Federal Government Expands Prepaid Programs

Federal Direct Deposit PrepaidThe Treasury Department today issued a rule further promoting the use of prepaid cards and direct deposit for recipients of Federal benefits, including Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Veterans Affairs, Railroad Retirement Board, Office of Personnel Management benefits and other non-tax payments. Recipients who do not have bank accounts which can receive direct deposit will receive a Direct Express prepaid debit card account issued by Comerica Bank.
The direct deposit of Federal benefits program is referred to as GoDirect (and details can be found at the GoDirect website). The Treasury Department issued rules requiring that all recipients of Federal benefits use direct deposit to receive their benefits. Anyone applying for benefits on or after May 1, 2011, will receive their payments electronically, while those already receiving paper checks will need to switch to direct deposit by March 1, 2013.

If a beneficiary does not have a bank or credit union account, they will either need to set up a new account, or use the account promoted by the Treasury Department: the Direct Express card, which is issued by Comerica Bank.

The Direct Express Prepaid Card includes the following features:

  • Cardholders can make purchases, pay bills, and get cash at thousands of locations nationwide.
  • Cardholders have access to one free cash withdrawal with each deposit to the Direct Express card account. For cash withdrawals at ATMs outside the Direct Express ATM network, the ATM owner may charge a surcharge fee.
  • No bank account or credit check is required.
  • The card accounts are FDIC-insured up to the maximum amount allowed by law.
  • There are no sign-up fees, monthly fees or overdraft charges. Some fees for optional services may apply.
  • Money is immediately available on payment day.

To sign up for the card, or to learn more about its features and fees, individuals can visit www.GoDirect.org, call 1-800-333-1795 or ask their local Social Security, VA, or other federal benefit agency office.

The Go Direct® campaign is sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Banks. The Direct Express® logo, Go Direct® and Direct Express® are registered service marks, and the Go Direct(sm) logo is a service mark, of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Financial Management Service. The Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® card is issued by Comerica Bank, pursuant to a license by MasterCard International Incorporated. MasterCard® and the MasterCard® Brand Mark are registered trademarks of MasterCard International Incorporated.

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