Go Direct® Campaign Tops 3 Million Enrollments

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Go Direct® Campaign Tops 3 Million Direct Deposit Enrollments

Washington, D.C. –(August 19, 2009) The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Management Service announced today that its Go Direct campaign has achieved more than 3 million enrollments in direct deposit since its national launch in 2005 – bringing increased safety and convenience to millions of senior citizens, people with disabilities and other federal benefit recipients while providing important cost-savings to American taxpayers.

“This milestone represents the progress made by the Go Direct campaign and its more than 1,400 community partners – helping millions of Americans choose a safer, easier alternative to paper checks for their monthly benefit payments,” said David A. Lebryk, Commissioner of Treasury’s Financial Management Service (FMS). “By switching to direct deposit, people who receive Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and other federal benefits eliminate the risk of lost or stolen checks, and gain more control over their money.”

The Go Direct campaign, sponsored by Treasury and the Federal Reserve Banks, encourages Social Security and other federal benefit recipients to switch to direct deposit. It reaches out to federal benefit recipients through people and organizations they know and trust – such as financial institutions and community-based organizations. The campaign makes it easy for Americans to switch to direct deposit of their Social Security either over the phone or online.

Direct deposit is safer than paper checks

According to new FMS research, concerns about financial crimes are widespread among Americans, with 45 percent saying they have been a victim of identity theft or know someone who has. Last year alone, an estimated $64 million in Treasury-issued checks – including Social Security payments – were fraudulently endorsed. Direct deposit eliminates the risk of stolen checks and forged signatures, and helps protect people from identity theft.

Direct deposit saves taxpayer dollars

In addition to being safer and easier than paper checks, direct deposit saves taxpayer dollars. It costs 93 cents more to issue a federal benefit check than a direct deposit. In fact, if everyone who receives Social Security and other federal benefit checks switched to direct deposit, annual savings would total more than $130 million – the vast majority of that money would be available for future Social Security payments.

Signing up for direct deposit is easy

Americans can easily sign up for direct deposit of their Social Security or other federal benefits for free by calling Treasury’s Go Direct campaign helpline at (800) 333-1795, going to www.GoDirect.org, or visiting their local bank or credit union. Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefit recipients without a bank account can now choose to sign up for the Treasury-recommended Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® card by calling toll-free 1-877-212-9991, visiting www.USDirectExpress.com or talking to their local Social Security office.

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About Go Direct: Go Direct® is a national campaign sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Banks to motivate people who get Social Security and other federal benefits by check to switch to direct deposit.
 
About the Direct Express® card: The Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® card is a prepaid debit card for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. Cardholders can make purchases, pay bills, and get cash at thousands of locations nationwide. Sign-up is free and no bank account is required. Most services are free. There are fees for a limited number of optional transactions and services.
 
The Go Direct® logo, Direct Express® logo, and Direct Express® are 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.