Complaints focus on technical issues with city’s $ 100 vaccine payment card

Thousands of New Yorkers have struggled to redeem their $ 100 Immunization Incentive Debit Cards – some for weeks on end – because the company that administers them says it’s trying to troubleshoot registration issues.

FiCentive, a division of San Antonio-based financial technology firm Usio that provides debit cards, received a $ 50 million non-tender contract first approved last August by members of the Board of Directors of administration of the city Economic Development Corp., according to records.

Former Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the incentives last year, promising the bonus to anyone receiving a vaccine – and later a booster dose – at the designated time vaccination sites.

The city has handled some 7,000 complaints about Akimbo-branded vaccine incentive cards since the initiative’s launch in July, according to city hall spokesman Jonah Allon, who added that “more than 730,000 cards have been dealt ”.

At participating immunization sites offering the $ 100 benefit, New Yorkers have the option of receiving their gift card by post – with wait times of up to four weeks – or they can sign up. from Akimbo by e-mail to obtain a one-time code in order to release the funds on a virtual card.

This is where some users have reportedly encountered problems – resorting to Twitter son and Reddit Forums to find out how to get their money.

Williamsburg resident Molly Heintz opted for her 8-year-old son to receive his $ 100 credit card in the mail after receiving his second dose of the vaccine in November at a Long Island City site – but was unable to release the funds only this week.

It took Heintz numerous attempts over the past two months to log into Akimbo and eight calls to the company’s customer service to use the card, she said.

Akimbo, who did not respond to a request for comment, has a warning on his website which reads: “We are currently having intermittent issues with signing in and managing accounts.” We are working to resolve these issues as quickly as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience. “

“It was particularly difficult” to get the money, Heintz said. “I think maybe a forecast of the volume of requests, or whatever infrastructure support needs to be put in place. It’s essential that something like this works properly.

EDC’s executive committee initially approved the FiCentive deal in August, to commit to $ 20.3 million before expansion to $ 50.9 million the following month. In addition to the $ 100 prepaid incentive cards for vaccines, FiCentive is also in charge of a competition who pledged to give an additional $ 2,500 each to at least 10 lucky winners among those who have been shot.

An EDC spokesperson did not respond to LA VILLE’s request for comment.

People having difficulty signing up for Akimbo should call Akimbo at 1-855-449-2273 or the vax hotline at 877-VAX4NYC, Allon said.

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Elaine R. Knight