- 1 How to Apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) or Card
- 2 Free Social Security Number Verification Tool
- 3 Register green dot card without social number
- 4 There must be an easier way to give money as a gift
- 5 Green Dot Bank Locations in Your Area
How to Apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) or Card
Why Should I Apply for a Social Security Number or Card? What Is a Social Security Card or Number?
A Social Security Card contains a unique number, a Social Security Number (SSN), issued to you by the Social Security Administration (SSA) after you complete an application.
The Social Security Number / SSN is used by government agencies, schools, and businesses to identify people in their computer systems. It is a very important piece of identification in the United States, and the Social Security Number and Social Security Card should stay with you for the rest of your life.
Every working person and taxpayer in the United States must have a Social Security Number / SSN. You need a Social Security Number to get a job, collect Social Security benefits and receive some other government services. Many other businesses, such as banks and credit companies, also ask for your Social Security Number, and in some cases ask to see your Social Security Card. If you become authorized to work in the US, you want to get a Social Security Card immediately (see below for how to apply for a Social Security Card / Social Security Number with the correct Social Security application form).
The nine-digit Social Security Number is divided into three parts. The first three numbers generally indicate the state of residence at the time a person applies for his or her first card. The middle two digits of a Social Security Number have no special significance, but merely serve to break the numbers into blocks of convenient size. The last four characters represent a straight numerical progression of assigned numbers.
Types of Social Security Cards Issued
When you receive a Social Security Card, it will be one of three types of Social Security Cards:
- The first type of Social Security Card is the card most people have, and has been issued since 1935. It shows the person's name and Social Security Number / SSN, and it lets the person work without restriction. The Social Security Administration issues it to U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens.
The Social Security Card Application Process
If you need a Social Security Number / SSN, want to replace your lost or stolen Social Security Card, or want a card showing your new name, you may apply by filing Form SS-5 (Application for a Social Security Card) with your nearest Social Security office. This service is free. Forms are available online, or at your nearest Social Security office, or by calling Social Security's national toll free number: 1-800-772-1213.
Read the instructions on the Social Security application form carefully. You will need to provide original supporting documents, including proof of your lawful alien status, along with the Social Security application. If you are age 18 or older and have never been assigned a Social Security Number before, you must apply in person. Otherwise, you have a choice to send your Social Security / SSN application and supporting documents by mail. In this case, the Social Security office will return your documents to you. If you do not want to mail your original documents, take them to the nearest Social Security office.
Free Social Security Number Verification Tool
Use our free tool allows tap into our extensive database and find out if a Social Security Number is valid and whether or not it has been issued. This tool allows individuals to validate employee and non-employee Social Security Numbers. Using our Social Security Decoding information we are able to determine when and where a social security number was issued as well.
This data was collected from the Social Security Administration's Highest Issued Group data and was updated until the Social Security Randomization policy took effect in June 2011.
All data submitted is secured with strong 128-bit encryption.
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There must be an easier way to give money as a gift
- Update1: “Not a Gift Card”
- Update2: Opting out options—Not!
- Update3: MN speaks out
- Update4: “. unless you're a NASCAR fan.” 6/13/15
I did a not-so-random-act of kindness at a nursing home. Days later, to show its appreciation, the home gave me a gift. Specifically a “reloadable prepaid Visa card” from Green Dot Corporation (Monrovia, CA). The home’s intentions were good, but my experience with this card was not.
In my complaint to Green Dot’s CEO, I wrote “. an opaque and onerous on-line activation process. I was ‘spitting bullets’ well before the end of that process. It wasn’t till I had entered lots of personal information across several webpage screens that I finally found out the value of this gift card. Then and only then was I given the option to apply for a refund. I had to enter yet again personal information on a webpage entitled ‘refund.’ After entering a not-very-complementary comment in the space provided [regarding why I was requesting the refund], I clicked on the ‘submit’ button and got a response that essentially told me to start all over again.”
My letter hastened, if not actually activated, a refund. A second letter got me talking to the CEO of Green Dot. It was a learning experience for me. And I hope for Green Dot.
This reloadable debit card comes in a compact package not much larger than the card itself. But it is a lot thicker.
Cash is so crass. Restaurant gift certificates require knowing what restaurants a person likes, and then actually buying the certificate. Store gift cards are good, if you know what stores a person shops. The modern, high-tech way of giving monetary gifts is to pop over to a local gas station or quick-mart and buy a gift card.
