Federal Prepaid Debit Card Program

According to the 2017 FDIC National Survey, 25 percent of U.S. households are unbanked or underbanked.1 This is due in part to 30 percent saying they do not trust banks and 9 percent reporting that banks are inconveniently located, like in the rural South where community banks have been in decline for decades. Americans impacted by COVID-19, through no fault of their own, have been counting on receiving a federal stimulus payment in response to COVID-19. But what about those millions who have not filed taxes in either of the last two years and may be left out? While the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has launched a tool to get payments out for those who filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019, and another for those who did not have to file in either year because their incomes were too low, the Department of Treasury should use Direct Express™ federal prepaid debit cards to ensure everyone has access to this critical federal benefit. Delays in the delivery of mailed stimulus checks have resulted in dire consequences for millions. Those in need cannot afford delays in subsequent rounds of payments. Direct Express™ was designed to deliver Social Security and veterans benefits to the unbanked and underbanked and should be employed to increase delivery of stimulus payments during this economic crisis.2