CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - Tennesseans on unemployment will now have the option to receive their check electronically.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development will begin offering unemployment benefits via debit card or direct deposit, beginning January 18.

The program is known as Tennessee Automated Payment, or TAP.

"The state will save a great deal of time and money processing and delivering checks," said Commissioner James Neeley in a release Friday.

State officials say they could save $3.2 million on postage and paper costs by switching to electronic payments.

"Claimants will find the new options more convenient, as they can use debit cards immediately at most banks and retail stores without waiting by the mailbox for the check to arrive."

To sign up for the TAP program, go to

Claimants will receive an information kit and tips on avoiding charges when they receive their TAP debit card.