If you have not received a Hawaii Restaurant Card and think you’re eligible, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Check your eligibility here.
  2. If you are eligible to receive a Hawaii Restaurant Card, call the Customer Service toll-free number at 1.800.352.5202.
  3. Report your Card lost/stolen and a Call Center Agent will assist you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some general frequently asked questions. For additional or specific information about your Card, please refer to the material in your Welcome Packet and found on this site.

Overview and Eligibility

What is the Hawaii Restaurant Card?

The Hawaii Restaurant Card is a prepaid debit card that contains the money you are receiving as a result of an economic relief program. The Hawaii Restaurant Card can be used for purchases of food and non-alcoholic beverages at eating establishments, restaurants and fast food restaurants in the State of Hawaii. The Hawaii Restaurant Card is funded by the State of Hawaii, managed by Money Network Financial, LLC and issued by MetaBank®, N.A.

Who’s eligible to receive the Hawaii Restaurant Card?

Hawaii residents who opened an initial Unemployment Insurance (“UI”) claim on or after March 1, 2020 with the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations; certified that their job loss is due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and received UI benefits during the month of September 2020 for the month of September 2020 without any claims pending for the month of September 2020, are eligible for this program. There is no need to apply.

When checking if I am eligible to receive the Hawaii Restaurant Card on the myrestaurantcard.hawaii.gov website, why I am getting an “ineligible” message? (Updated October 27, 2020)

Please call the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii’s Call Center at 808.825.4904 or email HRC@cochawaii.org and someone will be able to assist you.

Why haven’t I received a Hawaii Restaurant Card? (Updated October 27, 2020)

If you have not received a Hawaii Restaurant Card and you think you may be eligible, please make sure to check your eligibility at myrestaurantcard.hawaii.gov. If you checked and are eligible to receive a Hawaii Restaurant Card, we ask that you wait until October 30 to request a replacement as Cards are continuing to arrive in mailboxes Statewide. If you still haven’t received your Hawaii Restaurant Card by November 2, call the Hawaii Restaurant Card’s toll-free number at 1.800.352.5202 to report your Card lost/stolen and a Call Center Agent will be able to assist.

Why did the original UI claim date change from March 25, 2020 to March 1, 2020?

The initial claim date was March 25, 2020, which was selected because this was the first day of the Stay at Home Order which forced non-essential businesses to close. However, in order to expand the number of individuals who may qualify, the initial claim date was changed to March 1, 2020. All other eligibility requirements remained unchanged.

I am currently pending approval for the pandemic emergency unemployment compensation (“PEUC”) program. Will I be disqualified from getting a card because I’m waiting for the extension of my benefits to be continued?

Whether a claimant is on the regular UI program or the PEUC program, as long as the initial claim was opened on or after March 1, 2020, the claimant certified that their job loss was due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the claimant received UI benefits in September 2020, a Hawaii Restaurant Card will be issued.

When will Hawaii Restaurant Cards be sent to qualified recipients?

Hawaii Restaurant Card will be mailed starting October 12, 2020 and will begin arriving in island mailboxes after October 16, 2020. Recipients will need to activate their Card by telephone prior to use.

After being furloughed/laid-off, I moved to the mainland, can I still be eligible to receive a Hawaii Restaurant Card?

No. You must be a current resident of the State of Hawaii.

Is the Hawaii Restaurant Card a statewide program?

Yes. The Hawaii Restaurant Card Program (Program) is a $75 million economic stimulus initiative made possible by funding from the Federal CARES Act, and is being administered by the State of Hawai’s Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT) as part of its Economic Relief Program.

Are benefits received from the Hawaii Restaurant Card taxable?

The Hawaii Department of Taxation has ruled that the amount loaded on the Hawaii Restaurant Card and received as a benefit will not be subject to Hawaii income tax. Please check with your tax provider regarding reporting requirements for your Federal income tax.

Will activating and spending funds on the Hawaii Restaurant Card invalidate my SNAP and/or Medicaid eligibility?

No. The Department of Human Services has confirmed that the Hawaii Restaurant Card will not impact SNAP and Medicaid benefits or eligibility.

