Unemployment Benefit Recipients in Oregon Seeing Payments on U.S. Bank Prepaid Visa Card Instead of

Tuesday 23 March 2004 17:19 CET | News

U.S. Bank and the Oregon State Employment Department have partnered to provide an innovative payment program that allows the state to disperse unemployment benefit payments on a plastic card versus a paper check.

The prepaid card functions like a debit card though it is not attached to a checking or savings account. Instead of cutting a check and mailing it to the recipient, the state electronically loads the payment on to the card that the recipient can use to make purchases or withdraw cash. The card carries the Visa logo and is accepted at millions of Visa debit locations worldwide. The program is among the first of its kind in the United States. It cuts costs for the state because it no longer has to produce and mail a check or incur other costs associated with a paper check. The card also brings convenience and safety to cardholders who no longer have to find the time and place to cash their checks and pay check cashing fees. U.S. Bank originally entered into a pilot test program with the Oregon State Employment Department in the spring of 2003. With the new ReliaCard Visa program, more than 80,000 recipients have the ability to choose whether they want to receive payments by direct deposit, check or the card. The State of Oregon currently sends 11 percent of unemployment benefit disbursements electronically using direct deposit. Approximately 500 people use the card in Oregon, a number that continues to grow now that the card is available statewide. The program has the potential to benefit all recipients of the more than 300,000 checks that the state issues each month. The card is available free of charge, with the exception of when funds are withdrawn from an ATM or teller, in which case there is a $1.50 fee. If the card is lost or stolen, it is backed by Visas zero liability policy, which means the cardholder is not responsible for unauthorized purchases. U.S. Bank implemented similar programs in Washington, Iowa, Colorado and Minnesota for child support payments and is working with other government agencies to initiate the ReliaCard Visa in more states and in various capacities.

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Categories: Payments & Commerce | Payments General
Countries: World
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Payments & Commerce