According to today's Wall Street Journal, Dallas-based Comerica will partner with the U.S. Treasury Department on a prepaid debit card for folks receiving Social Security benefits. The purpose of the so-called Direct Express card is to "provide safer and cheaper benefits payments" for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income recipients who don't have a bank account, reports the paper.
The card could mean significant cost savings for benefits recipients as well as the federal government, Treasury officials and banking experts say. People who sign up for the card will also gain faster access to their money and avoid some security problems, like stolen checks.
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Among the drawbacks: The card comes with fees, and letting folks know about the program won't be easy. --Robert Wilonsky