Direct Express & Prepaid Cards
|A growing number of older adults receive their wages, Social Security, or other income on prepaid cards. Government agencies are eliminating paper checks, and the cards are sold in drug stores and by AARP.
For persons with a bank account, direct deposit to your own account is usually the best choice. Some banks and credit unions still offer checking accounts for free. Just don’t opt for overdraft “coverage”; that means fees!
For older adults without a bank account, a prepaid card can be safer, faster, more convenient, and cheaper than cashing a paper check. The Direct Express Card, which is used for payment of Social Security and other federal benefits, has minimal fees, as does the AARP card.
With any prepaid card, make sure that you understand all of the fees and how to avoid them. Getting cash back from a purchase or using network ATMs are helpful faetures. It is also important to review your statements (online or request paper statements). As with a bank account, look for unauthorized charges or unwanted fees.
Stay away from any card that has overdraft fees or a loan feature. That can tempt you to spend more money than you have and add a big pile of fees to your monthly bills.
To learn more about the Direct Express Card go to