The U.S. Department of the Treasury is expanding promotion of its Direct Express prepaid debit card to 13 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and Washington, D.C., this month. The bureau began promoting the cards earlier this year and intends to complete marketing to all states this fall. Residents who receive checks for their federal-benefits funds in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C., will receive marketing inserts about the Direct Express card with their checks this month. The bureau in April began marketing the card to check recipients in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, each of which has a large number of residents who receive benefit checks. In June, it began promoting the debit card in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina, which have a relatively high risk of weather-related disasters, says Judith Tillman, Financial Management Service commissioner. "We are doing the remaining 40 states and territories at eight to 12 states per month, depending on state size," she says. The MasterCard-branded debit card, which Dallas-based Comerica Bank issues, is available to any federal-benefits recipient who requests it, but "we are staggering the marketing in order to ensure a manageable process," says Tillman (CardLine, 6/10).

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