Rollout provides millions of Federal benefit recipients with access to PayPerks’ financial education platform

Comerica Bank and MasterCard, in partnership with the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury), today announced that Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® cardholders will soon have access to a customized version of PayPerks: a financial education platform that rewards users for engaging with its web- and mobile-based financial literacy curriculum. This is the first implementation of PayPerks as an optional feature on MasterCard’s federal, state and local government prepaid programs, originally announced at the White House Summit on Financial Capability and Empowerment.

The PayPerks curriculum consists of dozens of illustrated tutorials on financial literacy topics ranging from how to create a budget to how to start saving. To ensure Direct Express® cardholders receive relevant, actionable, and engaging content, PayPerks has created dozens of educational modules specific to helping Direct Express® cardholders minimize fees and maximize the safety and convenience benefits of their MasterCard-branded prepaid debit card. The modules are designed to take only a few minutes apiece to complete, and are subtitled, in multiple languages, in understandable and straightforward language.

The addition of PayPerks to the Direct Express® card program represents an innovative effort to help Treasury ease the transition from paper checks to electronic payments. Introduced in June 2008, the Direct Express® card has helped more than 3 million Americans – two-thirds of whom did not have traditional bank accounts when they signed up for the card – to safely and easily access their federal benefit payments electronically. However, approximately 5.2 million paper checks are still sent to federal benefit recipients each month. Treasury is urging these individuals to switch to electronic payment well ahead of the March 1, 2013, the deadline for all federal benefits to be paid electronically.

“Cardholders equipped with information on how best to use their card benefit not only themselves but also the overall program,” said Walt Henderson, Director, EFT Strategy Division at Department of the Treasury. “We believe the PayPerks approach can educate and encourage cardholders to understand the benefits of the card and the best ways to use it.

The PayPerks platform has been undergoing rigorous user testing and will remain in a closed beta until early Q1-2013 when all Direct Express cardholders will gain access to the platform. Cardholders will be educated on the PayPerks program through direct mail, statement inserts, and customer service representatives.

“We’re excited to be able to provide targeted financial education to such a wide and diverse audience,” said Nora Arpin, Director of Government Electronic Solutions for Comerica Bank, the issuer of the Direct Express® card. “Financial literacy is a key initiative of Comerica Bank so the partnership with PayPerks fits well with our efforts to improve peoples’ lives in this meaningful way.

The Direct Express® card is the first Public Sector prepaid card to launch with PayPerks. The roll-out is a key element of MasterCard’s partnership with the Manhattan-based startup. “This is another way we’re working with our partners to drive financial inclusion around the world,” said Andrew Gillen, Vice President at MasterCard. “With the Direct Express® card, millions of Americans now own a powerful financial tool. Our goal now is to help them understand how to get the greatest benefit from it.”

About PayPerks: PayPerks is a financial educational rewards platform for the unbanked and underbanked. Its patent-pending rewards model fuses education with sweepstakes-based incentives in order to fuel behavior changes that are positive for consumers and profitable for financial service providers. Through PayPerks, card providers can curate a customized educational curriculum for their current and potential cardholders. Additionally, they can choose to award usage points for behaviors such as lowering their check cashing fees, linking their card to direct deposit or accumulating a rainy day fund in a prepaid account. Each point earned on PayPerks is automatically converted into the chance to win a cash prize. PayPerks gives away dozens of cash prizes each month. PayPerks is a privately owned for profit social venture based in Manhattan, NY. More information can be found at Follow us on Twitter @PayPerksB2B.

About MasterCard Worldwide: MasterCard (NYSE: MA),, is a global payments and technology company. It operates the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the conversation on Cashless Conversations Blog and subscribe for the latest news.

About Comerica: Comerica Bank is a subsidiary of Comerica Incorporated (NYSE: CMA), a financial services company strategically aligned by three business segments: The Business Bank, The Retail Bank, and Wealth Management. Comerica focuses on relationships, and helping people and businesses be successful. Comerica locations can be found in its headquarters state of Texas, as well as in Arizona, California, Florida and Michigan, with select businesses operating in several other states, as well as in Canada and Mexico. Comerica reported total assets of $63.3 billion at September 30, 2012. To find us on Facebook, please visit Follow Comerica on Twitter at @ComericaCares and follow Comerica Chief Economist Robert Dye on Twitter at @Comerica_Econ.