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Thursday, July 19, 2012

U.S. Treasury pushes for Direct Express adoption

The U.S. Department of the Treasury said 95 percent of individuals who receive monthly Social Security payments via MasterCard Worldwide-branded Direct Express prepaid cards are satisfied with the service. Additionally, 93 percent of cardholders would recommend the card to others, according to the KRC Research survey commissioned by MasterCard on behalf of the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Financial Management Service.

The survey was conducted by telephone in June 2012, where 1,211 randomly picked Direct Express cardholders were interviewed. Other findings from the survey show that:

  • 97 percent of cardholders think Direct Express is a safer way to receive benefits than paper checks
  • 93 percent said the cards are more convenient than cash to make purchases
  • 91 percent said the cards make it easier to pay bills
  • 85 percent said the cards help them manage their finances

The Treasury reported that over 3 million benefit recipients are using the Direct Express cards, but that approximately 6 million Social Security payments are still distributed on paper checks every month. With the March 1, 2013, deadline approaching when all federal benefits will be paid electronically, the Treasury is working to convince check recipients why they should switch to Direct Express.

"We hope that hearing about the extremely high satisfaction with the Direct Express card will encourage check recipients to make the switch to the card or direct deposit as soon as possible," said David Lebryk, Commissioner of the Treasury's Financial Management Service.

Transitioning to an entirely electronic benefits payments system would reportedly save the Social Security program $120 million annually for a total savings of $1.2 billion over 10 years. end of article

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