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Child Support Recipients in Washington Seeing Payments on U.S. Bank Stored Value Visa Card Instead of Paper Checks

OLYMPIA, Wash., Mar 17, 2003 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB)

U.S. Bank and the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) are introducing an innovative payment program that allows the state to disburse child support payments on a plastic card versus a paper check. The program became available statewide on March 1.

The DSHS Division of Child Support or DCS Card functions like a debit card though it is not attached to a checking or savings account. The state collects court ordered payments as it has in the past, but instead of cutting a check and mailing it to the recipient it electronically loads the payment on to the DCS Card that the recipient can use to make purchases or withdraw cash. The card carries the Visa logo and is accepted anywhere Visa is accepted.

The program is among the first of its kind in the United States. It cuts costs for the state because it no longer has to produce and mail a check or incur other costs associated with a paper check. The card also brings convenience and safety to cardholders who no longer have to find the time and place to cash their checks and pay check cashing fees.

"The DCS Card is one of the newest forms of electronic payment applications available to consumers," said Sharon Richard, vice president and regional team leader for the U.S. Bank Government Banking Northwest Team. "The decision by the Washington State Division of Child Support to employ this program, and the efficiencies that it creates for recipients, signifies the division's concerns about the ability of their recipients to get their funds in an effective, streamlined fashion. It is exciting to work with a state agency that is in tune with e-commence and forward thinking."

Recipients choose whether they want to receive payments by direct deposit, check or the DCS Card. DCS currently sends 43 percent of child support disbursements electronically using direct deposit. "However not everyone has access to a bank account," said Lynnie Larsen, chief of DCS Central Services for the State of Washington. "The DCS Card program allows those families who are not able to use direct deposit to receive their child support payments electronically."

Larsen says clients appreciate the fact that the card can be used as a Visa card, which allows them to make purchases where ever Visa is accepted, such as grocery stories, restaurants, the mall or shopping online. Additionally, they like that the card can be used as a second form of identification. What's more, cardholders can track child support funds and spending separately from other funds through monthly statements or through 24-hour customer service via the Internet or telephone.

"We have always been committed to offering as many alternatives as possible for clients to pay and/or receive child support obligations," Larsen said. "For many people the payment or receipt of child support affects a large part of their lives and we strive to provide services that help alleviate their concerns about interacting with our division.

Approximately 700 people use the card in Washington, a number that continues to grow now that the card is available statewide. The program has the potential to benefit all recipients of the more than 150,000 checks that the state issues each month.

The card is available free of charge, with the exception of when funds are withdrawn from an ATM, in which case there is a $1.50 fee. If the card is lost or stolen, it is backed by Visa's zero liability policy, which means the cardholder is not responsible for unauthorized purchases.

U.S. Bank implemented similar programs in Colorado and Minnesota and is working with other government agencies to initiate stored value payment cards in more states and in various capacities.

U.S. Bancorp, with assets in excess of $180 billion, is the 8th largest financial services holding company in the United States. The company operates 2,142 banking offices and 4,604 ATMs, and provides a comprehensive line of banking, brokerage, insurance, investment, mortgage, trust and payment services products to consumers, businesses and institutions. U.S. Bancorp is home of the Five Star Service Guarantee which assures customers of certain key banking benefits and services or customers will be paid for their inconvenience. U.S. Bancorp is the parent company of U.S. Bank. Visit U.S. Bancorp on the web at www.usbank.com.

CONTACT:          U.S. Bank
                  Teri Charest, 612/303-0732
                  or
                  State of Washington
                  Adolfo Capestany, 360/664-5445

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SOURCE: U.S. Bancorp

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this press release regarding U.S. Bancorp's business which are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties. For a discussion of such risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, see "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report or Form 10-K for the most recently ended fiscal year.



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