Disbursing Federal Payments
The Bureau of the Fiscal Service (Fiscal Service) is the primary disburser of payments to individuals and businesses on behalf of federal agencies – for example, benefit payments paid by the Social Security Administration or the Department of Veterans Affairs, federal income tax refund payments, and payments to businesses for goods and services provided to the federal government.
The majority of the payments are disbursed through electronic funds transfers; the remaining are check payments. Annually, Fiscal Service disburses more than a billion payments, with an associated dollar value of more than $2.4 trillion.
In keeping with the Fiscal Service strategic goal of moving toward an all-electronic Treasury, Fiscal Service continually invests in state-of-the-art technology systems that are integral to processing payments accurately, efficiently, and securely.
In fiscal year 2013, 96 percent of the more than 1 billion payments were issued by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).
In 1996, Congress passed a law requiring most federal payments to be paid by EFT. For those individuals without a bank account, Treasury designed the Electronic Transfer Account (ETA), a low-cost account to be offered by federally insured financial institutions with the same consumer protections available to other account holders. The ETA is available to any federal benefit, wage, salary, or retirement payment regardless of the recipients' previous credit history.
Fiscal Service Regional Financial Centers perform other payment-related services, including:
- preliminary handling of check claims,
- complete handling of EFT claims,
- processing of all trace and reclamation actions for EFT payments,
- cancellation of returned checks, and
- making any related adjustment in agencies' accounts.
This legacy bureau provided central payment services to federal agencies, operated the collections and deposit systems, provided government-wide accounting and reporting services, and managed the collection of delinquent debt owed to the government.
TreasuryDirect is the first and only financial services website that lets you buy and redeem Treasury securities, including U.S. Savings Bonds, directly from the U.S. Department of the Treasury in paperless electronic form.
The Administrative Resource Center works with federal agencies to improve the agency's success by delivering responsive, customer-focused, cost-effective administrative support.
The Do Not Pay Business Center was developed to support federal agencies in their efforts to reduce the number of improper payments.
A free service offered by the Department of the Treasury to help business and individual taxpayers conveniently pay all their federal taxes electronically.