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Five reasons to sign up for federal direct deposit

(NC) The federal government is slowly phasing out cheques for payments such as income tax refunds, the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security and Employment Insurance in favour of direct deposit. The transition will be complete by 2016 so the time to enrol is now.

Here are five reasons to consider switching from paper cheques to direct deposit:

• Convenience – Your payment is deposited quickly so there's no waiting for the cheque in the mail or going to the bank to make a deposit. Your payment will be deposited automatically, which makes your financial planning that much easier.

• Reliability – Your payment will always be on time and the money and interest you earn will be available right away.

• Security – There is virtually no risk of your payment being lost or stolen. If you subscribe to online banking, you can even check your balance from home, your mobile device or a public computer.

• Savings to the taxpayer – Direct deposit actually saves Canadian taxpayers' money, since there are fewer cheques to print and mail. The cost of producing a cheque is approximately 83 cents while a direct deposit payment costs about 11 cents. The savings can be invested in other government programs such as health and education programs for children or others that may benefit the economy such as building bridges which in turn will create more jobs. With fewer cheques to print and mail, the government will save millions of taxpayer dollars every year.

• Environmental. Phasing out cheques will save approximately 32,000 trees a year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions coming from vehicles delivering the cheques across Canada.

Canadians can sign up for direct deposit at their bank or financial institution, online at www.directdeposit.gc.ca or by requesting an enrolment form by phone at 1-800-O-Canada.

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