TN 28 (02-10)

GN 02210.205 Paying by Credit Card – Debtor Contact Unit (DCU) Procedure

A. Introduction

Debtors have the option of using their credit card to repay their debt. The debtor can authorize a one-time payment over the telephone or request SSA to charge their credit card on a recurring monthly basis by submitting a completed and signed SSA-4588, (You Can Make Your Payment by Credit Card).

For one-time payments, the debtor contact representatives (DCRs) in the PSC of jurisdiction will enter the required information on the webpage and submit it electronically for processing. For a link to the webpage see GN 02210.156.

For recurring monthly credit card payments, MATPSC is responsible for entering the information on the webpage. Recurring monthly payments require the debtor to sign and date form SSA-4588. Upon request, the DCRs mail the form to debtors and ask that they complete, sign, and return it in an enclosed MATPSC envelope.

IMPORTANT: The SSA-4588 has been revised from a one-page form (front and back) to a two-page form (front and back). There are six versions of the SSA-4588, one for each PSC; it contains the PSC-specific telephone number and hours of operation information. See a sample of the form in GN 02210.154.

B. Procedure for handling credit card inquires

1. Explaining the credit card option

If a debtor is contacted by telephone to repay a debt or a debtor contacts the DCU, assume that the caller is the cardholder, unless there is reason to believe otherwise, and proceed as follows:




Explain that SSA accepts Master Card, VISA, Discover, American Express, and Diners Club credit cards for repayment of overpayments.


Make it clear that if this method of payment is chosen, regular credit card rules apply.


Advise current pay debtors that benefit withholding will continue if the credit card payment is less than the full amount of the debt.


Advise debtors about the recurring monthly credit card payment option. (See GN 02210.205B.2.b. in this section).

NOTE: The Diners Club Card will only be accepted when it processes as a MasterCard or Discover transaction. Acceptable Diners Club Cards should have the MasterCard or Discover Card logo present on the card and meet the numerical requirements (See chart GN 02210.205B.1).

2. Caller agrees to pay via credit card

a. Debtor wants to make a single (one-time) payment:

If a debtor agrees to pay via credit card:

  • Assume that the caller is the cardholder, unless there is reason to believe otherwise. See GN 02210.205B.5 in this section if a caller wants to use another person’s credit card.

  • If the caller wants to pay by credit card over the telephone, go to and input the transaction.

There is also a Reference Guide at the website. Follow the directions in that Guide for entering the transaction.

IMPORTANT: For AWG credit card payments made by the employer, be sure to enter Reason Code E in the beneficiary information screen portion.

b. Debtor wants to make recurring monthly payments:

If the debtor wants to pay by having his or her credit card charged on a recurring monthly basis, proceed as follows:





Mail the SSA-4588 form to the debtor. Include the green return envelope addressed to MATPSC. (For sample of the form see GN 02210.154).


Tell the debtor to complete, sign, and date the SSA-4588 form. Emphasize to the debtor that this form MUST be signed and dated for SSA to process the recurring monthly charges.


Explain that their credit card will be charged each month for the length of time and for the amount that they specify on the form. Inform the debtor that they can cancel this authorization by notifying SSA. The SSA-4588 has detailed instructions for canceling recurring monthly payments.


Tell the debtor to use the green return envelope to mail only the 1st and 2nd pages of the original SSA-4588 for processing to:

P.O. Box 3430
Philadelphia, PA 19122


Tell the debtor to complete page 3, detach it (before mailing pages 1 and 2) and keep it for their records.


If the debtor returns the signed SSA-4588 requesting recurring monthly payments to a PSC other than MATPSC:


Mail the original SSA-4588 to MATPSC at the above address for processing. DO NOT FAX IT.

NOTE: the original signed copy of the SSA-4588 must be kept on file at MATPSC as proof of the debtor’s authorization.


Add Remarks to the MBR/SSR and DMS that the request for recurring credit card payments was received in the PSC, date received, and date the original SSA-4588 form was forwarded to MATPSC for processing.

IMPORTANT: If the debtor establishes recurring credit card payments and the credit card or credit card number subsequently changes, mail an SSA-4588 to the debtor. Include the green return envelope addressed to MATPSC. Process according to GN 02210.215B.2.b.