I live in Hawaii, however, am receiving unemployment insurance benefits from another state. Will I receive a Hawaii Restaurant Card?

No. Hawaii residents who opened an initial Unemployment Insurance (“UI”) claim on or after March 1, 2020 with the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations; certified that their job loss is due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and received UI benefits during the month of September 2020, are eligible for this program.

Although I am under 18 years old, I am eligible and have been receiving UI benefits because my employer temporarily closed. Will I receive a Hawaii Restaurant Card?

Yes. All Hawaii residents, regardless of age, who opened an initial Unemployment Insurance (“UI”) claim on or after March 1, 2020 with the Hawai Department of Labor and Industrial Relations; certified that their job loss is due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and received UI benefits during the month of September for the month of September 2020, are eligible for this program and will receive a card.

Getting Started

How do I activate my Hawaii Restaurant Card?

Call the number on the activation sticker found on the front of your Hawaii Restaurant Card. During activation, you will be asked to input your Hawaii Restaurant Card Number, date of birth, zip code and the 3-digit security code from the back of your Hawaii Restaurant Card. You could be asked to further validate your identity by providing, at minimum, your name and address or answer identity verification questions.

You will also be asked to create a 4-digit PIN required for automated assistance and to hear your balance. For your Account security, do not use personal information as your PIN.

After I activate my Hawaii Restaurant Card, how do I view my Account online?

Go to HawaiiRestaurantCard.com and follow the steps to register for online access. Be sure to have your Hawaii Restaurant Card handy.

Using Your Hawaii Restaurant Card

How can I find the balance of my Hawaii Restaurant Card?

There are two easy and free1 ways to access your Hawaii Restaurant Card account balance information and transaction history:

  • Online: View your balance and transaction history online any time at HawaiiRestaurantCard.com (you must first register your Hawaii Restaurant Card to view your balance online).
  • By phone: Call the number on the back of your Hawaii Restaurant Card to hear your balance and transaction history using our automated voice response system.

Is the Hawaii Restaurant Card a credit card?

No, the Hawaii Restaurant Card is a prepaid card, loaded with a specific dollar amount. You can use the Hawaii Restaurant Card to make signature or PIN debit purchases at restaurants in Hawaii through December 15, 2020, or until the Hawaii Restaurant Card balance reaches zero, whichever occurs first.

How do I make a purchase with my Hawaii Restaurant Card?

You can use your Hawaii Restaurant Card at restaurants in Hawaii who accept debit Mastercard®. Using your Hawaii Restaurant Card is similar to using most other signature-based debit or credit cards. At the time of purchase, swipe the Hawaii Restaurant Card through the keypad and select “credit” to complete a signature purchase transaction, or select “debit” and enter your PIN to complete a PIN purchase transaction. If you press “credit” and the merchant does not accept debit Mastercard cards, your transaction may be declined.

Each time the Hawaii Restaurant Card is used, the transaction amount and any applicable fees are automatically deducted from the Hawaii Restaurant Card balance. Spending is limited to the value available on the Hawaii Restaurant Card.

What happens when I leave a tip or gratuity when I use my Hawaii Restaurant Card?

A restaurant will pre-authorize your purchase amount plus an extra 20% to account for a tip. This puts a temporary hold on your Card balance that could be greater than the actual purchase amount. If you do not have sufficient funds to cover the pre-authorized amount on your Hawaii Restaurant Card your transaction will be declined.

Once the transaction is fully processed, any extra pre-authorized amount will be released, and your balance will be adjusted. Pre-authorized funds may take 7-10 business days to be released back to your Card account balance.

How can the pre-authorized amount for tips be released sooner than 7-10 business days?

Restaurants can expedite the release of the pre-authorized hold by processing their Hawaii Restaurant Card transactions daily. Holds are released when the transaction is processed.

Why is the amount shown as “pending” different than the amount I actually spent at a restaurant?