Alas, what looks like a gift card might not be.
For $4.95, the Green Dot “general-purpose reloadable cards”—that’s what the industry calls them—is “loaded” with an initial monetary value (selected at time of purchase; cash payment only). The “reload” means the card’s value can be increased. As printed on the packaging, “Pay as you go! No overdraft fees. No penalty charges. No long term commitments.” “No Credit Check. No Bank Account Required.” “Use it Everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.” Fees? Yes: “$5.95 per month—OR—Pay No Monthly Charge in any month that you make 30 purchases or more.”
One problem. While it looks like a gift card, it’s not a very good substitute for one. Ignoring the environmental aspects of yet-another-piece-of-plastic that has to be thrown away (see Staple’s environmental commitment), the card must be activated (online or by phone). And “You’ll need to provide your Social Security Number and other information.”
What kind of gift requires handing over your social security number (SSN)?
Actually, that does make sense—depending on the monetary value loaded into the card or if one is using the card repeatably like a debit card. As Steve Streit, CEO of Green Dot, explained, “The bad guys will buy [this card]. It’s a way to launder money.”
I’ve not had one of these cards before. I had no idea what to expect. Nor did I know how much the nursing home put on the card; that is, what the card was worth. So in the 20 minutes between steps in a soup recipe, I figured I’d call the toll-free number to activate the card or initiate a refund for whatever the card was worth.
Realize that I’ve gotten gifts that take some time to set up: building plastic models, building a shortwave radio, reading books, waiting for film to be processed (I know: old tech). But money? This reloadable debit card was truly an exercise in delayed gratification.
The card number is under the peel-off label. Unlike conventional credit cards, the card number is not embossed. So you have to know to peel off the label—as opposed to know by feeling. Live and learn.
I immediately hit a snag. I couldn’t find the card number. It wasn’t printed on the packaging. The number on the back of the card didn’t work. As I was searching for the card number, I was listening to the options on the telephone, hoping for an option to reach a human being. Some things are just plain faster with a living human being, versus punching a telephone keypad, using speech recognition over the phone, or entering data via a webpage.
Nope. No “human being” option, or facsimile thereof. I hung up. For whatever reason, I decided to peel back the peel-off label. Oh. There is the card number. I called the toll-free number again. When requested, I used the keypad to enter the number. The pleasant automated voice over the phone then told me it would ask for various information to confirm my identity. Such as SSN. I hung up for a variety of reasons. I didn’t like the idea of giving out my SSN, especially for a gift. Hearing the pace of the phone instructions, I realized this was going to be a slog. And I really wanted more information about what I was getting myself into. Such as, the value of the card. I decided the online approach would be better for all that. (Plus, I didn’t want the soup I was making to burn.)
I was wrong. Online activation shed no further light about what to expect. The process flow for collecting data was mostly rigid. Where options existed, they were unclear or seemed contradictory.
For instance, in the second screen, my name and birth date is required as noted by the prominent “* Required Information.” Note the asterisk (*). Green Dot then states “A Social Security Number is required to get a reloadable Personalized Card with ATM access.” Next was space to enter the SSN. This was followed by an asterisk and the statement:
A valid Social Security Number is required to receive a Personalized Card. If you do not have a Social Security Number or do not wish to provide it, you can continue with the registration of only your Temporary Card. Your Temporary Card cannot be reloaded and has no PIN or ATM access. You will only be able to spend the funds currently on the Temporary Card. Please note that if you choose this option, you will no longer be able to receive your Personalized Card.
Next, a checkbox to “check here to continue without a Social Security Number and register only the Temporary Card with no Personalized Card option.”
Open sesame and behold: advertising material, disclaimers, instructions, and fees are printed on green paper; the cardholder agreement is printed on a folded piece of white paper; there’s packing material; and then the card itself. (Pencil not included.)
Being a writer, being trained as an engineer, being someone who does his own taxes, being one who over his lifetime so far has filled out one or two hundred forms, and being one who doesn’t take lightly the filling out of application forms and legal documents, I was more than mildly confused by the asterisked “* Required Information” and the “valid Social Security Number is required”—but it really isn’t. I checked to continue without giving my SSN.
Did I mention all I really wanted was to get a refund for whatever the card was worth, which is something else I wanted to know?
