New Direct Express debit card for VA payments

VAntage Point story by Stephanie Mardon

Does anyone use paper checks anymore?  Not many people do, because they are costly, easy to misplace, and too much paper is bad for the environment.

VA is excited to introduce the Direct Express® Debit MasterCard®. Veterans can receive their Beneficiary Travel payments and Compensated Work Therapy (CWT)  payments by enrolling in the Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® program. This card is available to Veterans who don’t have bank accounts or simply prefer their Beneficiary Travel payments on a debit card.

Payments posted are available within 72 hours. Purchases can easily be made anywhere the Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® is accepted. You can get cash at retail locations, banks and credit unions, and ATMs throughout the world.

Providing Veterans easier, faster and safer access to their money is our top priority.” Over 26,000 Veterans are receiving their Beneficiary Travel benefit payments on debit cards.” Electronic processing costs $.10 versus $1.03 for paper checks which also helps fund more services to Veterans.

This sounds exciting and you are probably thinking about whether you can you have direct deposit to your bank account and a debit card.  You need to choose one or the other. But, either way you go, you will get your money a lot faster and it’s very safe and secure.

We’re trying hard to find new ways to serve you better. It’s our way of honoring your service and empowering your health.

Applications for the debit card are available at the Agent Cashier offices at VHA facilities nationwide.  If you have any questions please call our toll free number 1-800-333-1789 or you can visit the website @

Stephanie Mardon is the Acting Chief Business Officer for the Veterans Health Administration.

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