Without a bank account, individuals and families face challenges in managing their day-to-day lives, which carry a significant socio-economic cost. First among these challenges is accessing their wages or benefits, which generally means converting a check, via a check casher, into cash, often at a significant price.
With cash as the only means of payment, making purchases or paying rent and utility bills is far from easy. It generally requires payments to be be made in-person, which takes time away from work and family. It also rules out the use of convenient online or telephone payments that many others take for granted. Cash also makes budgeting and money-management difficult, and is especially susceptible to loss or theft.
This cash-based existence was the norm for many Direct Express® beneficiaries, 70 percent of whom have no bank account (according to a 2018 survey). Moving beneficiaries from paper checks to Direct Express® addressed these challenges instantly, leaving room for continued innovation that would enhance the utility and experience for cardholders.
Enhancements to the card’s core utility have included the development and fielding of the popular PayPerks financial capability program, and the creation of a smartphone app.
Direct Express® Smartphone APP
In Spring 2020, a new version of the Mobile App was made available to new cardholders. The new Direct Express® Mobile App is compatible with new cards (identified by numbers beginning with 5115). The original app, which has a loyal following, will continue to be supported for beneficiaries who have been in the Direct Express® program longer (identified by numbers beginning with 5332).
Click the icon to get the ORIGINAL Apple® or Android® version of the Direct Express® App (card numbers beginning 5332)
Click the icon to get the NEW Apple® or Android® version of the Direct Express® App (card numbers beginning 5115)
Cardholder Need and Direct Express® Feature
A Growing Program
|Agency||Payment Type Description|
|Social Security Administration||Social Security|
|Social Security Administration||Supplemental Security Income|
|Railroad Retirement Board||Railroad Retirement/Annuity|
|Railroad Retirement Board||Railroad Unemployment/Sickness|
|Office of Personnel Management||Civil Service Retirement/Annuity|
|Office of Personnel Management||Civil Service Survivor/Annuity|
|Department of Labor||Black Lung|
|Department of Labor||Federal Employee Workers Comp|
|Department of Labor||Long Shore and Harbor Workers Comp|
|Department of Labor||Energy|
|Coast Guard||US Coast Guard|
|Department of Defense||Defense Finance & Accounting (DFAS) Annuitant Pay|
|Department of Defense||DFAS Retired Military Pay|
|Department of Defense||DFAS Former Spouse Pay|
|Department of Veterans Affairs||Veterans Compensation and Pension|
|Department of Veterans Affairs||Veterans Education MGIB|
|Department of Veterans Affairs||Veterans Education/Selected Reserve|
|Department of Veterans Affairs||Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment|
|Department of Veterans Affairs||Chapter 33 - VA EDU Post 9/11 GI Bill|
|Department of Veterans Affairs||Chapter 35 - VA DEP EDUC ASST - Dependents Education Assistance Program|
|Department of Veterans Affairs||Chapter 1607 - VA EDUCTN REAP - Reserve Education Assistance|
|Department of Veterans Health Administration||Veterans Health Administration Beneficiary Travel|
|Department of Veterans Health Administration||Compensated Work Therapy|
|Department of Veterans Health Administration||Veterans Medical Research|
- Expansion of cash-back access
- Incorporation of PayPerks “FoodSmarts” program, which learning how to shop smarter, use nutrition information to make healthier choices and cook delicious, affordable meals
- Usage rewards