Cashless Society - Social Security 'Debit Cards'
“No bank account? No problem. Now you can have your Social Security benefits loaded directly onto an electronic debit card that works like a gift card from Uncle Sam,” the Washington Post’s Lori Montgomery writes Tuesday.
The card is a move by the Treasury Department to get the 10.5 million who still get paper checks to come into the information age, and use electronic payments. Recipients save money on check-cashing charges, and the government could save as much as $42 million a year.
Adds Montgomery: “The only stumbling block: About 2.1 million Social Security recipients don’t have bank accounts. Neither do about 1.8 million disabled and low-income people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
“The solution: Direct Express cards, managed by Comerica Bank, which allow recipients to carry their benefits on a piece of plastic that can be used like a debit card at any bank, retail outlet or automatic teller machine that accepts MasterCard.
“In a pilot project last year in Illinois, about 3,000 people activated the card. Eighty percent said they were satisfied, with 60 percent reporting that the card saved them money on check-cashing fees. Since then, Treasury has begun slowly advertising the card to all Social Security recipients who receive paper checks, starting in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Inserts are now going out to the Southeastern states, with the rest of the nation to follow by October.”
Source - RawStory - June 10, 2008 - posted at http://www.blacklistednews.com/view.asp?ID=6895