Next on that webpage: enter mailing and residential addresses. I often “code” my home address so I can track who’s selling it to junk-mail lists. I added a box number to my address. Actually, a mailing box letter, such as you’d find in apartment buildings, versus the post office, which uses numbers. I entered “Box GD.” Invalid entry. Turns out the online form only accepts “POB” for mailing box, not “Box.” Strange. Next: home phone number. (Not having a cell phone meant I didn’t also have to enter my carrier.) I then smacked “Continue.”
“Enter account information.” This included creating an account log-in; that is, entering my e-mail address, a password, and a “password hint.” Um, why do I need to do all this for a refund? In fact, is this card worth my jumping through these hoops? I skipped entering my email address and entered a password—twice, as required. The password, and hint: “Fuckthis.” My notes are slightly confused at this point. Something was an invalid entry. My notes show I changed the password hint to “a biological impossibility + opp of that.” I then smacked “Continue.” After reading the next webpage, “Confirm account information,” I smacked “Continue” for the next webpage.
Step three: accept/decline the “cardholder agreement.” Sigh. When was this going to end? And I still didn’t know how much the card was worth.
Ten minutes in (not including the time to find MoneyPass ATM locations for “free withdrawals”; incidentally, there are only two locations in the entire state of New Hampshire, both at least an hour away from the state’s largest city), I finally got to a “refund” link. I gladly clicked it.
Thank you for your interest in Green Dot. The card activation has been stopped. A refund will be processed. Please provide the information requested below to receive your refund.
Following that was the ubiquitous “* Required Information.” That information was what I had already entered: name, address, zip, and phone number. “Reason” is also required, but you need not enter a “comment.” I did.
Because going through the hoops in activating this *gift* (card) for me violates my privacy, requires way too much of my time before actually knowing the value of this card, and is both onerous and time consuming. You should know that this card is a gift for my help in hospice work up to one hour before a patient died. Life is short. Real short. This prepaid Visa card, “gift card", GreenDot card, whatever you want to call it, is an outfuckingragous financial scam. Why you couldn’t explain the activation steps beforehand as well as offer a quick link to “refund" just proves how arrogant your whole system and industry is.
I then smacked “Submit” and got the following:
We’re sorry, but there has been a problem with your activation. To start over click here, or to complete your activation by phone please call us at 1-866-785-6963.
How come the web server can recognize swear words, but can’t recognize “Box” for “POB” in a mailing address?
The “cardholder agreement” (right) is printed on white paper measuring 30¼” by 8&;”—almost 31&;” on the diagonal—in sans serif type and with the usual opaque legal text in bold or IN CAPITAL LETTERS. The agreement covers both sides of the paper.
My letter to Steve Streit, Green Dot’s CEO, (1) stated my displeasure, (2) directed Green Dot to send me a refund, and (3) informed Green Dot that its website had no OPT-OUT option for marketing lists—why isn’t that not “required information”?—and I did not want my name or address on any such list managed by Green Dot. I sent that letter certified, return receipt.
The first draft of that letter hardly resembled the one I sent Streit. My first draft was long, pointed, and had several recommendations, other than “Ban these types of credit cards.” I edited that letter and addressed it to Congressman Barney Frank, Chairman, House Financial Services Committee, U.S. House of Representatives. Copies went to a bunch of people. Streit of Green Dot, of course; Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman, U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; and senators and representatives from both New Hampshire (my home state) and California (Green Dot’s home state). Also, Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury, and to the managing director of the American Bankers Insurance Association—after all, this card is a financial product; they should hear from consumers (and taxpayers). Plus Consumer Reports , which has published several articles about gift cards, bank cards, and the like. ( Consumer Reports doesn’t like ’em.)
Last—another 44¢ in postage won’t break my bank—a copy went to The Better Business Bureau, Colton, CA. Here is the BBB summary of my complaint and Green Dot’s response (dated after I got the refund), which notes that it “waived the $19.95 FedEx Delivery Fee” and that “Refunds take two business days to generate.”
The Treasury department forwarded my letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). That’s not as useless as it may seem. Here’ why (FTC letter dated December 29, 2009; FTC Ref. No. 24998244):
. Letters from consumers and businesses are very important to the work of the Commission. They are often the first indication of a problem in the marketplace and may provide the initial evidence to begin an investigation. The Commission does not resolve individual complaints. The Commission can, however, act when it sees a pattern of possible violations developing.
The information you have provided will be recorded in our complaint retention system. This computerized system enables us to identify questionable business practices that are generating numerous complaints and may be in violation of the law.
