About ETA

The U.S. Treasury offers a Safe, Sure, Easy Way to receive your federal benefit check.

ETA  stands for Electronic Transfer Account. It's a low-cost account for recipients of Federal payments. The U.S. Department of the Treasury designed the ETA  for individuals to receive their Federal payments electronically.

Anyone who receives (or represents someone who receives) one of these Federal Government payments is eligible to receive his or her monthly payments electronically through an ETA .

  • Social Security Administration (SSA)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
  • Civil Service Wage Salary or Retirement Payments
  • Railroad Retirement Board (RRB)
  • Department of Labor (DOL) / Black Lung
  • Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) Military Wage, Salary or Retirement Payments

This federally insured account lets you enjoy the safety, security and convenience of electronic payments-even if you don't have a checking or savings account right now.

Once you open your ETA, instead of getting a check in the mail, your payment will be deposited into your ETA through Direct Deposit-on time, every time. There is no check to worry about. You can take money out of your ETA the same day it goes into your account. Click here to find out how to open an ETA.

How Does ETA Work?

The ETA is a low-cost account you can open at a participating federally insured bank, savings and loan, or credit union. The U.S. Department of the Treasury designed the ETA for Federal payment recipients who do not have or may not qualify for a checking or savings account. Most people who get Federal payments can open an ETA.

Once your ETA is open, you will be enrolled in Direct Deposit. With Direct Deposit, the Government will deposit your payment automatically into your ETA.

You can enjoy peace of mind knowing your money is safe until you-and only you-need to use it. Your payment will always be in your account on time. You can take your money out the same day it gets to your account. Or you can take out just enough money to buy food or pay bills. The rest of your money will remain safe in your account for you to use when you need it.

Many Federal benefit payments, including Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income benefits, Veteran's benefits, and Railroad Retirement benefits, are protected from garnishment or attachment under Federal law.

This means that your creditors do not have the right to have these funds taken out of your ETA to satisfy any obligations that you may owe. There are a few exceptions, however. For example, funds in your ETA can be taken to satisfy child support or alimony obligations you owe.

Additionally, if you deposit funds other than Federal benefit payments to your ETA, your creditors may be able to have those funds taken out of your account, but your Federal benefits would still be protected! Click here to find out how to open an ETA.

If you have further questions about a creditor's right to remove funds from your ETA, please contact your paying agency or your local legal services organization.

Why is an ETA good for me?

Chances are, you have better things to do each month than make trips to deposit or cash your Federal check. Direct Deposit is a safer and easier way to get your payment. Once you open your ETA, and are signed up for direct deposit, instead of getting a check in the mail, your payment will be deposited into your ETA - on time, every time. Your payment will go right to your account at a bank, savings and loan or credit union. You can join the millions of Federal recipients who currently have their payments electronically deposited every month. Click here to find out how to open an ETA.

Why worry about your check getting lost or stolen before you even have a chance to cash it?


In the 35-year history of Direct Deposit, no payments have been lost. Direct Deposit also helps eliminate check fraud. Electronic transactions are subject to strict security control and protect your privacy. Checks contain personal information; for example, names and home addresses.

Basic features of an ETA

  • 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

Some ETA Providers may charge other account-related fees. You'll be told about them before you sign up for your ETA.   Click here to find out how to open an ETA.

Still have questions?   Click here to view the ETA FAQ

ETA Marketing Brochure

Click on the PDF document for a printable ETA Marketing Brochure.

ETA Marketing Brochure