If the debtor establishes recurring credit card payments and the credit card expiration date changes (and the credit card number remains the same), contact the debtor either by phone or send them a new SSA-4588 form requesting the new expiration date. If the debtor provides the new expiration date by phone or e-mail, add remarks to the MBR/SSR and DMS for record keeping purposes.

c. Debtor wants to cancel recurring credit card payments.

If a debtor contacts your office about canceling the recurring credit card payments:

  • Send an e-mail to ||PHI ARC PCO RDDB DMS the same day the debtor contacts your office. Type “Cancel Recurring Credit Card” in the subject line of the e-mail, so it will receive immediate attention. Add Remarks to the MBR/SSR and DMS that the debtor cancelled recurring credit card payments, the date the debtor contacted SSA, and the date your office contacted MATPSC via e-mail.

  • Tell the debtor SSA will discontinue the charges to his or her credit card. However, the debtor’s request must have been made 15 days prior to the date the previous months’ charges from SSA were reflected on his or her statement. For example, the credit card monthly statement shows the SSA charge was posted on the April 20. The debtor’s request to cancel must have been received by MATPSC by May 5 in order to have the current month’s charge stopped.

3. Caller wishes to use debit card or credit card not accepted by SSA

Follow instructions in GN 02210.153B.3.

4. Caller reports a transaction problem

If a caller indicates a problem with a credit card transaction (e.g., the payment authorized is not reflected on their credit card statement, statement shows a transaction which they do not remember authorizing):

  1. Check DMS Remarks screen to verify whether or not the credit card transaction was declined.

  2. If payment was not declined, check the Remittance Query to confirm the date the payment was processed at MATPSC, explaining that the transaction could have been processed after the debtor’s most recent billing cycle.

  3. If, after completing steps a and b, you are still unable to satisfy the debtor’s concern, follow local operating procedures and contact MATPSC RAU. If necessary, follow up with MATPSC RAU by calling (215) 597-5658.

5. Caller wants to use another person’s credit card

If the caller states that he or she is not the owner of the credit card:

  1. a. 

    Tell the caller that SSA can only accept credit card payments by telephone from the owner of the credit card, and that the transaction cannot be completed at this time.

  2. b. 

    Remind the caller that SSA will accept payment in the form of a check or money order in accordance with normal operating procedures, and that cash payments can be made at any local SSA field office.

6. Employer requests to pay an administrative wage garnishment (AWG) by credit card

If an employer requests to pay by AWG:

  1. a. 

    Request the SSN of the debtor listed on the notice, and verify that a debt exists on the record.

    NOTE: Advise employer that debts for multiple employees must be processed separately.

  2. b. 

    Explain that SSA accepts MasterCard, VISA, Discover, American Express, and Diners Club credit cards for debts.

  3. c. 

    If employer agrees to pay by credit card over the telephone, follow instructions in GN 02210.205B.2.a. in this section

NOTE: ONLY when processing credit card payments for AWG, does the caller not have to be the actual cardholder.

7. Caller asks to pay by credit card over the internet

Follow instructions in GN 02210.153B.5.

8. Caller provides erroneous account number

Each of the five credit card brands accepted by SSA has its own account number system, as follows:

Credit Card

First digit(s) always

Number of digits in account number










American Express



Diners Club

5 or 6


NOTE: The Diners Club brand card will only be accepted when the account number begins with 5 or 6 and contains 16 digits.

If the caller provides a credit card account number that does not meet the preceding criteria, take the following actions after you confirm that the account number is erroneous:

  1. a. 

    Advise the caller that the credit card does not have the appropriate amount of numbers or correct leading digit.

  2. b. 

    Ask the caller if he or she has another card to use. If so, and if the account numbers are consistent with preceding description, process the request.

  3. c. 

    If the caller does not have another credit card, tell him/her that SSA can accept payment through the mail or at the local field office by check or money order.

  4. d. 

    If the caller wants to pay by check or money order, follow the appropriate instructions in GN 02210.214A., Steps 1 and 2.

  5. e. 

    Advise the caller that cash payments should be taken to any local field office.

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GN 02210.205 - Paying by Credit Card – Debtor Contact Unit (DCU) Procedure - 01/14/2011
Batch run: 07/24/2014