Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in Katrina's wake, will use Mastercard prepaid debit cards worth $2,000. It instructed victims to visit the agency's Web site, www.fema.gov, or call 800/621-FEMA to learn how to get the cards.
The cards are meant to buy supplies like food, shelter, clothing and transportation. Michael D. Brown, director of FEMA, said, "FEMA is initiating efforts to bring the registration process to those in need". He and agency spokespeople could not immediately respond to questions about debit card use on purchases of non-emergency supplies such as alcohol or tobacco... or more recently massage services and tattoo studios.
Each household's debit mastercard can be used at nationwide merchants that accept visa/mastercard and also at ATMs in the MasterCard network.