by Daniel Rose, Senior Director, Public Sector Payment Services, Conduent
Payment cards have made it easier for millions of individuals and families to receive funds from government agencies. Instead of waiting for a check, cardholders can get everything from tax refunds to foster care payments on government-issued cards. Payment cards also allow for employees and pensioners to receive their pay or retirement benefits on their own personal cards.
But what if you’re not the only person in your household who needs access to those funds? There are a wide range of situations where more than one person might need a card to access the same funds in designated amounts for different reasons. These situations include:
- Elementary, high school or college students granted access to their parents’ funds
- Family members or relatives who live or work in another city, state or country
- Guardians, babysitters or caregivers with authorization to use household money for particular expenses
One of the most useful aspects of the companion card as available from Conduent is the ability to link each new card to the primary account by creating sub-accounts. For example, if you set up one companion card each for your two children in school, you can move funds in designated amounts into two sub-accounts so that each student has his or her own allowance for school supplies, snacks, fuel, or other expenses. Your children don’t have access to the full account balance; the primary cardholder makes all the decisions about whose account has access to which funds.
Also, this feature is available for any individual who is receiving his/her salary or government benefits through direct deposit to a checking or saving account. A portion of those funds can be diverted to a companion card on a one-time or recurring basis.
The primary cardholder can also do several other things that aid with personal budgeting and management:
- View transaction history for all companion cards
- Sign up to receive text, mobile or email alerts for selected activities, such as low balance or a high-dollar transaction
- Move funds from a companion sub-account back to the primary account at any time
- Eliminates the need to have cash “on-hand”
All transaction information can be viewed via the Conduent web portal as well as the mobile app. A primary cardholder can also manage his/her account via Integrated voice response (IVR) or a customer service representative.
The companion cardholders can also receive notifications when funds are transferred into or out of their subaccount. A primary cardholder can create up to five companion cards, each with its own subaccount.