US Debit Card

Background

How does the debit card work?

The US Debit Card is a magnetic-stripe bankcard, used by federal agencies to make federal payments to individuals. Federal agencies may load the card with any amount of value, accounted for in a host system with a database of card serial numbers and associated card balances, and then issue the card to a federal payee. Once issued, the card may be used at automated teller machines (ATM) to make cash withdrawals, or at point-of-sale (POS) terminals to make retail purchases. The card may be a disposable payment mechanism, whereby a fixed amount of value is loaded onto the card, and, once this value is spent, the card is discarded. The card can also be a reloadable payment mechanism if the agency wishes to make multiple payments to the payee.

The US Debit Card may be issued "on-the-spot" to a payee in a federal agency's field office, or out of a central office and mailed to the payee or distributed some other way. All value loaded onto the cards is PIN protected and backed by a commercial bank.

What are some of the uses for the US Debit Card?

  • Temporary payrolls, personal services
  • Stipends, awards, and grants
  • Imprest funds, third-party drafts replacement
  • Overseas access to foreign currency
  • Travel payments to local visitors and international guests

Who is using the card today?

  • TRANServe, Department of Transportation
  • Bureau of the Census, Department of Commerce
  • Wounded Warrior Program, Department of Defense
  • FEMA Corps Department of Homeland Security
  • Forest Service, International Program - Department of Agriculture

* Over 40 additional agencies are using or currently implementing US Debit Card.

   Last Updated:  March 14, 2014