Yesterday, I visited the U.S. Electronic Payment Solution Center to meet the friendly agents who answer calls from benefit recipients and help them make a quick and easy transition to electronic payments. While there, I hopped on the phone myself and I had the pleasure of speaking directly with a woman who had just switched her federal benefit payments from paper checks to direct deposit. During our conversation, I congratulated her on choosing a safer and more efficient way to receive these payments and thanked her for saving taxpayers' money.
Back in December 2010, Treasury announced that it is doing away with paper checks and moving to all-electronic federal benefit payments, a change that will save taxpayers $1 billion over the next 10 years. But cost savings aren't the only advantage – with electronic payments, there's no risk of lost or stolen checks, so people can count on getting their money on time each month.
While more and more people are discovering the benefits of electronic payments, about eight and a half million paper federal benefit checks are still printed and mailed each month. People who get checks have until March 1, 2013, to make the switch, but there's no need to wait for the deadline.
It's really easy to switch now. Sign up for direct deposit or Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® card at any time through Treasury's Go Direct® website at www.GoDirect.org. If you prefer to talk to a live person, you can call one of my new friends at the U.S. Treasury Electronic Payment Solution Center at (800) 333-1795 Monday – Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.
For more information, visit www.GoDirect.org.
Rosie Rios is Treasurer of the United States.