In this post, we give you step by step instructions on how to open an ETA Bank Account. Electronic Transfer Account (ETA) is a low-cost, federally insured account designed for people who receive federal payments but don’t already have or may not qualify for a checking or savings account. As you may be aware, since March 1, 2013, Congress now requires that all federal benefit payments be made via direct deposit. If you are a recipients of one of the following federal benefits program, you have to get your payments electronically.
• Social Security
• Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
• Veterans Benefits
• Civil Service Payments
• Railroad Retirement Payments
• Military Retirement Payments
• Federal Salary and Wage Payments
You have FOUR ways to receive your federal benefits electronically:
1. Through a savings or checking account with a bank or credit union
2. Through the Direct Express Debit Card
3. Through an ETA Account
4. Through a Benefit Security Card (if you live in a participating state)
Should I open an ETA Account?
If you are still receiving paper checks for your benefits payment, you should consider switching to an ETA account if you want an affordable way to get your benefit payment. You will not only save money and time you spend every month cashing checks, but you can rest assured that with an ETA Direct Deposit, your federal benefits payment will arrive on time, every time. Also, you will avoid the chance of your check getting lost in the mail or stolen. Here is an interesting fact: In the 35-year history of Direct Deposit, no payments have been lost. Direct Deposit helps eliminate check fraud, which is an extra problem you don’t need.
Features of an ETA Account
• Funds are Federally Insured
• No Minimum Balance
• Automatic Deposit
• Deposit other money
• 4 free withdrawals
• 4 free balance checks
• $3 or less a month service charge
• Monthly statement
• ATM card or Debit card
• Checkless checking account (You will not be given a checkbook and you cannot write a check from an ETA account).
NOTE: Some ETA Providers may charge other account-related fees. You’ll be told about them before you sign up for your ETA.
How to Open an ETA Account
As mentioned earlier, this post will focus on how you can open an ETA account. There are three steps you must take to open an ETA account and start receiving your benefit payment. Here is what you need to do:
Step 1 – Find a Participating Bank
The first step in opening an ETA account is to choose an ETA bank. However, not all banks or credit unions offer ETA accounts. You have to find a bank or credit union that participates in the ETA program. Click here to see our list of participating banks and credit unions by state. Just find your state and you will see the list of banks to choose from.
Step 2 – Open an ETA Account with the Bank
Once you’ve selected the bank you want to use, the next stop is to open an account. If your state does not have a participating bank, you can open an account with Metabank, which is a national bank that offers ETA accounts in all 50 states.
To open an ETA account, you will need the following information:
• Social Security number or claim number
• Name and Address
• Date of Birth
• Phone number
• Award letter or check
Step 3. Sign up for Direct Deposit with Your ETA Bank Account
Once the account is set up, ask your ETA bank to also set up direct deposit for your federal benefits. If the ETA bank you opened the account with does not set you up with direct deposit for your federal benefit, then call the Go Direct helpline at 1-800-333-1795 to set up direct deposit over the phone. You will need the following information when you call the Go Direct helpline:
• The provider’s nine digit routing number
• Your new ETA account number
• Your 12 digit federal check number or your benefit claim number
• Your social security number
• The payment amount of your most recent federal benefit check
That’s it. Once you go through these steps successfully, you are ready to receive your federal benefits electronically via an ETA Bank account.
We hope this article has been helpful. If you have any questions or comments, we would like to hear from you in our comments section below.