Washington, DC (NAPSI) - Beginning March 1, 2013, the U. S. Treasury will no longer issue paper checks for federal benefits, including Social Security, instead requiring recipients to switch to electronic payments. If beneficiaries do not set up their own electronic direct deposit to a bank account, they will receive their federal benefits on a prepaid card.

To provide older Americans with more choices, AARP Foundation has endorsed a full-featured reloadable prepaid MasterCard® card from Green Dot Corporation designed to serve as a direct deposit option for government benefits and everyday use. Available online or at participating CVS/pharmacy, Rite Aid and Walgreens stores nationwide, the AARP Foundation Prepaid MasterCard from Green Dot can be used everywhere Debit MasterCard is accepted, including to shop online. It does not require a credit check to sign up and never charges overdraft or low balance fees.

There are no monthly service fees as long as the cardholder makes a direct deposit of at least $250 in that month. This amount is well below the average monthly Social Security benefits of $1,200 for a retired worker and $600 for spouses and children. Otherwise, the monthly fee is $5.95.

Services on the card include an interest-bearing savings account, a nationwide ATM network with no withdrawal fees, a free online bill-paying service, and free paper statements upon request. The card and savings account are issued by The Bancorp Bank, Member FDIC, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Bancorp, Inc. The Bancorp Bank; Member FDIC.

“Social Security is a major income source for millions of older Americans,” said Jo Ann Jenkins, president, AARP Foundation. “The AARP Foundation Prepaid MasterCard from Green Dot provides a safe and reliable option to help them manage their finances and protect their benefits.”

“This product is more than just a prepaid card for federal benefit recipients,” said Kostas Sgoutas, Green Dot’s Chief Revenue Officer. “It’s a convenient, low-cost option for older Americans that can also be reloaded with funds from other sources, such as a part-time job, or with cash.”