As spring temperatures rise, so does the potential for severe weather. In fact, many parts of the country have already experienced tornadoes, flooding and other extreme weather events. For your customers who rely on paper checks for their federal benefit payments, severe weather can cause mail delivery disruptions or evacuations that leave them without their money at a time when they need it most.
This spring, encourage your financial institution’s frontline staff to promote the benefits of direct deposit by highlighting the reliability of direct deposit in severe weather as a way to motivate people cashing or depositing federal benefit checks to switch to direct deposit. Additionally, customers may be relieved to know that direct deposit eliminates the risk of stolen checks, helps protect people from financial crimes and provides them with more control over their money since payments can be accessed immediately and from virtually anywhere.
Ensuring that senior citizens, people with disabilities and other federal benefit recipients receive their money in the most reliable way possible is just one of the reasons why the U.S. Department of the Treasury is requiring people to switch from paper checks to electronic payments by March 1, 2013.
As the deadline to switch to electronic payment approaches, it is more important than ever for your financial institution to ensure that all of your customers switch to direct deposit for their federal benefit payments. A rule published by the Treasury Department in December 2010 states that those who do not switch by March 1, 2013, will receive their payments via the Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® card, so they will not experience any interruption in payment.
Tellers and bankers can help customers switch to electronic payment on the spot using your financial institution’s enrollment methods or through the Go Direct® online enrollment system (Off-site Link). For customers not ready to make the switch, urge them to sign up at www.GoDirect.org (Off-site Link) or call the U.S. Treasury Electronic Payment Solution Center at (800) 333-1795. When your financial institution takes these simple steps, not only are you helping customers protect their money, you are helping improve customer service and simplify the automated clearing house (ACH) enrollment process at the same time.
The Treasury Department’s Go Direct campaign provides information and free materials for educating Americans about the electronic federal benefit payments requirement and the advantages of direct deposit over paper checks. Here is how your financial institution can get involved:
For more information about promoting direct deposit for federal benefit payments or to order free materials, visit www.GoDirect.org (Off-site Link).
The Go Direct®campaign is sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and Federal Reserve Banks. The Go Direct®and Direct Express®logos, Go Direct®and Direct Express®are registered service marks of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Financial Management Service (used with permission). The Direct Express®Debit MasterCard® card is issued by Comerica Bank, pursuant to a license by MasterCard International Incorporated. MasterCard® and the MasterCard® Brand Mark are registered trademarks of MasterCard International Incorporated.
Address comments and questions to the Financial Services Webmaster.
©2013 Federal Reserve Banks