REGARDING the local stimulus cards that have been distributed to CNMI taxpayers, Department of Finance Secretary David DLG Atalig said no fees will be collected from those who use the cards.
Several individuals claimed on social media that they had been charged fees after using their local stimulus cards.
However, Atalig said after contacting the CNMI’s prepaid card partner and its CEO, it was confirmed that no fees were charged, just normal security holds placed on cards for certain vendors, such as car rental agencies and hotels.
As for charges made on the card at restaurants, Atalig said there may be holds on these as well to ensure that any tip added onto the payment of the bill and charged to the card is also covered.
Fees to certain phone providers have been reported and are being resolved, he added.
For more information, or to report a claim on alleged fees charged to local stimulus cards, individuals are encouraged to contact the CNMI Department of Finance at firstname.lastname@example.org
They will be prompted to upload documents and input their card numbers, which the department will use to look into their claims.
If it is proven that cards were indeed charged a fee by a vendor, the department will work with the Office of the Attorney General to investigate the matter.
“We will, if need to, ensure that we return those charges back to the taxpayer, as they should not be charged fees for their normal purchases here in the Commonwealth…. [The card] should work just as easy as [a normal] debit card,” said Atalig.
He added that the cards are refillable by the CNMI Department of Finance and should be kept instead of discarded after funds are completely expended.
Local stimulus cards have been distributed to over 28,000 CNMI taxpayers.
Atalig noted that there are individuals who have yet to submit their 2020 tax return, and thus have not been issued a local stimulus card.