When making purchases at a restaurant, the Hawaii Restaurant Card may be “preauthorized” for an amount greater than the transaction amount to cover the gratuity or incidental expenses. If you don’t have enough money on your Hawaii Restaurant Card to cover the preauthorized amount, your transaction may be rejected. Any preauthorized amount will place a “hold” on your available funds until the merchant sends us the final payment amount of your purchase. Once the final payment amount is received, the preauthorized amount on hold will be removed. During this time, you will not have access to preauthorized amounts. If you authorize a transaction and then fail to make a purchase of that item as planned, the approval may result in a hold for that amount of funds.

What if I want to purchase an item that costs more than the balance on my Hawaii Restaurant Card?

To make a purchase greater than the balance on your Hawaii Restaurant Card, you will need to do the following*:

  • Have a second form of payment available that is accepted by the merchant to cover the difference – examples of payment options include cash, check, debit card or credit card.
  • Tell the cashier in advance how much to deduct from your Hawaii Restaurant Card (this can be an amount up to the balance of your Hawaii Restaurant Card) – the second payment method must cover the difference.

*Note: Not all merchants will permit transactions to be split between two payment methods.

Is there a way for Hawaii Restaurant Cardholders to let the restaurant know what their card balance is?

Yes. There are two easy and free ways to access your Hawaii Restaurant Card account balance information and transaction history:

  • Online: View your balance and transaction history online any time at HawaiiRestaurantCard.com (you must first register for online access to view your balance online).
  • By phone: Call the number on the back of your Hawaii Restaurant Card to hear your balance and transaction history using our automated voice response system.

What should I do if my Hawaii Restaurant Card is declined?

If a Hawaii Restaurant Card transaction is declined, the merchant will let you know. To avoid a decline, before initiating the transaction, verify that there are sufficient funds on your Hawaii Restaurant Card by:

  • Calling the Customer Service at the number on the back of your Hawaii Restaurant Card and follow the prompts to check your Hawaii Restaurant Card’s balance.
  • Visiting HawaiiRestaurantCard.com (you must first register your Hawaii Restaurant Card to view your balance online).

What if I want to cancel a purchase?

You may cancel or request that a restaurant cancel a transaction initiated with your Hawaii Restaurant Card prior to completing the transaction, while you are still present at the point of sale terminal where you initiated the transaction. You do not have the right to stop payment on any other purchase transaction originated by use of the Hawaii Restaurant Card.

Where can I use my Hawaii Restaurant Card?

You may use your Hawaii Restaurant Card at restaurants in Hawaii. See your Card Account Agreement online at HawaiiRestaurantCard.com for more information on where you can use your Hawai i Restaurant Card.

Can the Hawaii Restaurant Card be used for alcoholic beverage purchases?

No. The Hawaii Restaurant Card is intended for restaurant food and non-alcoholic beverage purchases only. If wine, beer or spirits are ordered with a meal, you will need to request a separate check for the alcoholic beverages and pay for it using your own funds.

Can I use my Hawaii Restaurant Card for other purchases such as groceries or gas?

No. You may only use the Hawaii Restaurant Card at restaurants in Hawaii. See your Agreement at HawaiiRestaurantCard.com for additional information.

Can my Hawaii Restaurant Card be used to obtain cash from an ATM?

No. You may only use the Hawaii Restaurant Card at restaurants in Hawaii. See your Agreement at HawaiiRestaurantCard.com for additional information.

Can the Hawaii Restaurant Card be used at food trucks or Farmers Markets?

The Hawaii Restaurant Card may be used at dine-in and take-out restaurants, fast food establishments and eateries statewide.

Can I use my Hawaii Restaurant Card for both takeout and sit-down dining?

Yes, the Hawaii Restaurant Card for all food service purchases at restaurants in Hawaii. See your Agreement atHawaiiRestaurantCard.com for additional information.

Can I use my Hawaii Restaurant Card to order online?

That will depend on the restaurant’s online ordering system. Some restaurant online systems are out-of-state or third-party platforms that may not be accepted by the Hawaii Restaurant Card billing system. If you have problems, contact the restaurant you are trying to access. You may have to order by phone or in person.

Can I use my Hawaii Restaurant Card for purchases internationally?

