I have discovered an enormous problem with the Direct Express MasterCard as it applies to Americans living in Mexico, because I was unable for 2 weeks to reach their advertized 24/7 customer service when I was unable to retrieve cash from any ATM in Puerto Escondido. I went to several banks in town for help as any showing the Mastercard Logo according to the Direct Express Website is supposed to allow a cash withdrawl. The Mexican bank's response was my Direct Express was a foreign card and they could not honor it. Unable go reach customer service on the international number in addition to a friend trying to reach them from his US phone, I was trapped without cash or help. Stores which are also supposed to give cash along with a purchase refused as well, saying my Direct Express was not Mexican. Direct Express is the guardian of Social Security direct deposits for many people who choose a pre-paid card rather than a bank account. For those of us in Mexico who can not have an account in our own name without being a resident, do not even have the choice, When I enrolled in Direct Express in the US several months before I moved to Mexico, I was assured it was safe, reliable and totally accessible. I aIso didn't imagine that Direct Express had no relationship with the banks here, despite the fact they both show the Mastercard logo. I also was outraged by the indifference and lack of customer service I experienced in the Mexican banks. I never imagined that once out of the country alone and in trouble with a card not working properly, I would have to have emergency money wired to me until I could even reach customer service. When I finally did after 2 weeks, I was lucky enough to speak with someone who realized the seriousness of the situation and got me to a level three supervisor who apparently is the only one who can deal with such issues. First I should mention that he was completely aware of the difficulty I had reaching customer service. He even told me that the last three days and first three days of the month were impossible times to get through and they had not yet found a solution. ( Perhaps they need to hire more people ) He told me he would white list my information and email a special department of Mastercard to free the card and within 4 days I should be able to get cash. I reached him on a Saturday and this special department only works Mon-Fri. I also told him my mobile app stopped working the same day I was unable to get cash and he said he would send a code by email to open the app. He was very sympathetic and I was grateful that finally someone seemed to care. However, the procedure failed to work, I never got an email with a code and I began calling Direct Express again every 30 minutes to get through to this supervisor. It took me nearly another week to make contact, an improvement over the first time, but for people who advertize 24/7 customer service access, totally unacceptable. I warned him that this was not the reasonable, polite and grateful person of a week ago. This was a furious American citizen, alone in Mexico, whose life and well being had been put in danger because something was wrong with their system preventing me from access to my own funds. I wanted something to happen immediately and I wanted him to call me since he would have no problem getting through to my phone. I also said that I was going to file a full report with anyone who would listen because I could not be the only victim and the seniors who where using their card deserved much better protection and access. It may even be true that they are working to improve the system, however no one should be in the dangerous and vulnerable position I was in , having to spend 3 weeks of my life listening to a busy signal on a customer service line, treated with indifference by the Mexican banks whose economy is greatly benefited by the American dollars we spend there, and then never called by the supervisor at Direct Express to follow up. I hope this reaches other people using Direct Express. I plan on filing a complete report with the company and copying Mastercard and Social Security as I have asked the supervisor to file his own report. The first thing they have to fix is immediate telephone access. No one needs to hear a busy signal from the people who handle their money for 2 weeks. It's an outrageous amount of stress for anyone but for seniors on social security, that stress is a dangerous health risk.