One of the most often asked questions from those receiving government benefits is whether to select the direct express card option or get their benefit payment direct deposited into their bank checking or savings account. If you are not sure why this question is important, here is some background. The US Treasury Department, which is in charge of sending benefit checks to eligible recipients – like Social Security and Veterans Affairs Benefits, made a rule recently that required all federal benefit payments to be sent via electronic payments starting in March 2013. This was done for obvious reasons – to save money on postage and mailing and reduce the incidence of checks being lost in the mail.
As a benefits recipient, you have two options to comply with this directive. You can either select to have your payments deposited into a Direct Express Debit Card account – or you can have your payment sent via direct deposited into your checking or savings account with your local bank or credit union. If you are receiving check payments and do not select an option, you will automatically be enrolled in the direct express program and your payment will be sent to a direct express credit card which you must then sign up for an account to be able to get your money. Therefore, if you do not want the government choosing how you should receive your benefits check, then you have to select one of the two options provided. The Direct Express card program is very well run by Comerica bank with less fees and great customer service.
Based on how the program has run thus far, one can say that adding this as an option to the traditional checking account has been a success for seniors. And since the program is not laden with tons of fees and charges, it almost runs as a debit card, which is what you would want in a program that is targeted at people on fix income who cannot be burdened with unnecessary fees and charges.