No. You may only use the Hawaii Restaurant Card at restaurants in Hawaii. See your Agreement at HawaiiRestaurantCard.com for additional information.

Can the Hawaii Restaurant Card be used at restaurants in hotels?

It depends. The Hawaii Restaurant Card can only be used at eating establishments, restaurants, bakeries and food caterers with Merchant Category Codes (MCC) 5462, 5811, 5812 and 5814. If a restaurant within a hotel utilizes one of these codes, they will be able to accept the Hawaii Restaurant Card.

Can I add more money to my Hawaii Restaurant Card?

No. Only the Hawaii Department of Business Economic Development & Tourism may place funds on the Hawaii Restaurant Card.

How long can I use my Hawaii Restaurant Card?

You can make permitted restaurant purchases using your Hawaii Restaurant Card through December 15, 2020, or until the Hawaii Restaurant Card balance reaches zero, whichever occurs first.

Why is there an unfamiliar merchant name listed in my transaction history? I don’t remember dining there.

There are several reasons why this might happen. Some restaurants are part of a larger corporation that may have a different name than the restaurant name. And other restaurants may choose to do their card processing under a different company name. If you see a transaction that doesn’t match up with any recent purchases, please follow the procedures in the section below.

What should I do if my Hawaii Restaurant Card or PIN has been lost, stolen, or compromised? Or, if I believe an unauthorized transaction was made with my Hawaii Restaurant Card number?

If your Card is lost, stolen or compromised, it is important that you call Customer Service at 1.800.352.5202 to report your lost or stolen Card immediately. Your Card will be deactivated to prevent anyone from using it and a new replacement Card will be ordered. Fees may apply. Please see your Agreement at HawaiiRestaurantCard.com for additional information.

What happens if I buy a Hawaii Restaurant Card from Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, a family member or friend? (Updated October 27, 2020)

The Hawaii Restaurant Card is non-transferable and if you allow another person to use your Card, you will be responsible under this Agreement for all transactions made by that person. The Hawaii Restaurant Card will be defunded and deactivated upon evidence that the cardholder is trying to transfer the Hawaii Restaurant Card to another individual.

Hawaii Restaurant Card Fees

Are there any user fees associated with my Hawaii Restaurant Card?

There are no fees for using the Hawaii Restaurant Card for purchases at restaurants in the state of Hawaii. Please see the fee table under the Expiration and Fees section of the Agreement found at HawaiiRestaurantCard.com for more information.

Issuing Bank

What financial institution issues the Hawaii Restaurant Card?

The Hawaii Restaurant Card is issued by MetaBank®, N.A., Member FDIC. The Loyalty Reloadable Prepaid Card Cardholder Agreement (Agreement) found online at HawaiiRestaurantCard.com applies to your use of the Hawaii Restaurant Card.

Restaurant FAQs

Can the Hawaii Restaurant Card be at any restaurant in Hawaii?

The Hawaii Restaurant Card can be used for all food service purchases at restaurants in Hawaii that accept debit Mastercard.

Can the Hawaii Restaurant Card be used for alcoholic beverage purchases?

No. The Hawaii Restaurant Card is intended for restaurant food and non-alcoholic beverage purchases only. If wine, beer or spirits are ordered with a meal, a separate check for alcoholic beverages must be provided to customers who will have to pay with their own funds.

Are restaurants required to get prior approval from the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (“DBEDT”) to offer specials or promotions to Hawaii Restaurant Card patrons?

No. The State encourages all restaurants to creatively promote your eating establishment to attract Hawaii Restaurant Card recipients and others to your place of business.

Can the Hawaii Restaurant Card be used for both takeout and sit-down dining?

Yes, the Hawaii Restaurant Card for all food service purchases at restaurants in Hawaii.

Can cardholders use the Hawaii Restaurant Card to order online?

That will depend on the restaurant’s online ordering system. Some restaurant online systems are out-of-state or third-party platforms that may not be accepted by the Hawaii Restaurant Card billing system. If your online platform has problems, customers may have to order by phone or in person.

Can the Hawaii Restaurant Card be used to purchase gift cards?

