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Texas Eppicard – the payment standard for child support

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By Johnny Bevers

The Texas Eppicard (or debit card) program allows for child support payments to be electronically funded through direct deposit into your own bank account or onto a Texas Debit Card.  These are the only two options to receive your child support payments in Texas unless receiving electronic payments would somehow create a hardship for you or your family.  If you can justify why electronic payments would create a hardship, you will be mailed a check in lieu of being paid through electronic means.

How To Sign Up

To sign up for the Eppicard program, simply contact a customer service representative at 1-800-252-8014 to state how you would like to be paid.  Once you sign up, you can view your balance at www.eppicard.com or call 1-866-729-6159.  This number is answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  If you happen to be outside the United States, you can contact a customer service specialist at 210-334-6611.  When you call this number, tell the operator that it’s a “collect” phone call and the customer service representative will accept the charges.  Both of these numbers are available so you can keep track of your spending associated with your account.  You will be able to check your balances, change your PIN, or report a lost or stolen card.

How The Eppicard Works

The Texas Eppicard acts as a prepaid debit card, so you will never be able to use it as an open line of credit.  This means that once you’re out of money, the card will stop working which can be quite embarrassing if you’re checking out with a bunch of groceries.  Before using the card, you will be required to activate it by selecting your personal identification number (or PIN).  Simply follow the instructions that came with your card to activate.  It’s a very easy process!

How To Make a Purchase

Making a purchase is pretty easy since the Eppicard works exactly like a Visa debit card.  Simply present the card at almost any retailer just like you would with a normal credit or debit card.  You can even get cash back on your purchases if that’s what you choose to do.  Most retailers these days accept Visa as a standard form of payment.  Look for the Visa stickers on the store front or at the counter.  A very small fraction of retailers do not accept Visa though, so be sure to ask if there’s any question of whether or not they’ll accept your Eppicard.  While most stores will run your card as a debit card, some may run it as credit.  If they run it as a debit transaction, you’ll typically be prompted to enter your PIN number on a nearby keypad.  If they run it as credit, they may ask you to sign a receipt, so be prepared in either scenario.

 Cash Advances

You can use your card to get cash advances at either an ATM machine or bank that displays the Visa logo.  Your first two cash withdrawals each month are provided at no cost to you.  That’s right, the first two are free!  After this, you can expect to pay approximately $1.25 at Wells Fargo bank ATMs or other ATMs that display the Visa or Plus brand marks.  If you choose to use a bank teller, the fees are slightly more at $2.00 per transaction.

Other Fees

The Eppicard comes with other fees you may not be aware of, so be careful with the following:

  • ATM balance inquiries are charged at a rate of $.50 per inquiry.  Instead of checking your balance at the ATM, call customer service at 1-866-729-6159.
  • If the ATM denies your transaction for insufficient funds, you will be charged $.50 each time this happens, so make sure you have an available balance prior to making a withdrawal.
  • If you choose to use an ATM other than Wells Fargo, there may be other bank fees associated with the transaction, so always try to use a Wells Fargo ATM.  Again, you get two free cash withdrawals each month.
  • If you lose your card, you can get it replaced for $5.
  • If you want your replacement card expedited to you, this will set you back an extra $15.

Where Can You Use The Eppicard?

You can use your card basically anywhere that Visa is accepted.  Since more than 95% of all merchants now accept Visa, you can use it at grocery stores like Wal Mart, clothing stores, ATMs, restaurants, drug stores, and even stores who offer cash back programs like Walgreens.

Remember, the Texas Eppicard is a convenient way to secure your child support payments.  It provides you with a separate and easy alternative for spending the money you receive on anything you deem necessary.  You can even get two free cash advances each month if that’s what you prefer.  Again, if you need help, the Eppicard Customer Service reps are available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1-866-729-6159.

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