And both NH senators responded. Senator Shaheen’s response was irrelevant. Senator Gregg’s response acknowledged “these cards require compliance with tedious activation and refund policies and often require cardholders to provide personal information for access.” As for actually doing something about those tedious policies, well. His letter included the usual, vapid political statement of intent: “. I will keep your thoughts in mind as I continue working with my Senate colleagues on policies to protect American consumers.” (Pointing out to the good senator how much he and his Senate colleagues have protected American consumers in the last few years, what with financial deregulations, lack of regulatory oversight, and consequent financial meltdown, would be an entirely different, and long, letter.)
Green Dot responded quickly. A week after my letter to the CEO, “Danny” left a message to call him (at a non-toll-free number). Natch, I got his answering machine when I called back. I told him to keep trying me; I’m not calling non-toll-free numbers. Danny called back soon enough. Basically, he wanted a confirmation of everything I said in my letter, including card number, my address, and a little about my trying to activate the card. He said I would receive the refund by FedEx in seven days. (He was off by over a week.) I received the refund 2½ weeks after trying to activate the card. That’s actually a helluva lot faster than rebates for consumer electronics, computers, groceries, and other purchases.
CEO Streit called me less than a week after I mailed my letter to Congressman Frank. Streit's first comment was, after introducing himself, “The good news is I don’t get letters like this often.” He wanted to hear directly from this customer. This was (blessedly) not a marketing call. Nor was it one (ditto) to justify Green Dot. We talked about this “bank account product.” We both agreed this was the wrong product to use as a simple gift card. Streit mentioned the card’s packaging in the future should make this explicit. We talked about having an option in the online activation process to go directly to the refund page. Streit admitted that “IT works slow.” (I laughed. This is typical across industries.) He also told me that about 12% of these cards wind up being a refund, which “costs us a lot.” That being the case, Green Dot has a very good incentive to market these cards correctly, as well as to simplify refunding so the process doesn’t add costs to the company. Streit told me that Green Dot has a good BBB rating, and wants to keep it that way. One of his last comments was that “writing to a regulator [Congressman Frank] is a good way to get attention.”
All in all, an interesting and informative conversation. However, I’ll probably never know if he implements my recommendations. I don’t plan to buy one of these cards, and I may very well not accept them as gifts.
In late December, I got a letter from the BBB effectively closing the loop, “but we would prefer to hear from you directly.” I sent this response.
I stopped by a quck-mart last week to see if they were selling “reloadable prepaid Visa card” from Green Dot. More important, I wanted to see if the product’s packaging had changed to clearly indicate how these cards were to be used. It was. On the “Reloadable Prepaid Student Card,” just above the price and in the same size and font as the price, were the words “Not a Gift Card.” The “Reloadable Express Bill Pay Card,” did not have such a label. This makes sense; according to the Green Dot website, the bill-pay card is for—as the product’s name implies—paying bills online or by phone. While someone might give you one of these cards as a gift to pay off your bills, you can apply this card only to bills. And as we all know, bills are not gifts. The quick-mart did not have reloadable, prepaid Visa or MasterCard debit cards for sale, so I don’t know if these products are labeled “Not a Gift Card” as well. I’ll keep checking.
1/31/11 Yup, the reloadable “prepaid Visa “ product from Greendot now mentions “Not a Gift Card” in small print above the price of the product.
Opting out options—Not!
Got an email two days ago out of the blue:
Date: Mon, 25 Nov 2013 08:50:11
Opting out of providing ssn/bday is no longer an option.
Thanks for your interesting blog post and your diligence in holding them accountable.
MN had a problem refunding her prepaid Green Dot card. Quite simply, she didn’t want to give the company lots of personal information, especially her Social Security number. She emailed me about her communications with Green Dot—and what eventually happened. (Spoiler alert: She got the refund.)
I am so glad I’m not the only one who pokeys along through life, trying to do my best, being fair and intelligent in all my dealings, applying what I’ve learned about computers and corporations and privacy and security, and often finding myself coming to a screeching halt with, as FT described it, a “Huh?” feeling.
FT’s daughter got a Green Dot card as a gift, and was registering it. He also balked at providing a social security number. In FT’s email to me, he included the phone number for Green Dot’s Activation Hotline (1-866-785-6963). A week later, FT got the refund from Green Dot (plus the card’s purchase price), but he was also curious. “I then began to wonder whether 1-866-785-6963 was a closely-guarded customer service number,” he wrote. “Not so secret, but not so obvious, either, maybe unless you’re a NASCAR fan.”