No. The Hawaii Restaurant Card can only be used to purchase food and non-alcoholic beverages at restaurants and fast food establishments.

Can tips or gratuities be left using the Hawaii Restaurant Card?

Yes. A Hawaii Restaurant Cardholder may leave tips or gratuities when making purchases at restaurants using the Hawaii Restaurant Card.

How can restaurants be sure the Hawaii Restaurant Card being used for approved purchases has enough funds? (Updated October 27, 2020)

We recommend asking the cardholder to have a second form of payment available that is accepted by the restaurant to potentially cover the difference and process the transaction as a split payment. Examples of payment options include cash, check, debit card or credit card.

What if cardholders want to pay for their purchase with a Hawaii Restaurant Card but don’t have a PIN? (Updated October 27, 2020)

At the time of purchase, present the Hawaii Restaurant Card or swipe the Hawaii Restaurant Card through the keypad and select “credit” to complete a signature purchase transaction.

How can restaurants and food trucks become eligible to participate? Must they apply and/or be approved?

No application or approval is required. The Hawaii Restaurant Card may be used at restaurants, bakeries and food caterers, fast food establishment located in Hawaii that accepts Debit Mastercard and process under MCC codes 5462, 5811, 5812 and 5814.

How can restaurants prevent fraud when accepting the Hawaii Restaurant Card?

We recommend Hawaii restaurants, food establishments and eateries who receive the Hawaii Restaurant Card as a form of payment for qualified food and non-alcoholic beverage purchases, ask for the cardholder’s identification to verify the Card belongs to the individual paying. 

General FAQs

I don’t qualify for Unemployment Insurance benefits, however, I qualify for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. Why am I not getting a Hawaii Restaurant Card? (Updated October 27, 2020)

The federal government’s CARES Act created a separate Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (“PUA”) program that extends eligibility to individuals who normally do not qualify for traditional unemployment benefits. This new program is not administered within the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations existing processing system. Thanks to additional funding provided by the Governor, DBEDT will be able to provide Hawaii Restaurant Cards to eligible PUA claimants, based on the same eligibility criteria as UI claimants. More information will be provided at HawaiiRestaurantCard.com when the Hawaii Restaurant Cards are produced and ready to be distributed.

Why are Unemployment Insurance beneficiaries receiving this benefit?

The Hawaii Restaurant Card program was developed to stimulate our local economy, by directly and efficiently helping our highly-impacted food service industry. Distributing Hawaii Restaurant Card to qualified UI recipients was selected as an effective means to put this effort to work quickly and effectively, in accordance to CARES funding guidelines.

Can the Hawaii Restaurant Card be used for meals after December 15 (as an example, to pre-order a holiday meal)?

No. All transactions should be fully completed by midnight, December 15th.

Can the Hawaii Restaurant Card be used to purchase gift cards?

No. The card can only be used to purchase food and non-alcoholic beverages at restaurants and fast food establishments.

Can be tips or gratuities be left using the Hawaii Restaurant Card?

The Hawaii Restaurant Card may be “preauthorized” for an amount greater than the transaction amount to cover the tip or gratuity. If you don’t have enough money on your Hawaii Restaurant Card to cover the preauthorized amount, your transaction may be rejected. Any preauthorized amount will place a “hold” on your available funds until the merchant sends us the final payment amount of your purchase. Once the final payment amount is received, the preauthorized amount on hold will be removed. During this time, you will not have access to preauthorized amounts. If you authorize a transaction and then fail to make a purchase of that item as planned, the approval may result in a hold for that amount of funds.

Why are only restaurants benefiting from this program?

The Hawaii Restaurant Card program doesn’t just benefit restaurants. It also benefits the state’s entire local food supply chain, including farmers, fishermen, ranchers, producers and distributors. This entire industry has been one of the hardest hit by COVID-19. Most of these businesses are locally owned or operated, so the multiplier effect of this stimulus will be felt across Hawaii’s economy.

1Certain service fees may be associated with the use of the Hawaii Restaurant Card. Please see your Agreement on HawaiiRestaurantCard.com for more information.