Treasury goes electronic for Earth Day, saving $400M

Treasury says the initiative -- which expands the use of electronic transactions for Social Security and other benefits -- will save over $400 million and 12 million pounds of paper over the first five years.

“Treasury must lead the way in developing methods to deliver payments that are safe and secure in a manner that is efficient and reliable,” Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said in a prepared statement.

“By moving to all-electronic payments, Treasury will save hundreds of millions of dollars and substantially reduce our environmental impact, making this a win-win for all Americans,” he added.

The department is requiring that people receive Social Security, Veterans and certain other benefits electronically – either through direct deposit or Treasury’s Direct Express card.

The requirement will apply to new enrollees beginning next March and existing recipients beginning in March of 2013.

Elsewhere, Treasury is requiring increased electronic payment of businesses taxes, and eliminating the option to purchase paper savings bonds through payroll deductions.

The 40th anniversary of Earth Day is April 22.