Stimulus payments going out on debit cards
If you haven’t received your Economic Impact Payment — your coronavirus stimulus check — you’d better take an extra look at your junk mail.
The U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service began last week sending the payments out as prepaid debit cards. Earlier payments had been deposited directly into bank accounts or sent as paper checks.
“EIP Card recipients can make purchases, get cash from in-network ATMs, and transfer funds to their personal bank account without incurring any fees,” the Treasury Department said. “They can also check their card balance online, by mobile app, or by phone without incurring fees.
“The EIP Card can be used online, at ATMs, or at any retail location where Visa is accepted. This free, prepaid card also provides consumer protections available to traditional bank account owners, including protections against fraud, loss, and other errors.”
At least one local family received an EIP card in an envelope bearing an out-of-state return address and no indication of what was inside. While the cards are described as fee-free, online information related to this card included a fee schedule.
So make sure you check the details online when you create your personal identification number for the card.
Most transactions, including the first ATM withdrawal, are free. Subsequent ATM withdrawals cost $2 each.
There are also fees for balance inquiries, replacing lost cards and other transactions.
The cards will be usable at businesses that accept VISA.
When you receive your card:
—Activate your EIP Card account, set your four-digit PIN and get your balance by calling 1-800-240-8100.
—Sign the back of your EIP Card.
—Keep your EIP Card number in a safe place.
Treasury has already delivered more than 140 million Economic Impact Payments worth $239 billion to Americans by direct deposit to accounts at financial institutions, Direct Express card accounts, and by check. The Treasury-sponsored EIP Card is another method to provide money efficiently and securely to eligible recipients and their families. EIP Cards are being distributed to qualified individuals without bank information on file with the IRS, and whose tax return was processed by either the Andover or Austin IRS Service Center.
Keep the card in case there is another stimulus payment. It will go to the card.