Global Trade

The Treasury Department is phasing out paper check payments and requiring federal benefit recipients to get their money electronically. The deadline is March 1, 2013.

People can sign up for direct deposit to a bank or credit union account or they could opt to have money deposited electronically via the U.S. Government issued Direct Express Debit MasterCard. One free ATM withdrawal is allowed each month on the Direct Express Debit MasterCard. Additional ATM withdrawals are 90 cents.

For example, retirees who sign up for Social Security benefits must use direct deposit or receive Social Security benefits via the debit card. For those without a checking or savings account, the Direct Express Debit is a reasonable alternative.

A "Go Direct" electronic payment center can help people make the switch. The phone number is (800) 333-1795 or you can go to their website.