Your money. Your choice.
If you’re among the millions of people who receive federal benefits by check, change has arrived. As part of the government’s move to electronic payments, checks are being phased out, and as of May 2011, new recipients must elect to receive their federal benefits by direct deposit to a bank account or to a qualified* prepaid card. Current check recipients are being encouraged to switch to electronic payment by March 2013. You can opt to have your benefits loaded onto the prepaid card of your choice, not just the prepaid card option offered by the government. It’s your money, and you’re free to choose how you’d like to receive it.
Go open a new world with Visa Prepaid.
The Visa Prepaid card is a reloadable Visa card** you load with money to use everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. In addition to having direct deposit of your government benefits, you can use your card to shop online and off, pay bills, and more. No credit check or prior bank account is typically needed – simply enroll, set up your direct deposit of benefits like Social Security (SSA), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Veterans Affairs (VA), Railroad Retirement Board, and Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and start using it for payment everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.
Plus, unlike the Direct Express® card from the government, your Visa Prepaid card is not limited to direct deposits of federal benefits; it can be reloaded with funds from other sources, such as a paycheck, state pension, or, other recurring payments. You can also load it using cash in stores or at one of our many ReadyLink locations.
Why Visa Prepaid for federal benefit payments?
Instant access to your money.
Pay your bills online or over the phone, shop online, and more. Use your Visa Prepaid card anywhere Visa debit is accepted. It’s available to everyone.
Payments on time, every time.
With direct deposit, your monthly payment is automatically loaded onto your Visa Prepaid card so you can count on your money to be available when you need it. No more waiting for checks to come in the mail or spending time and money to cash them.
More reload options.
Unlike the Direct Express card, Visa Prepaid cards can be loaded with funds from multiple sources, so you can keep all of your money secure in one place. For example, on the same card with your Social Security benefits, you can direct deposit your salary or pension benefits and load more cash yourself at retail stores.
Peace of Mind.
Visa Prepaid cards are bank-issued cards that are regulated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, among others. They have the same security, reliability and convenience provided by Visa-branded credit cards, and debit cards accessing traditional checking or savings accounts.
Convenience and security.
With a Visa Prepaid card, you won’t have to worry about standing in line at the bank or carrying around cash. Your card is easily replaced if you lose it, and your funds are protected by Visa’s Zero Liability policy.
Getting started is easy.
You can typically get a Visa Prepaid card without a credit check or bank account. Simply choose one of our online issuers or get one at a store near you, including many major grocery and drug stores and check-cashing locations.
How Visa Prepaid direct deposit works
Find the card that’s the right fit for you and the way you manage and use your money. Fees will vary among cards, and not all cards qualify or accept government deposits, so be sure to check the provider’s site for additional details.
Get a card from your card provider’s site, and follow their instructions for activation. Many providers will help you set up direct deposit as part of the activation process.
Set up direct deposit
If you didn’t set up direct deposit of your benefits online when you ordered your card, just contact the federal agency that pays your benefits to do so. The most common numbers to call are:
- 800-772-1213 for SSI or retirement benefits from the Social Security Administration
- 877-838-2778 for pensions from the Department of Veterans Affairs
Use your card anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted in person, online, or over the phone.
* Not all providers allow the loading of government benefits to general-purpose prepaid cards, and not all cards qualify. Prepaid card qualifications as published in the Federal Register / Vol. 75 No. 245 December 22, 2010, pages 80335-80340:
- Card must provide FDIC pass-through deposit or share insurance.
- Card account cannot have an attached line of credit or loan feature.
- Issuer must provide consumer protections applicable to payroll cards under Reg E.
**Certain fees and conditions and limitations may apply. For details, check with your card provider/issuer.