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Social Security Payments Moving to Electronic Transfer, Debit Cards

Starting March 1, the US government will stop issuing paper Social Security Checks; an exemption will be made only for beneficiaries born before May of 1921.

The move aims to save taxpayers $1 billion over 10 years, and counter Social Security fraud. More than 5 million beneficiaries who will be affected have already been informed they must enroll in direct deposit or for a Direct Express debit card by March 1, according to a press release.

While it may be difficult and scary for some individuals to make this change, there are many benefits to choosing either direct deposit or the government issued debit card.

Local banks are also stepping up to help beneficiaries make the transition.

“Wells Fargo has a long standing commitment to educating consumers on financial matters,” said Evelin Martinez, vice president and general manager Wells Fargo Group. “During this time of change, we want our customers and consumers alike to know their available options. We want to underscore the importance of people keeping on top of their finances to ensure they succeed financially.”

Direct deposit is a free service that electronically deposits recurring income into a person’s checking or savings account. Beneficiaries won’t have to worry about misplacing their paper check ever again.

While the government debit cards are prepaid debit card payment options, no bank account is required for this option. The Direct Express debit card can be used to make purchases, pay bills or withdraw funds from ATMs anywhere Debit MasterCard® is accepted.

Persons who do not choose an electronic payment option by the March 1 deadline will be out of compliance with the law and may receive their payments via the Direct Express® card, according to the press release.

For more information, visit www.GoDirect.org, call the U.S. Treasury Electronic Payment Solution Center’s toll-free number 1-800-333-1795, or talk with a local bank representative.