Go Direct Debuts Today

Go Direct card

Paper checks are slowly being phased out of common use in the new digital economy. Beginning today, that incremental move toward electronic conversion takes giant a leap forward.

Go Direct is a federal program that mandates the conversion of all paper checks issued for Social Security, Veterans Affairs, Office of Personnel Management, Department of Labor, and other federal benefits into an electronic form. Anyone currently receiving direct deposit for their federal payments will continue with business as usual. For those who have yet to sign up for electronic payments, that previously optional switch is no longer an option.

Individuals that have not opted for electronic payment will receive a debit card in the mail that can be used to access all future federal payments. Individuals receiving the card do not have to open a new bank account to use it and there are no monthly maintenance fees.

Complimentary features of the debit card include one free replacement card per year, one free ATM cash withdrawal for each deposit made into the account each month, and cash back with purchases. Additional options available for purchase include a mailed monthly paper statement for .75 cents, transferring funds from the card to a personal bank account for $1.50, and a .90 cent charge for each cash withdrawal after the first free one.

The switch to the all-digital payment method is expected to save taxpayers an estimated $120 million in annual printing and mailing costs.

For more information about the Go Direct program, go to http://www.godirect.org.

What do you think about the elimination of paper checks?



  1. Grannybunny

     /  March 1, 2013

    Besides being bad for USPS, the elimination of paper checks can be problematic for unbanked recipients of the Benefeds debit cards. My friend has one for his Social Security Disability benefits. One of the benefits of the cards — over paper checks — is supposed to be that unbanked recipients don’t have to access all the money at once (as they would when cashing a check) and run the risk of losing it, being robbed, etc. However, since there is a fee for withdrawals after the first one, the recipients end up initially trying to withdraw as much as possible — to avoid the fees — but sometimes cannot, due to bank limits on ATM withdrawals/ATMs being out of service (or out of money), etc. Unlike with regular debit cards, the Benefeds users cannot access account information online, but only by telephone, a problem for deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals. Nor can they make deposits into the accounts.

  2. Anonymous

     /  March 3, 2013

    Get DD… otherwise pay fees. The Feds finally smartening up in this area.
    Yes bad for the PS but just how many monthly checks are they really delivering now ?

  3. Jonn

     /  March 5, 2013

    Wow, only 1 withdrawal per month without charging fees? I guess they’re really trying to encourage people to switch to direct deposit. The card seems too restrictive. Are there any plans to eliminate paper checks at the postal service?

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