— by:  Joe Doherty, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, ACS Government Solutions

Each time you get your mail, thank George Becket.

Becket invented the mailbox in 1892. He was granted U.S. Patent # 483,525 for his “house-door letter-box,” which was described at the time as “a mail slot that was permanently mounted on the front door of a house.”

The mailbox made life more convenient and was a huge time-saver—people didn’t have to go to the post office anymore to get their mail.

George Becket’s legacy lives on, but lately, there’s a lot less mail in our mailboxes. Given the convenience of e-mail, e-bills and e-everything else, it’s almost hard to imagine snail-mail still exists, given the work it takes to get the mail to your house.

If you’re waiting for a check in the mail, that work can be inconvenient and expensive. That’s one reason many government agencies are moving away from mailing checks for benefits and payments like unemployment compensation and child support; instead, they’re being put on a debit card that can be instantly “refilled” with funds. ACS is a leader in the field of these electronic payments, helping more than 20 states and the federal government with a variety of programs that each saves millions of dollars.

Florida is the latest state we’re helping to put unemployment compensation on a debit card. The card is like any other debit card you have and can be used at stores and ATMs. It also means money gets to people faster and states save big time. Everyone wins.

And we’re not done —by a long shot. States can save by moving other benefits to a card, and we’re working with them to explore the many possibilities.

When you think about it, we’re doing the same thing George Becket did 120 years ago–improving citizen service and making government more efficient.