Nearly all senior citizens and others who receive monthly Social Security benefits on government-issued debit cards are satisfied with their cards and would recommend them to other seniors who are still receiving paper checks, a new survey has found.
The Treasury Department has been issuing the prepaid cards since 2008 primarily to give recipients easier access to their Social Security funds. The MasterCard-branded cards have been issued to more than 3 million Americans, two-thirds of whom did not have access to traditional banking services when they signed up, according to the Treasury.
In a survey conducted in June by KRC Research and commissioned by MasterCard, 95% of recipients who use the cards said they are happy with them and 93% said they would recommend them to others. Also, 97% said that the debit cards are safer than paper checks and 93% said that the card is more convenient than cash for making purchases, the Treasury said Tuesday.
MasterCard commissioned the survey on behalf of the Treasury Department in advance of a March 1 deadline for all federal benefits to be paid electronically. Most of the some 62 million Social Security recipients already have their funds directly deposited into their bank or credit union accounts, but the Treasury still sends out about 6 million paper checks a month.
"We hope that hearing about the extremely high satisfaction with the [card] will encourage check recipients to make the switch to the card or direct deposit as soon as possible," David Lebryk, the commissioner of the Treasury Department's Financial Management Service, said in a news release.