debit card may not yet have a balance. In that case, do not use your card until your claim has been approved and initial payment has been received.
- Deposits made to your debit card account will be returned to Massachusetts DUA if you do not activate your new card within one year from the date your card was issued.
How to Use Your Debit Card
You can use your card everywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted.
To conduct purchases with a signature:
- Present or swipe your card.
- Choose “credit.”
- Sign, take your card and receipt.
To conduct purchases with a PIN:
- Swipe your card.
- Choose “debit” and enter your PIN.
- Many grocery stores, convenience stores, and U.S. post offices offer cash back without a fee.
- If you want cash, select the amount and it will be added to your purchase.
- Take your card, cash and receipt.
Gas stations –Paying at the pump may cause a hold of up to $100 on your account; consider paying inside, saying how much you want to purchase, and signing the receipt.
Restaurants –Restaurants may verify you have enough in your account for the bill. Make sure you have enough funds to cover any added tip.
Hotels –The hotel may place a hold on your account in the amount of your estimated bill, making that amount unavailable for other purchases. When you check out, the hold may take a few days to be removed.
Auto rentals –You may use your card for final payment for a rental car, but a credit card may be necessary to reserve a rental car.
Returns –Store return policies vary. You may receive a credit to your account or a store credit. A credit to your account can take a week to ten days to process before funds are available for use.
You can use your card to pay bills online, in-person, or over the phone. By using your card to pay bills online or over the phone, you can avoid costly fees charged by check cashers and others
Know your balance
Merchants are generally not able to determine the balance on your card, so you should always verify the balance before using your card. Attempting to use your card for purchases that exceed your balance may result in the card being declined.
You can check the balance on your card and review all account transaction activity 24 hours a day online or by calling 1.855.898.7292.
- There is no fee for online and telephone balance inquiries.
- Sign up for free balance alerts (mobile text message and e-mail) by logging in to your account.
- ATM balance inquiries:
- No fee for balance inquiries made at a Bank of America in-network ATM or an Allpoint ATM.
- For inquiries made at ATMs other than Bank of America in-network ATMs or Allpoint ATMs, the owner of the ATM may charge a fee. Bank of America won’t charge a fee.
Recipients must have activated the card and created a PIN in order to make ATM withdrawals. The amount that can be withdrawn from an ATM depends on limits set by the ATM owner. Some ATM owners impose limits on how much can be withdrawn in a single transaction or in a single day.
There’s no fee for withdrawals from Bank of America or Allpoint ATMs.
- There are thousands of ATMs providing free access in Massachusetts, the neighboring states, and nationwide.
- ATM locators are available for Bank of America and Allpoint ATMs. Links to these locators are available on the left hand side of the Home Page of this website.
ATM Safety Tips
- Be aware of your surroundings at ATMs. If you notice anyone or anything suspicious or unsafe when you approach an ATM, use another ATM or return later.
- At enclosed ATMs, close the door completely. Don’t open the door while you are making your transaction.
- When you use a drive-up ATM, be sure passenger windows are closed and doors are locked.
- If you must use an ATM at night, consider taking someone with you.
- Always protect your card by keeping it in a safe place. If your card is lost or stolen, contact us immediately.
- Be discreet when entering your PIN at the keypad. After completing your transaction, carefully put away your card, cash and receipt before leaving the ATM area.
- Never give your PIN to anyone and never write it anywhere, especially on your card.
- Never give information about your card or PIN over the telephone. If someone is asking for this information, refuse and immediately contact us.
- Call 911 if you need emergency assistance. Immediately contact your local police if you experience or suspect a crime related to your account. If you have a concern about security at a Bank of America ATM, please call us at 1.800.222.7511
Recipients who choose to withdraw cash at a bank teller will be able to do so without paying any additional fees by visiting any bank or credit union that is in the Mastercard network. There is no fee for teller cash withdrawals.
In order to transfer funds from your card account to a traditional checking or savings account owned by you at any U.S. financial institution, you may perform an Online Funds Transfer via the Customer Service website. To begin this process, you will simply sign on to the website and select the “Transfer Funds” option from the Account Summary page.
- You will need to register a “transfer-to” account prior to performing your first transfer.
- Once your “transfer to” account is authenticated (this can take up to 5 business days), your transfer will be made.
- Once your transfer is made, it can take up to 2 business days to receive your funds in your account, and the transfer cannot be canceled once entered. Once funds are transferred to your checking or savings account, you will not be able to have the funds returned to you if the routing number or account number you provide for your checking or savings account is not correct.
A minimum value of $20.00 may be transferred.
Address changes must be made by contacting the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance. Follow the instructions online at https://www.mass.gov/unemployment-insurance-ui-online or contact the Department by telephone at Call Department of Unemployment Assistance, Call Center at (877) 626-6800. The Department sends us updated addresses the following day, Monday through Friday (excluding Holidays). Please allow at least two business days after updating your address before attempting to order a replacement card on our website.
Please be sure we have your correct address in order to ensure delivery of your card.
If you received a card directly from your sponsor that did not have your name on it, you may be eligible to receive a personalized upgrade card in the mail after a pre-determined number of deposits or calendar days. If you receive a personalized upgrade card in the mail, please activate the card immediately. You will have 30 days from the date of issuance to activate your new card. Once activated, your current balance will transfer to the new card and your old card will become inactive.
Lost or Stolen Debit Cards
If your card is lost or stolen, the Bank of America “Zero Liability” Policy protects you against fraudulent transactions (subject to certain conditions). You need only contact the Debit Card Customer Service Center at 1.855.898.7292 to report your card lost or stolen and to request a replacement card.
- There is no fee or surcharge for replacement cards.
- If the card has been used, the bank will issue the replacement card in the amount of the remaining balance.
If the post office is unable to deliver a Debit Card, it will be returned to the bank. Contact the Debit Card Customer Service Center at 1.855.898.7292 to update your address information and request a new card be mailed to you. Be sure to also notify DUA of your new address.
Please retain your debit card if you expect to reopen your claim during your claim period. DUA will deposit any future UI benefit payments into your debit card when you reopen your claim. Your debit card is valid as long as your card has not expired, and you can continue to use the card even if you have exhausted your UI benefits. One month prior to the expiration date listed on the front of your card, you will receive a new card with a new expiration date. Please be sure to activate your new card and destroy your expired card. Your balances and payments will be accessible on your new card after activation.
Automated Teller Machine
ATMs owned and/or affiliated with Bank of America where cash withdrawals and balance inquiries are available for no fee.
Non-Bank of America ATMs that support cash withdrawals and balance inquires, but impose cardholder withdrawal fees and a surcharge.
Web sites that accept debit cards for purchases.
Personal Identification Number, which is used to authorize an ATM transaction and certain purchases; and to access account information.
Point of sale (a retail merchant that accepts debit cards).
Your prepaid debit card is issued by Bank of America pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated. Mastercard is a registered trade mark of Mastercard Incorporated.