Tuesday, May 17, 2011
As part of its phase-out of government paper check payments over the next two years, the U.S. Department of Treasury is including veterans and railroad retirees in its move to electronic payments via direct deposit and Direct Express prepaid cards. Until now, the Treasury's electronic payment initiative was only officially targeted toward recipients of Social Security benefits payments.
The direct deposit option is branded Go Direct. The Direct Express prepaid cards are MasterCard Worldwide-branded, issued by Comerica Bank and processed by Xerox Corp. subsidiary Affiliated Computer Services Inc. The Treasury began contacting new beneficiaries May 1, and all beneficiaries are expected to be receiving benefits electronically by March 1, 2013.
The prepaid cards can only be used to receive government benefits. Recipients are not charged activation, deposit, cash-back, balance enquiry, declined transaction or overdraft fees. The Treasury said the Direct Express prepaid cards offers the unbanked a safe and reliable alternative banking solution, provides 24/7 access to funds via ATMs, allows cardholders to make brick-and-mortar, online and MO/TO purchases wherever the MasterCard brand is accepted, and eliminates check cashing fees.
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