The clock is winding down, the Department of Treasury will be switching to an all electronic form of payment.

The Go Direct Campaign from the Department of Treasury is letting recipients of Social Security payments know that they have until March 1st 2013 to switch to an electronic form of payment before it all converts automatically.

The two options available are the traditional direct deposit where money is deposited into a savings or checking account automatically, however there is also an option for anyone who doesn’t posses or doesn’t want to use a bank account.

”We’ve developed something called the Direct Express Prepaid debit card” explains Walt Henderson director of the campaign. “It’s designed specifically for the unbanked federal benefit recipients. It works just like a debit card that you or I might have.”

He notes that you can use it at all retailers that accept electronic payment as well as at the ATM to get cash, adding that there is no monthly fees and there are very few fees associated with it.

Henderson says that while 90% benefit recipients already use some kind of electronic payment, Go Direct focuses on the remaining seven million check recipients.

“We want people to understand how electronic payments work, how direct deposit works and make the choice that’s right for them.”

Henderson says a call center has been established 1800 333 1795, as well as a dedicated website to answer any questions at

In addition to the convenience factor, Henderson says there is a large financial benefit for the Social Security system if people switch over.

“We’re estimating that it’s up to a billion dollars over a ten year time period of savings if all of the checks were switched over to direct deposit.”

He says in New Jersey 164,000 paper checks are mailed out each month. If those were switched he says it would save $1.8 million dollars a year.

All electronic deposits would arrive at the begging of business day on the same day traditional paper checks arrive in the mail.