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Electronic Transfer Accounts (ETAs)
Electronic Transfer Accounts (ETAs) could be the solution to your problem. If you receive any money from the federal goverment, whether it is a paycheck, Social Security or any other federal benefits or retirement, then you are eligible for an ETA.
- Visit (provided by the U.S. Treasury) to find a bank or credit union near you that offers the ETA account.
- An ETA is a low cost account (capped at $3 per month, or less) and works about the same as an ATM-only account with the bank.
- Your government funds are deposited by direct deposit. Some banks will allow you to deposit your own funds also, but others will allow only the government funds as deposits. (Let us know which do not allow you to deposit your own funds so we can provide a list them here on this page.)
- You can withdraw funds using the ATM card which comes with your ETA account and you are allowed four free withdrawals per month and four free balance inquiries also!
- The ETA card can be used as an ATM/debit card for making purchases at merchants using an on-line point-of-sale (POS) network. (includes most grocery stores, service stations, and the bigger retailers such as Wal-Mart.) One nice benefit of this is that at most of these retail locations (and at all U.S. Post Offices), you may withdraw an amount higher than your purchase and receive cash back when using an ETA.
- There is no minimum balance for ETAs.
- The bank may allow you to utilize third party bill-pay services against the account, such as The money is transferred using ACH debits which you authorize.
- The bank receives a small subsidy from the government for each ETA it opens.
- The bank cannot refuse an applicant based on any information from a credit report or from ChexSystems (except specifically for fraud on an ETA that was reported to ChexSystems.)

Here is the murky part:
Millions of people get disability or retirement benefits, so the banks probably won't be verifying that each applicant actually receives federal funds. This opens a hole that perhaps everyone can take advantage of. In a way, there might be no deception ..., eventually EVERYONE qualifies for federal benefits. Is there harm in opening the account a bit early?

Also, some banks only allow direct deposit into ETAs, while others will allow manual deposits and withdrawals. So make sure this will still work for you before applying.

Please let us know how well this technique works for you. Post your experience on the website and we will respond there.


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