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New Child Support Payments Program Saves Money for the State of Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa, Dec 16, 2003 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB)

U.S. Bank and the State of Iowa have implemented an innovative payment program where the state disperses child support payments on a prepaid card versus a paper check. This new program saves the State of Iowa $420,000 annually in postage alone.

The U.S. Bank ReliaCard Visa functions like a debit card though it is not attached to a checking or savings account. The state collects court ordered child support 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 ReliaCard Visa that the recipient can use to make purchases or withdraw cash. The card carries the Visa logo so it can be used at millions of locations where Visa is accepted worldwide.

The program in Iowa is one of the first of its kind in the United States to be mandated. It's an innovation that cuts costs for the state because it no longer has to produce and mail a check, and it brings convenience and safety to the cardholders who no longer have to find the time and place to cash their checks or pay check cashing fees.

"U.S. Bank has worked hard to partner with the State of Iowa to serve our customers. We are excited to be able to provide faster service to our customers in a less expensive manner as a result of this partnership," said Jeanne Nesbit, division administrator, Division of Child Support, Case Management, and Refugee Services for the State of Iowa.

Since U.S. Bank introduced this product, which began as a pilot in the states of Washington (DCS Card) and Colorado (Family Support Registry Card) in 2001, it has become a recognized and valued tool used by more than 70,000 customers in multiple states. The results were so impressive in those states that the State of Iowa is now requiring the use of the ReliaCard Visa to all customers who don't choose direct deposit or need an exemption.

Customers have also stated that the ReliaCard helps them enter the mainstream financial world by allowing them to make purchases wherever Visa is accepted. Cardholders can also track child support funds and spending separately from other funds through monthly statements or by free, 24-hour access via the Internet or telephone.

The card is a low-cost alternative to customers who previously paid check cashing fees to cash their checks. There are no monthly fees associated with the ReliaCard Visa, and customers receive one free cash withdrawal per month. In addition to the one free withdrawal, the cardholder can access funds using the Visa and Interlink networks free of charge. This means they also can get cash back at no charge at many stores including Target, Walgreens and many grocery stores. 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.

"We are very excited to have jointly developed a product that provides more options to the customers in Iowa as well as making the Iowa Department of Human Services Bureau of Collections a more efficient part of the state government," said Gaye Crandall, program manager for U.S. Bank retail payment solutions. "The end result was truly an effort of both U.S. Bank and the State of Iowa working together to provide more convenience to the customers of Iowa."

U.S. Bank is working with other government agencies to initiate prepaid card solutions in more states and in various capacities.

U.S. Bank operates 15 branches in Des Moines, 102 branch locations and 224 ATMs in Iowa. U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB), with assets of $189 billion, is the 8th largest financial services holding company in the United States. The company operates 2,201 banking offices and 4,506 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 Media Relations
                  Amy Frantti, 612-303-0733
                  Iowa Department of Human Services
                  State of Iowa
                  Roger Munns, 515-281-4848

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