Because NASCAR doesn’t race Prius cars, I would never have found the phone number either.
As more transactions go online, all industries—not just financial—need to pay attention to their web-based operations, including user interfaces, security requirements, disclaimers, and transaction processes. Will my one letter “activate” Green Dot to do that? Will my one letter “activate” Congress to ensure financial institutions (and other business enterprises) do the “right thing” for customers: implement customer-friendly user interfaces and process flows in their online/telephone activation processes. Your help is requested in activating that change.
Posted: Feburary 18, 2010. Revised: June 13, 2015.
©Copyright 2010: Lawrence S. Gould . All rights reserved.
Green Dot Bank Locations in Your Area
Green Dot Bank has 1 branches in their local area. This traditional brick and mortar bank is a community bank that focuses on local business, and can service the local population, and most likely has ATM locations.
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Learn more about Green Dot Bank
Green Dot Bank was established May 1978. It holds assets of 1.04 billion US dollars. That makes it a regional bank that most likely covers their local population well. A point to consider when choosing a bank is it's health. This bank appears to be healthy. It has a texas ratio of 0%. Lower is better!
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Green Dot Bank Branches Customer Reviews
I am the office manager for a company that has recently held a Driver Appreciation Day for all of its Independent Contractors. I received this Green Dot VISA Debit Card from a vendor worth $500.00. This driver was a Canadian and took his card home and attempted to register his new card. Since he had no SSN# he used his SIN # in stead. Is there a way we can get another card so we can register it here in the US to get this gentleman his prize? If Someone could please contact me I would love to rectify this situation. I spent over an hour attempting to contact anyone on this problem.
Greendot has no customer service
Greendot has to be the worst company for customer service I have ever has the miss fortune to deal with I bought a prepaid card from a gas station put 100 dollars on it got home to activate it and get a message saying wrong numbers card cant be activated so whent made sure I put the numbers in right same thing did it two or three more times now I have to wait 24 hours to many attempts nows when the fun starts trying to find away to talk to someone real finaly 3 days later I finaly had a human voice on the other end get told to take pictures of the card and receipt send it in to the site they gave me and give them 1 bussiness day 2weeks later i get a email saying the picturs were not clear couldnt read them which was bull the pictures couldn't be any clearer so I sent them back in filing a new claim still waiting, Believe it or not I went and bought a pay pal master card and the same thing happens im thinking great got to do the same thing but no I called talked to a real person and my card and money was available before i hung up the phone probably 15 20 minutes now thats a company that cares about there customers I will never and recommend no one ever buy a green dot card again they just dont care about there customers I give them 20 thumbs down
I've been with Green Dot Bank a couple of times over the past few years. Never had any major issues with any of my accounts with them, and currently am using Green Dot as my primary checking account after having issues with Wells Fargo due to overdraft charges (which Green Dot obviously does not have). Green Dot wasn't my first choice, but I needed a quick fix so that my place of work would have an account to deposit my check to. I have been using my card for over a year now, and don't feel the need to stop yet. I also have ordered, and regularly use, the checks that Green Dot Bank provides, and have never had any issue with them either.
I'm not sure what the other reviewers are talking about when they mention a $1000 deposit limit. I make over $1000 on a monthly basis and always receive the full amount that is listed on my pay stub. Also, Green Dot offers (at least to me) perks for depositing over a certain amount each month, but I have never hit a "maximum deposit size exceeded" problem, and if you take a look at the FAQ section on Green Dot's website, it states that the maximum allowed amount of funds that can be direct-deposited in a single day can't exceed $10,000, no cash deposits can exceed $2,500, and you can't have more than $10,000 in you account at any given time. This is definitely not a "millionaire's bank," but I don't see myself having any problems until I move into a much higher tax bracket. I have never seen any unexplained transactions or withdrawals from my card, and I try to keep a very close eye on my finances.
Lastly, once when I had to request a refund from Amazon on an incomplete order, I saw the money put back into my Green Dot account about a week later, so I am also unsure as to how the previous reviewers were having such difficulty. Maybe try to make friends with the call center rep who helps you when you call in. As an ex call center worker who regularly got yelled at for customer's mistakes, I can tell you that this will go a long way to getting your problem resolved, and may actually get the employee to go the extra mile for you.